So here’s the tea; women bleed. A lot. Every month, mother nature assumes we would be making steamy love to a dark handsome gent and carry a love child in our belly, so she prepares our uterus to receive said love child.
Being the disappointment that we most often are, we fail to be pregnant / carry a love child and mother nature in annoyance of her time and effort put into decorating our uterus ruins everything. The ruins come out as thick dark blood which we call menstruation or if we’re being fancy, period.
What is period shaming?
Period shaming is simply associating the act and art of menstruation with a stigma. Its the subtle reminder perpetuated by society that seeing your period is a thing of shame and as a menstruating, sorry normal female, you should be embarrassed by it. This stigma comes in many forms and here are some of the ways, you and I may be guilty of period shaming.
Ways you are probably period shaming someone
Discriminating Against Women Who Get Stained
A girl in my secondary school class was among the earliest in my class to ever see her period. She was a bit older than the rest of us and we figured out she was already menstruating because one day, her school uniform got stained with blood. I remember the boys in my class saying things like “eew, Esther is menstruating”, “Dirty Girl”, “Sit down so no one will see”, I remember everyone in class, including me laughing. I remember Esther crying. It is such a horrible thing to reflect on because even at a young age, we already engage in the act of shaming women for a biological process that is completely out of their control. So what if she bleeds? So what if the bleeding makes a stain? Would we have been that repelled if she had gotten a mark from tomato stew?
Acting Embarrassed For Ladies Who Get Stained
You see, period shaming even goes beyond actively insulting or discriminating against a women who has been stained. It is also present in the hushed embarrassed tone we assume when we let a person know they are stained. We whisper as though we are speaking of meat in a hungry lion’s cave. Bottom line is, we become embarrassed for them. The truth, which is quite bitter, is that showing embarrassment over a person’s period stains sends the message that a period stain is something to be embarrassed about and as much as we are conditioned to think that it is, it is not. Yes Sarah, thank you for telling me that I have a blood stain on my dress, there’s no need to lower your voice or speak in codes. I am a woman; I bleed and sometimes it stains my dress. I shall now decide how to handle the situation.
Hiding Sanitary Pads and Tampons From The World
This one is particularly hilarious because even though the majority of the world population are aware of the thing called menstruation, it’s almost like we want to live in a world where we all pretend that it doesn’t exist. That unnecessary plastic bag you wrap a sanitary pad in because God forbid your brothers know you are menstruating, that judgy look the shop keeper gives you when you ask for a tampon because no child of God should be messing with her hymen, that embarrassment you feel when you notice a guy staring at you while shopping for Sanitary pads are all manifestations of period shaming.
No woman asked to bleed every month but we’ve accepted it as something that must be. However, the responsibility falls on us as parents, friends, family and even as menstruating women to discard any shame or stigma that we have consciously or subconsciously attached to menstruation. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.