Periods. If you are suddenly uncomfortable at this moment, this article’s especially for you.
Why must women be ashamed of a natural, routine phenomenon? Why must they whisper and hide from their bodies? How can something so universal be so stigmatized?
The ignominy surrounding menstruation is irrational. The stigma toward periods is cyclical. One disrespects menstruation because of a lack of education, and this lack of education breeds disrespect. It’s never-ending.
Unfortunately, a byproduct of this misinformation can lead to health and hygiene risks.
The first and conclusive approach to destigmatizing menstrual cycles is to use education, which transcends gender, culture and time. When someone bleeds from a cut, there is no societal disgust. Instead, the cut is mended with care and comfort. Why can’t that be the case with periods?
Every month, nearly half of the world’s population — the half that birthed the whole, mind you — undergoes a natural, biological change. What sense is there to silence them and restrict their basic needs? Is it because we, ourselves, are offended by the body? Even if you are repelled by the body and its processes, there still is no sense in restricting aid to those whose bodies you are afraid of.
It will benefit the entirety of civilization if we accept and understand the body. Only then can we wholly care for one another. Perhaps a Utopian concept, this issue is the basic foundation to the overall health of a society. If we cannot take care of our bodies, how then are we to take care about anything else? How can there be talk of geopolitical affairs or scientific afflictions or economic figures when we cannot be at peace with our species’ biology? If civilization is unable to conclude and agree upon a topic as basic as the period, then civilization is to never agree on anything.
I’ll be honest: Writing this piece is difficult. I am unable to comprehend why or how anyone would disrespect periods. I grew up around men who were so open to and capable of helping their wives and partners through their menstruation cycle. And I grew up around women who were unafraid and trusting of their partners’ capabilities. I watched, with impressionable little eyes, a community that was exemplary in its capacities to care for and understand one another. Utilities and support were always there. So, while I’m aware of the stigma, I don’t understand it.
Half the human population, every month, for decades on end, undergoes a spike of hormones and unpredictable bleeding, and there is still the insensitivity to call them “gross.” Unless you are especially afraid of blood, there is nothing about periods that justifies its vilification.
Gabriel Biadora is a senior at St. Michael’s High School, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.