Have you ever stopped to think about why we carry so much shame and embarrassment around our periods?
A new poll of 1,500 women and 500 men from across the UK has found that 58% of women have felt embarrassed simply for being on their period. 42% of women say they’ve experienced period-shaming, with women surveyed listing comments from male friends, family members, and classmates. More than half of the men studied said it would be inappropriate for women to openly mention their periods at work.
Here’s a few other theories:
- Some cultures deem the blood as dirty and dangerous
- Discomfort talking about anything to do with the genitalia in general
- Society tells women that their bodies should be clean and tidy
- Lack of understanding and education
73% of the women surveyed have hidden a pad or tampon from view on their way to the bathroom (not so easy in a T-shirt - let me tell you!), 29% have cancelled plans such as swimming or exercising, that may have revealed they were on their period, and seven in ten women have asked a friend to walk behind them during their period to check if they’re leaking through their clothes.
I for one have asked mates on countless occasions (before I switched to cups) to ‘check me’ as I’m leaving the surf to make sure the string’s not dragging half a mile behind me along the beach and only this morning, I was in a workout class - with only men - doing a timed HIIT type session and I felt the dreaded ‘leak’ feeling. What do you do?
- Put your hand up - demand the session is paused because you failed to insert your menstrual cup with thorough precision when you left the house this morning and you need time to re-adjust?
- Sneak off to the loo and hope no-one notices but, because it takes a while to extract it, deal with the carnage, wash it out and then re-purpose it - hopefully in the right place this time, avoiding a second - possibly heavier leak, that they’ll assume by the amount of time you’re taking that you’ve gone to drop the kids off at the pool. So what’s worse?!
- Do nothing, carry on and hope no-one notices.
Either way, there’s a few uncomfortable feelings that go along aside that kind of experience and I guess it’s up to us to reassure ourselves that ‘accidents’ happen and it’s all part of being a legendary, kick ass, life giving woman who bleeds from her vagina once a month and has no need to feel embarrassed or shame EVER. Period.