Friday, September 4, 2015

Getting Rid of the Stigma- Menstruation

This next month or two I am focusing on a series of blogs telling the stories of women. About their first sexual encounter, their periods, miscarriages, abortions, adoption, pregnancies and all the things that society has developed stigma's surrounding.

We shouldn't talk about menstruation it's so gross, we should hide and be ashamed of our abortions, we should grieve in silence when it comes to a miscarriage or fertility issues, we should feel dirty if we engage in any type of sexual experience or experimentation or heaven forbid are willing participants in any sort of sex work. Women are paid less money and our body standards are ridiculous, we are told to feel bad if we keep a baby and we are single, hello! God says you need to be married first! But hey, that abortion you want? Nope nada, nothing.

If you would like to contribute a story to the collection it will be anonymous, only the age you were at the story's time. I want women to feel they can share without the fear of harassment, however if you would like me to include your name or online handle, please let me know. Email me at


Basic biology in case you don't know.

What is the menstrual cycle?:

"The menstrual cycle is just that: a cycle. It is your body’s way of preparing itself for a possible pregnancy. A girl’s cycle is the length of time it takes her body to go through the process of releasing an egg, preparing the uterus to cushion a fertilized egg, and then shedding the thickened lining and the unfertilized egg (by bleeding that comes out of the vagina).  The “period” itself is part of this cycle. Your hormone system controls your menstrual cycle. The changes in your body (including cramps, moodiness and your period) are brought on by changes in the levels of hormones that are running through your system. The medical term for getting your period is menstruation or menses. "

What happens during your menstrual cycle?:

"As you enter puberty your body starts to change. Your breasts develop; you start to get pubic hair and hair under your arms; a few months before your first period you may even notice that you have a clear discharge from your vagina. Don’t panic! This is all normal.
About once a month, an egg leaves the ovaries and travels down the fallopian tubes towards the uterus. At the same time, the lining of the uterus becomes thicker with extra blood and tissue to make a cushion for a potentially fertilized egg. If an egg is fertilized with sperm and you become pregnant, the fertilized egg will attach itself to your uterus where it will slowly develop into a baby. If the egg is not fertilized, the lining of the uterus begins to break down so it can be shed (along with the egg that was not fertilized). Your period – or the time of bleeding – happens when your body gets rid of the extra blood and tissue that’s no longer needed. Then the cycle starts all over again.
Remember, you can still get pregnant if you have unprotected sex while you are menstruating. And if you are having sex without birth control and you don’t get your period for a month or longer, you could be pregnant. "

Myths about your period, some you may even still believe!!

1) Sleeping next to another girl who is on her period can cause yours to start. 
(There is NO scientific proof that women's periods sync. )

2)Don't swim in the ocean- Sharks can smell your blood. Don't go camping- bears can smell your blood. 

3) Tampons will make you lose your virginity.

4)Don't go to the dentist or your fillings will fall out. ( Your gums may be more sensitive during your period, but it won't affect your dental visit more then bleeding gums.)

5) You can't get pregnant on your period. (LIE)

6) Flowers will die if you touch them while on your period.

7)You shouldn't swim while on your period because your tampon will soak up too much water and you will sink.

8) While on your period avoid doing strenuous activity. ( However if you don't FEEL like working out or digging up a garden then don't...but you can if you want.)

9) Your period should last seven days. (All women are different there are MANY factors mine last four to five some of my friends last eight...just depends on YOU and your birth control method sometimes.)

10) PMS is all in your mind (Bull shit, it's an actual mental and chemical thing that happens to women.)

Interesting Historical/Mythological "Facts" about Menstruation

1) Ancient Romans thought that menstruating women were practicing dark magic

2) Some people in India believe menstruating women make cows infertile, while in East
 Africa some say they dry out crops.

3) Ancient Egyptians sometimes used soften papyrus as tampons

4)Medieval Europeans burned toads to stop heavy flow days, they also thought the blood

would cure leppers

5) The French thought having sex on your period would create monsters

6) From the 1890's to the 1970's women wore belts to contain sanitation napkins

7)  In the 40's and 50's kids in schools watched a mini movie about menstruation made by


8) Some women in the past spent the days of their cycle in specialized rooms or huts.

