Here’s the thing, we are talking more about periods these days. There is something in the air shall we say. But there’s no doubt about the fact there is still a taboo around periods but once we acknowledge there’s a taboo we can buckle down and figure out what to do about it. So as a reminder of why we’re doing what we’re doing, here are 7 reasons why we need to talk about periods. And maybe from this list we can all pick an area we want to work on and get rid of the period taboo once and for all!
We need to talk about periods…
So that we can tell when things aren’t quite right. The amount of stories I’ve heard since starting The Hormone Diaries video series and writing the book about menstruators who assumed their debilitating period pains were “normal” but it turned out they had Endometriosis which took years to diagnose. Yes, there’s a certain amount of normal expected pain and discomfort but we need to be taught about what it looks like when the pain isn’t normal and you should see a doctor. Menstruators are suffering because they assume their experience is the same as everyone else’s but if we talked they might realise sooner that something’s up and can start getting treatment.
To fight for menstrual equity. We can’t campaign for free period products in schools so no-one has to miss school because of their period without actually talking about periods! Amazing work has been done by different movements and campaigns in recent years such as Free Periods and the government actually pledged to provide free period products to schools. Yay!
So we don’t forget about menstruators when dealing with other issues. A non-bleeding man seems to be the default we turn to and most of our lawmakers are men. So when laws are being debated about things such as housing, welfare, immigration are being made we need to shout louder about periods so that the people in Parliament can’t say, “whoops, it didn’t cross my mind”. Getting your period can be tough. Getting your period if you’re homeless or a refugee is also a reality for a lot of people. We can’t forget that.
To give people the confidence to ask for time off work or to work from home if necessary because of your period. Some people’s period pains and PMS symptoms are so bad that it makes it difficult to commute to work or focus at work. And because there’s still a lot of shame around periods, it feels embarrassing to ask for time off. We take sick days when we’re ill, as a society we’re getting better at talking about mental health too and taking days for our mental wellbeing and periods need to be included in this. Also, you might be way more productive working from home in your PJs, lying on your sofa with a hot water bottle on your stomach than you would be sat at your desk.
With children so no-one thinks they’re dying when they start their period. Children are starting their periods younger and younger. Many are now starting in primary school so we can’t delay this education. They need to know about their bodies and their periods before it happens.
Because of climate change! Yes, even periods are connected to climate change. If you are privileged enough to have access to clean running water, are financially able to make the upfront cost and are physically comfortable doing so then please use reusable products! Menstrual cups, cloth pads & period underwear will last you years and they are so much better for the environment than disposable pads and tampons!
Because half the population are clueless. Okay, maybe they’re not completely clueless but in school if you were ever taught about periods it’s very likely that the boys were sent out of the room to learn about something else that wasn’t periods. There is so much basic stuff that they don’t know (through no fault of their own) and many of them will have friends, partners, family members who are menstruators and we owe it to them and ourselves to have these conversations. The work is being done, Gabby Edlin the CEO of Bloody Good Period is also the host of the podcast Stay in the Room all about having conversations with men (cis and trans) about periods!
So there we have it. Hopefully, I’ve made it clear why it is so necessary to keep talking about periods and maybe even outlined a few areas that need specific work. Periods are connected to more issues than you think and we can all do our bit to help.
Hannah Witton, is an award-winning sex education and body positivity vlogger and author. She has over 800K followers across her social media and 500K alone on YouTube. She is regarded as one of the UK’s leading voices for topics including sex, relationships, body image, feminism, gender and sexuality.
Following her debut book ‘Doing it’ selling 20k copies in its first year alone, Hannah is now launching her second book “The Hormone Diaries: The Bloody Truth” out now