Periods still taboo?

Is it still socially unacceptable to use the P word?

thewire.in

Menstrual Health and Vitality: Breaking the Silence, Stemming the Flood

It is slowly, but surely, becoming socially acceptable to start talking about periods, a biological fact as old as womankind itself.

Menstruation matters to everyone, everywhere. But it still matters so much more to women and girls, who have historically been asked to bleed in stoic silence so that no one even knows they have their period.

It is slowly, but surely, becoming socially acceptable to start talking about periods, a biological fact as old as womankind itself - even as the United Nations commemorates Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28.

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Periods still taboo?

By Sarah Holt

It may be the 21st century, but young women are still embarrassed to talk about their periods, a new survey has found.

According to research by Plan International UK, 48 per cent of UK women aged between 14 and 21 still feel uneasy talking about menstruation.

The study, which is reported to have surveyed 1,000 women, found that 82 per cent of the girls questioned had felt the need to hide or conceal their sanitary products at some point. Three quarters of those surveyed, meanwhile, said they felt embarrassed buying tampons or pads.

Plan International's chief executive Tanya Barron said: "Girls are telling us that they are embarrassed, confused and ashamed about periods, a completely natural biological process which happens to half the global population.

"As a society we obsessively euphemise, belittle and silence menstruation; we need to address the impact this is having on girls."

Plan International UK describes itself as a children’s charity that strives to advance children’s rights and equality for girls all over the world.

At the start of October the charity launched its #weallbleed campaign to try and break the stigma attached to talking about periods.

Plan International is not the only organisation to have commented on the phenomena of embarrassment and shame over menstruation recently.

In June this year, BuzzFeed produced an article suggesting that the taboo was something that "a lot of people live with".

The article compiled the comments of readers from around the world, such as "My mom once told me that when I'm on my period, I shouldn't throw the 'evidence' away in the bathroom garbage because then people would know why I was so moody." and "Most Malay women even wash out their tampons with soap and water before disposal."

More seriously, in August 2017 the international press reported on an event in which period shaming had played a role in a young woman's decision to commit suicide.

A 12-year-old schoolgirl from southern India killed herself after a teacher allegedly humiliated her over a blood stain from menstruation, the BBC reports. She left a suicide note, accusing the teacher of "torturing" her.

They add: "Although the girl did not mention period shaming in her letter, the mother says her daughter was asked to leave the class because of the stain.

"Menstruation is taboo in parts of rural India. Women are traditionally believed to be impure during their periods."

So are we really still in the dark ages when it comes to talking about menstruation? Should more be done get people to open up about the P word?

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Idiot complains about colleague's period cramps - and HR backs him up

Suffering through painful period cramps at work is a nightmare. Here at stylist.co.uk, we’re lucky enough to work with people who understand that fact; all we have to do is ask, and our deskmates will pull out a variety of painkillers, hot water bottles and, if required, chocolate bars to help ease the pain.

But, of course, we know that we’re in a uniquely fortunate position when it comes to the workplace: for many women, menstruation is still a hugely taboo topic, even in the UK. They’re forced to hide their tampons in their sleeve as they make their way to the office bathroom, speak about their menstrual cycle in euphemisms (think Aunt Flo and ‘time of the month’, for starters), and, most annoyingly of all, grin and grimace their way through the pain.

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