9)There is a festival in India that celebrates menstruation and the period Goddess 

10) In Cherokee culture menstrual blood was thought to be the source of feminine power and could destroy enemies.

Weird Names People Call Menstruation

Aunt Flo
The Curse
TOM is visiting
Riding the cotton pony
Surfing the crimson wave
In her flowers
Red tide
On the rag
Shark week
Cousin Red
Have the painters in
The red river
Opening the flood gates
On the blob

True Stories of Women on Their Periods

Age of the story 15

I got my period when I was 15 and it lasted for 9 months. It was HEAVY too. I tried to use tampons but couldn't figure out how to use them. I was young and shy and scared to investigate my body so I had to use pads and it was horrible. Every time I stood up, sneezed, laughed I would feel this big goop of thick blood come out. I had the super maxi pads and had to change them multiple times daily. Finally, my mom made me figure out the tampon situation. She got me some medical gloves and KY jelly and told me to feel around down there to find my vagina and find out how my body was angled to insert the tampons. It was humiliating and SUPER awkward but it worked! No more maxis! Eventually my period slowed down. It was never regular until I went onto BC.

Age of Story 12

I got my period in sixth grade, one of the first girls in my class to do so. OF course in my school the bathrooms didn't have anywhere to deposit pads or tampons so I had to roll these things in like a ton of toilet paper and pray no one else was in the bathroom to see me throw it away. My flows were so heavy and I got the worse cramps, like go home and spend an hour in the shower with the hot water pounding into my abdomen cramps. I wouldn't use tampons for the longest time because I was just too nervous and not sure exactly how they worked. My mom finally bought me some tampons and I spent an hour in the bathroom looking at the instruction manual, I went through three before I called my mom. I was embarrassed but I just had no clue how to figure it out, I couldn't see down there so they just wouldn't go in properly. Mom tried to explain it to me, but that didn't help. Finally I got up on the sink and squatted in front of the mirror so I could see into my vagina (first time I had ever done that either) and finally I was able to get the tampon it. I loved the freedom tampons gave me and I never went back.

Age of Story 12 or 13

My period started when I was in junior high, I believe I was 12. It was seventh grade. I don't remember exactly how it happened but I remember using the bathroom and looking down to see blood in my underwear..."oh, well that's happened". I didn't have any supplies or anything, I simply wadded up toilet paper and used it as a makeshift pad.

I didn't tell anyone. I don't know why. I don't remember being embarrassed (although I did check to make sure I didn't bleed through my pants, I remember that much from my older sister) I just didn't want anyone to know.
It was three days before my mom cornered me in the laundry room and asked me what kind of pads I wanted. Three days of wadded toilet paper, bloodied underwear, and stolen pads from my 4-H sewing teacher's daughter's stash.

Age of Story 11 or 12

When I was 11, almost 12, we were between homes and it was summer break before school started up. We were at the time living with some friends of the family in their basement and I got home one day and was very embarrassed because I thought I had wet my pants.

I really wish I had wet my pants after I saw that it was actually blood in my underwear. I was in a state of shock about it since I had heard of people being on their period but not really known what it meant. I just sat there staring at it for a good 5-10 minutes until someone knocked on the door needing the bathroom.

That knocked me out of my shock and made me start crying. It was a silly reason to start crying too. It wasn't because I was bleeding. I had ruined my clothes and they were some of my favorites.

A few minutes later my mom knocked on the door and came in after unlocking the door to see what was wrong. When she saw me sitting on the toilet sobbing over my clothes she did what I'm sure I would have done now. She chuckled a little bit and told me it was completely normal and not to be so upset about it. She really didn't understand that it was more about the clothes than the blood at that point.

I was then taught my first lesson in how to use a pad over my underwear and for years after I was in constant fear of ruining my clothes. (Until someone finally told me that clothes could be fixed with cold water..)

1 comment:

  1. It is taboo to talk about Menstrual in my culture and in my home it self. I am 27 btw, yeah it's still consider as taboo.....

    I am calling mine as SHARK WEEK.


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