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The Power of Period Stigma

By Catherine Miller.

My first time ‘on the blob’ was two months after I turned thirteen. It wasn’t a surprise - I had been anticipating it for a while. I always felt like a late bloomer around my menstruating friends.

When I went to the toilet that morning and saw blood I decided within seconds to deal with it on my own. I was so ashamed of this biological process that screamed WOMANHOOD.

Why?

Growing up I had lots of inaccurate stereotypes of women in my head. My thirteen year old brain subconsciously associated women with weakness so I tried to suppress anything typically ‘feminine’ and, as you’d imagine, menstruation was right at the top of that list.

I ended up texting my sister the next day (I know, I know – amazing willpower). She text back with supportive tips and advice, which is the dream, but I snapped at her. I told her that I didn’t need her help. I didn’t understand then the power of women who support each other and lift each other up. Instead of bottling it all up I should’ve talked about it and maybe then I wouldn’t have felt disgusted with the smell of period blood or embarrassed when I stained my sheets. 

There’s no denying the massive taboo around periods in our society. It can sometimes feel like periods exist only as the punchline of a joke on a ‘moody’ woman. It’s important that we don’t accept that. Women & menstruators deserve the education and respect that we’re just scratching the surface of getting. It’s up to us (for now) to make talking about periods as normal as talking about what you’re having for tea. When we stop being afraid of the words, we will stop being afraid to take action.