No Shame Period

Normalizing the Menstrual Cycle

PERIOD RED Pantone introduced a new red-hue color called Period to combat stigma about menstruation. The Pantone Color Institute worked with INTIMINA to create the color Period. The shade serves as the visual color identifier of the Seen + Heard campaign.

Sore muscles are a completely normal body function that happens when people work out. They might be annoying, but they are a good thing that means someone’s workout is functional and their body is responding as it should. There is nothing embarrassing about them. Someone can say they are not feeling good because of sore muscles, and they will get an understanding and sympathetic response.
This is how people should treat periods. There are obvious differences between sore muscles and periods. Sore muscles are, typically, the result of a choice to workout, and periods are automatic. Sore muscles can affect everyone, and periods only happen to the half of the population with a uterus. Lastly, working out is encouraged, while periods are shamed.
No one will look at a man who is angry and say he’s being dramatic because he increased the weight of his dumbbells. Yet society is fine with seeing a girl who is angry and saying she is just being emotional because she is on her period.
Girls have been taught by society to see periods as negative and shameful. According to Global Citizen, out of a poll of 1500 women, 60 percent said they feel embarrassed when they are on their period. In reality there is no reason for periods to be embarrassing, other than that it is what society deems them as.
When I was in fifth grade, the teachers separated males and females into different rooms for the infamous puberty talk. The main thing they explained to my group was the menstrual cycle, they gave a rundown of what to expect, and they explained pads. When they were asking if we had any questions, they said that if anyone in the room lived with a single dad or felt awkward about it this might be the only chance to ask questions.
This was just telling us that periods were something that should be weird and uncomfortable. It also reinforced the idea that periods were not something that should be talked about in front of males.
OnePoll conducted a survey for THINX with 1500 women and 500 men from around the U.S. and found that 42 percent of women experienced period shaming and one in five felt period shame because of comments made by a male friend. They also found that 51 percent of men believe it is inappropriate for women to talk about their menstrual cycle in the workplace.
Men should be educated and included in conversations about periods and the menstrual cycle. If men are not comfortable around period related things, they need to be better educated about them. Women should not have to hide their periods from men for fear they will not be able to handle it or that they will be put down for it. For periods to be treated as normal, everyone needs to stop treating them as taboo.
A common way people try to hide their periods is by pushing period products to the bottom of their bags or hiding them in sleeves or under shirts. The poll found that 71% of women surveyed hide their pad or tampon when they go to the bathroom. Hiding period products just adds to the stigma around it. I mean I do it too, I would feel very embarrassed openly carrying a pad through the school hallway. However, there is no real reason to hide having a period.
The main thing that can be done to combat stigma around periods is to talk about them more openly and without using code words to dodge the subject. Schools should have more education on periods and people should stop trying to hide periods from those who do not have them. Periods are not weird, gross, or shameful, they are having a uterus, and that is not something to be ashamed of.