Periods are one of the most natural functions in the world. So much so that we don't care to think about them twice. Women bleed, life goes on. Right? And while this is a reality for many of you, it isn't the case for every woman out there. Many of whom are shamed when on periods, making global period shaming a real issue.
In fact, in January this year The New York Post reported that nearly half the women population in the world face period shaming and remain mum due to societal pressures.
Yes, nearly half!
It also doesn't help that there are many who either cannot afford menstrual hygiene products or don't have access to clean bathrooms or identify themselves with a gender other than female. It's a struggle all the way for most women.
Global period shaming is real and it needs to stop right now!
As Carla Perlas, the Regional Content Head at TheAsianParent shared, "Whenever I bought a pack of pads, the grocer would wrap it in newspaper for privacy."
Her story is one that might resonate with most South East Asian women who are often forced a pack of pads hidden inside newspapers.
But she isn't the only person who ever felt slighted by somebody for being on a period.
Global period shaming happens every time a woman is made to feel that if she on her periods she is impure or has done something so nasty that it's better hidden.
Women share their horrid global period shaming experiences
We spoke to a 17-year-old college student from the Philippines who shared that menstruation is a taboo in the Filipino culture. "I am enrolled into a university that is quite modern. So, teachers talk about women's rights and even menstruation openly. But talking about it outside the university is still a taboo. Even in schools boys are often seen ridiculing girls who were on their periods," she said.
Another one from India stated that Hindu girls are not allowed to enter temples when they are menstruating.
"On the one hand we worship Maa Durga (Goddess Durga) for nine days with much pomp and circumstance. We ask for blessings from young girls because they are all considered a form of a goddess. But on the other, we do not allow menstruating women inside a place of worship. There is so much stigma and misunderstanding around periods, its unbelievable," submitted 18-year-old Vishali Ghosh, a student of Delhi University.
The issue was even written about in Buzzfeed, where one of its readers, a 22-year-old Jann from Malaysia said, "Here in Malaysia, very few people use tampons, often due to religious beliefs. I'm Chinese, and my mom is fine with me using tampons, but most Malay women even wash out their tampons with soap and water before disposal, as it is thought to be unclean otherwise."
Women should stand up for each other, but many resort to shaming instead!
It isn't just the period shaming that comes from men. A few women also shared that they were bullied and shamed by women, some even by their own mothers!
"Some major companies may give you paid holiday for periods but it's very rare. There are lots of people, even women, who don't understand how periods are so hard for the women who have got terrible ones. There are lots of misunderstandings, like: "My period is so light, so yours must be light too — menstrual pain is not that hard. Why do you need to take a day off for it? You're being lazy," shared a 23-year-old anonymous reader* from Japan.
The 27-year-old Lindsay from Canada also a period shaming story, only this time it involved her own mother.
"My mom once told me that when I'm on my period I shouldn't throw the "evidence" away in the bathroom garbage because then "people would know why I was so moody." She insisted that I either take my used pads/tampons/wrappers down to the kitchen garbage (which is changed almost daily) or throw it out in the outside bin. That was humiliating," she told Buzzfeed.
Only "Girl power!" can stop global period shaming
As Mia, the 26-year-old Indian national born and raised in the Middle East told Buzzfeed, "I'm glad my mother chose to speak to me so openly about it — and at the age of 9! Most of my friends had no idea what it was and I remember many of them getting scared their first time. It made me realize the level of taboo surrounding such a natural normal occurrence. Things are changing, though, and feminism is on the rise. Women have started to embrace their bodies, along with everything that comes out of it. It's a good time to be a woman. Now if the patriarchy could catch up that would be great. Mmmkay?"
An anonymous reader from Hong Kong even went the other route with global period shaming. She decided that she had had enough of it and wouldn't give in to societal pressures anymore.
"You're not supposed to talk about it. But me being the feminist and rebel I am, I was just like, fuck this, everyone's gonna know when I menstruate, because damn — it's a process in nature," she shared.
We say, Halleluja to that in the hope that one day our world will be period positive.