opinions

Breaking the taboo: periods

‘I’ll be back in a second I just need to go to the toilet,’

‘Why are you taking your bag with you, we’re staying here we can look after your stuff,’

‘Oh yeah that’s ok I need to change my sanitary towel and they’re in my bag,’

‘……………………………..’

Who would’ve thought that stating I was on my period and needed to change my towel would cause such a stir amongst my friends at college. It seems like announcing it was a grotesque thing to do, which is even more shocking considering the friendship group I was with was entirely female. It was met by shocked laughter as if I’d brought up a taboo topic, which made me realize that periods still are a taboo topic in our society. Not only is it not socially acceptable to discuss it with your own friends, pads and tampons are still classed as a luxury item. In fact the female genitalia in general seems to be a taboo subject; often vaginal wipes have names to ‘sugar coat’ the fact that their for vaginal use, saying there for your ‘secret sensitive area’. Everyone has genitalia, its biological fact and although not everyone may want to discuss this we all know it’s completely natural and there’s no need to gloss it over. Menstruation is natural, it’s something every female experiences and it’s vital for reproduction, so I see no reason why it should be a shocking subject.

I think perhaps the concept of periods is why they’re a taboo subject; of course all women know that they’re not exactly pleasant to experience, however they’re completely natural. Without them, the female reproductive system wouldn’t be able to function, and this is common knowledge. So seeing as everyone is aware of the function of periods, why should it be something that is seen as disgusting? Especially to fellow women; I can understand that to males actuality of the experience is hard to understand and it can seem like a big deal when in reality it’s just a minuscule part a woman’s life, however I see no reason why a female would be repulsed by discussing the subject. We all go through it, so there’s no shame in having to leave to change your tampon; its essential, its natural, and there’s reason why bodily functions should be a taboo.

It seems that the menstrual cycle is such a taboo topic that discussions can’t even be made to remove the luxury item tax on towels and tampons. Only 32% of the British governing body is made up of females which is perhaps the reason why this tax still exists; periods are often a taboo subject to men in particular, and whether they can grow up enough to talk about them or not, it still needs to be acknowledged that sanitary products are essential for women. I’ve seen multiple videos on Youtube where women go without sanitary products for a day whilst their on their period to illustrate how essential they are; I did consider trying this for the sake of this article but I actually couldn’t bring myself to because going half an hour without them on your period is extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable, and even worse, it’s a risk to your health, as build up of blood with no way of removing it throughout the day can lead to bacterial infections, and even toxic shock syndrome in extreme cases. This is why it disgusts me that towels and tampons are still a luxury item; periods shouldn’t be a taboo topic, but even if some individuals can’t bring themselves to dicuss them they should still realize how important it is for women to be able to purchase sanitary products for a cheap price, as no one can deny how essential they are.

I do believe that many of us are openly dicussing menstration and other taboo topics more which I think is brilliant, as it’s futile to supress something that is completely natural, and when around half of the global population experiences periods, it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

Hopefully all those ignorant and old fashioned invidiuals will realize that soon.

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