This week, I’m on my period.
And it ain’t something I’m embarrassed to say, because um- first of all- why the fuck would I be?
Over 50% of the population is going to end up dealing with this on a regular basis, and it’s something that if you’re a man who has ever done any high-school biology or interacted with a woman… you probably are aware of by now.
But the thing that provoked me to write this post- is that I caught myself being ashamed about the fact I was on my period today.
I work in a tight-knit office and it can be hard to hide away from people, so earlier- I quickly smuggled a tampon up my sleeve in order to transport it to the bathroom.
But why did I do that?
It’s very unlike me to be embarrassed or secretive about anything (lolz) so it was odd to catch myself being squeamish or even dare I say- hiding, the fact that I am experiencing a perfectly normal thing?
In fact- I’ve been having fucking awful cramps today as well, but I haven’t given out the legitimate reason that I’m huddled over my desk. Again, because society has engrained the fact that ‘periods are gross’ and that nobody should be openly talking about them.
It seems that I’ve been picking up on the cues throughout my life that as a woman, this is something that I should be hiding and keeping ‘a little feminine secret.’
Industries have developed billion-dollar brands, completely based around making our bleeding ‘acceptable’ and ‘pretty.’
Companies sell cute coloured pads, little boxes and bags to hide away your pads- and it’s something that I think every woman has picked up on.
The kind of comedians or men who say things like ‘oh you’re in a bad mood, are you on your period’ (cough Donald Trump) are the people who just add to this insane stigma that we’re already getting from all angles.
It’s not even just Western culture that seems to have a problem with Mother nature making an appearance. In some cultures, women are physically shunned from their communities and separated until their cycle has finished.
It’s a worldwide and widespread problem that I’m only noticing myself lately.
And I want to be a voice to stand-up against that.
I don’t want to hide or feel shame when I need to change my damn pad, so I’m starting right here.
It’s a sad fact- but from doing some research and recalling the things that I’ve consumed lately about it, there are some positive changes occurring, in terms of smashing the stigma.
The recent change in a Bodyform advert to actually show blood in their period pad ads- instead of blue liquid, is a good step in the right direction.
(Side note- a lot of people were like, ‘oh you wouldn’t show poo in a toilet roll advert- but there ain’t no stigma about that my loves. This is actually making a bold statement)
There’s been more open-conversation about the whole thing, which I’m endeavouring to keep going with myself.
The other thing I’ve read a little bit lately about ‘free bleeding’- which is when women shun tampons, pads and other forms of blood capture- and bleed, as the name would suggest, freely- for all to see.
A couple of famous people have demonstrated this, for example, Kiran Gandhi, the former drummer for singer M.I.A., who ran a marathon whilst free bleeding. Others have also followed suit across social media platforms.
My favourite example is Rupi Kaur- who posted a picture of her bleeding, fully-clothed through her trousers.
Instagram removed the image TWICE and she had severe backlash from it, with people claiming it was ‘disgusting’, ‘gross’ and ‘not normal’.
She wrote; “Their patriarchy is leaking. Their misogyny is leaking. We will not be censored.”
Credit- Rupi Kaur
Although free-bleeding isn’t something I would ever want to partake in (as I genuinely think I would be so uncomfortable at work all day) – it’s something that I think is worth noting.
Normalising periods and the fact that they are in fact part of being a women is SO important.
If we can normalise the sight of blood and the fact that- actually yes, a lot of the women that you’re probably dating, talking to or working alongside are bleeding right now- then you’re turning the right way.
It’s time to stop being so squeamish about them.
Despite your race, religion, values and country- it’s something that bonds all women together. So let’s start extinguishing the stigma?