It’s 2019, and all type of shame that women feel around their periods has to stop. Periods are a natural part of a (cis) woman’s life. Unless you’re on birth control or anything else that can stop your period for a while, it can’t be stopped. Menstruating is a sign that our bodies are healthy, and that everything’s working normally. That said, here some things I’m tired of feeling ashamed of when I’m on my period.
1. Talking about my period in front of guys
Let’s be real. Men are the main reason we’re ashamed about our periods. I’m not saying all men, and I’m not attacking them either, but it’s the truth. I can talk about my period openly with my female friends, but I can’t even mention that I’m on my period without getting an ew in response from most guys. To quote Taylor Swift, “You need to calm down.” It’s not like I’m telling you what I see when I pull down my pants.
2. The fact that I use pads
For some strange reason, there’s this weird stigma around women who use pads instead of tampons. Some women say pads are “for little girls.” They are not. Pads are for women of any age who are on their period. Pads are for women who don’t feel comfortable wearing tampons. Whether a woman uses pads is none of your business.
3. Hiding my pads
Because of the shame we’ve been taught to feel, I can’t help but feel embarrassed when I’m walking with a bag of pads down the Target aisles without a cart because they’re all I’m buying. I’m tired of feeling like I need to hide them in between my arms. As I said, we can’t control our periods and feeling ashamed for something you can’t control fucking sucks.
4. Trying to be quiet while unsticking a pad
Unsticking a pad from the wrapper and my underwear is noisy. It’s even louder when you’re in a public bathroom with just one other woman. You can hear it when it’s quiet, through the bathroom door. I don’t want to try to be quiet about it. I don’t want to take an extra minute peeling it off slowly and carefully as to not make a sound. I’ve got shit to do. So, let’s stop feeling ashamed and make noise unapologetically.
5. The pain I feel
No, I’m not exaggerating my pain. Some women have cramps that hurt so bad they throw up and sometimes faint. I refuse to feel weak for being unable to handle the pain that I get monthly. Let me get in my weird positions on the bed as I try to find relief for my leg and back pain. It hurts. (And don’t give me the side-eye when I hug my boobs to try to relieve the pain either.)
6. My mood swings
I will no longer feel ashamed for having mood swings—for crying at something ridiculous and getting pissed at something small. Don’t laugh. Don’t say anything. Just let it happen. I’m not sensitive or weak; my hormones are just assholes.
7. Staining the bed or your pants/underwear
Sometimes, we get our period in the middle of the night, and we wake up to our sheets, underwear, and pajamas stained. It’s another uncontrollable thing. It’s not like when you’d piss yourself in the middle of the night when you were a kid, and you’d wake up right after because you felt all wet. Periods aren’t that strong, so we don’t notice it when it happens. I’m not going to feel embarrassed about it.
Similarly, don’t make me feel ashamed about staining what I’m wearing. Sometimes, our periods are too heavy, and it’s too late before we realize that our pads are too full. Other times, our periods are assholes that decide to spill out a little too much from the right or left. At the end of the day, it’s just blood.
8. Saying “I got my period.”
I’m not going to say I’m “menstruating” because that’s fucking weird. I don’t want to say, “It’s that time of the month.” I’m on my period. Don’t flinch. Don’t scrunch your nose up on disgust. Don’t say you didn’t need to know that when you asked what was wrong.