To Abolish Menstrual Inequities And Normalize Talking About Periods
“Menstrual inequity” or “period poverty” refers to a lack of access to period products, toilets, hand washing facilities, or other tools (including health education) needed to menstruate safely. These terms can also encompass an overall lack of support for menstrual health care and even discrimination against those who menstruate.
Menstrual inequities exist because of cultural stigmas associated with periods all over the world.
In Nepal for example, Chhaupadi is a superstition that considers menstruators “impure”. When someone in Nepal is on their period, they are banned from their home and made to find shelter elsewhere, even in freezing temperatures. They are also not allowed to eat certain foods or socialize with others.
In the United States, 35 states still have a tax on menstrual products, which are a basic necessity for over half of the population. Yet, in those same states, items like gun club memberships and chainsaws are tax exempt.
If you think about it, periods are a topic more often talked around than talked about.There are so many nicknames for periods: “Aunt Flo”, “time of the month”, “shark week”, and “rag week” are just the tip of the iceberg. Even period product commercials focus on how the product can be concealed, so that no one will know you’re on your period. When they demonstrate using the product, they use blue liquid which looks nothing like period blood!
Yet, periods are a normal part of life for half of the world’s population. We “manage” them in the same way that we “manage” urinating or defecating. It is just another bodily process.
When I found out that well educated members of my own family did not understand how periods work and how they can affect the menstruator, I realized that not even comprehensive sex education is enough to get rid of the stigmas associated with menstruating.
The best way to get rid of these stigmas and abolish menstrual inequities is to normalize menstruation, which we can ALL do by talking about, and not avoiding, periods when they are relevant. After all, periods do not just affect people who menstruate. Periods influence everyone’s:
- Ability to have children
- Inter-personal relationships
- Financial budgets
- Global economy
- And so much more!
Welcome to Gold Hormones — my corner of the internet to discuss all things periods!