Girls at a young age were experiencing shame when they experience their first menstruation. The feeling they experienced are usually caused by the idea that there is something wrong about them and that being in menstruation means that it can hinder what they want to do.
There is a prevalent idea about women’s menstruation and women have dealt with it for a long time.
In the 1920’s women started entering the increasingly flourishing “pink collar jobs” at that time and felt the pressure to be discreet and presentable so they started wearing cloth diapers to manage their flow as the practice started by the turn of the 20th century.
The society’s pressure on the woman to not be defined by her period is still prevalent in this day and age. The remnants of the “modern period” can still be seen in TV commercials that depict women can do anything even with her period as long as she wears that Maxi pads.
The influence of advertisements played a huge part in shaping the “modern period”. Companies like Kotex hired professional nurses to create educational materials about menstruation, so that they could develop a brand that every women and girls can trust.
Parents also plays the huge role educating their children about menstruation. Parents, especially mothers should reach out to girls who experience menstruation the first time so that they could reassure their kids that it’s okay and it’s natural for their bodies to experience that for they had also experienced it in first place.
Part of that discomfort in discussing about menstruation is the taboo of the topic of sex. Which most parents always tend to avoid resulting in their children to think that sex is always a bad thing.
But despite the topic of periods being uncomfortable for some, it is vital part of development in a woman and to the people around her to understand such natural phenomenon.
The stigma on menstruation has now been challenged more than ever by many advocates pushing for a more progressive approach on the topic.
People like Karan Gandhi, a musician, artist and activist whose viral photo of her crossing the finish line of the London Marathon, with hands raised with blood visible on her workout pants sparked the new approach of menstruation which they called the “free bleeding”.
Free bleeding is undergoing your period without the intervention of devices like tampons or menstrual cups.
Discussions like these help women break the stigma of menstruation and also find new ways to cope with it. Women like Gandhi also wants to use these discussions and incidents as political statements to counter the misogynistic ideals about menstruation which women have suffered even when they were kids. Movements like tend to seek in ending the problem where people see menstruation as a non-issue when in fact it is.
Women should have an active role in leading the discourse and awareness on the issue of menstruation in order to create a new culture of women freely experiencing menstruation without the misogynistic ideals and societal pressures that bar them from doing it. Till then everyone should work hand in hand to achieve it.