By Haley Brezina
Items a typical girl may carry in their backpack/purse for their period. (Photo: Haley Brezina)
Periods are not just things that stop sentences- and you know what I mean. They’re real, they’re everywhere, and frankly, they need to be talked about.
Some things are better left unspoken- periods are not one of them. For the average female, a cycle lasts 28 days. 3-7 of these days are her period. Periods are not a one time thing; not a once-in-a-blue-moon-event. In fact, the average woman gets her period once a month; 12 times a year. In fact, while not every species has a period, every female placental mammal menstruates.
A female’s menstruation cycle is as natural as the hair growing from our heads, so what is the problem?
Let’s move to the very opposite end of the spectrum. In the South Asian country of Nepal, they take part in a practice called chhaupadi, which is the act of isolating menstruating women in a hut during the time of their period. This was legal until as late as 2005, and is still observed to this day in western parts of the country. This practice was derived from the idea that women were toxic while menstruating.
Knowing this, we can extract the main cause of chhaupadi- the idea that menstruating women are toxic. To us, this idea is absurd- but it provides a clear explanation. People are uneducated on how the female menstruation process works. 64% of 80 anonymous survey takers have admitted to even making assumptions that when a girl is excessively moody, that it is “that time of the month”.
Queen Creek High School Senior Zane Magill states, “I guess boys just don’t want to talk about it- they don’t have to go through it and a lot of them don’t really understand it”.
Because of the unwillingness to talk about periods and the history of taboo surrounding a normal event, it implants the idea in girls’ minds that it shouldn’t be talked about. When girls first get their period, they are terrified. Young girls do not want to talk about a period, and this is why periods are a stigma.
Any incidents of comments or bullying about their periods always sticks with a girl, and as a general community, 66% of 67 anonymous survey takers believe there is a stigma surrounding a woman’s period.
PBHS Nurse Jeannie McCorkle, says that almost twenty girls on the daily come to the nurse’s office for pads, tampons, and bleed throughs. “Girls come here when they need help because they don’t know what to do- my office is seen as a safe place”.
Girls shouldn’t have to only be comfortable at the nurse’s. It should become commonplace to be able to ask classmates for a pad or a tampon. I guarantee at least one girl will have one, I promise you.
Periods are kind of seen as a Rite to Womanhood and made into some sort of deal, but really our bodies are working in the way mother nature intended. Ladies, don’t be ashamed. Stop putting your tampon in your shirt sleeve. There are so many ways to aid in the end of period stigma, but the most important is just to talk about it. Mark your calendars and be prepared- not for your period, but the end of the stigma.