Normalizing Period Talk
There’s a special magic in bleeding every month (or so.)
By Rachel Block of First Period Stories
Shoving tampons up our sleeves. Stuffing toilet paper in our underwear instead of asking for a pad. The crippling anxiety of a pool party. The absolute panic when you spot a blood stain on your pants. We’ve all felt some sort of shame surrounding our period.
But it’s not our fault. Even today, menstruation is overwhelmingly considered a secret across the country and the world. We’ve learned from society and from religion that having our period makes us “unclean,” causing us to go through great lengths to hide it from the rest the world. Cue tying that sweatshirt around your waist.
According to a survey in Australia, when asking girls in school what would make getting their period better, they repeatedly answered: “menstrual products where the wrappers don't make any sound.” Everywhere, girls are being taught from a young age that their period should be kept private. And aren’t the things we keep to ourselves usually out of shame?
On average, those who menstruate will do so for seven years during their lifetime. Imagine if we were ashamed of seven years of our lives. That adds up to a second grader raised on shame alone. That’s why normalizing menstruation is crucial. So we can replace those seven years of shame with confidence in order to reach our full potential.
So, where do we start? At the very beginning. The first period. Our first period can be met with celebration, but more often, it’s met with fear, concern, and confusion. That’s because we aren’t educating girls about menstruation before their first period happens. Many women and parents are too embarrassed to talk about periods, even with their own families. But how else will first-time menstruators gain confidence and develop healthy habits when mother nature strikes? These young girls are going to get their period whether we talk about it or not. So we might as well have a conversation or three so that when it does come, it can be recognized immediately, and even welcomed.
Normalizing periods starts with more conversations. That’s why we created a site called FirstPeriodStories.com, where menstruating humans can share their unique stories and simultaneously help end the stigma. Because if we hear 3.5 billion stories about menstruation, it will become normalized. Period. Let’s start by speaking up and sharing where this bloody mess began. Submit your story today on the site!