Taboos about periods have been a part of period culture for way too long, and I think it is about time we break these down.
The creation of menstrual taboos took place independently and repeatedly across different peoples and geographies. So it was not just one person one time somewhere in the world. This is a lack of education with loads of conspiracy theories without any truth backing the statements. The backlash of these taboos have left women feeling shameful and dirty if they are on their periods. Negative taboos condition us to understand menstrual function as something to be hidden, something shameful. These taboos are so far from the truth. Within our periods lie our divine femininity, which is a thing to be admired and respected. To unpack these negative taboos, we must first understand our periods for ourselves.
Common period taboos include the idea that women are impure, dirty, or sinful while they’re menstruating. Some women are discouraged from touching or washing their genitals during their periods to eliminate the possibility that they might contaminate the water of a communal bathing area. In reality, menstrual blood is the same as any other body fluid and bathing regularly prevents bacterial infections. It is also said that women on their period are not to cook or visit sacred places, but this is just one more example of misconceptions about periods. There is nothing impure about periods or the entire menstrual process. Every woman goes through this cycle, and deals with these same silly misconceptions about our own bodies. That is why we must break them down. Menstruation is so natural and beautiful. It is the cycle that gives life, and is nothing to be ashamed of. This process is part of our creation, and we are beautifully and wonderfully made.
How do we break down these taboos around menstruation?
First things first. Keep the conversation going! The more we talk about it, the more we know, the less it's taboo. Engage everyone in the conversation and normalize the subject. Talking about periods does not just have to be with your OBGYN or a hushed conversation with your girl friends. Let’s talk more about it and take away the stigma. Next, question the norms! Question the logical backings of the restrictions imposed on you. You do not have to follow something just because it has happened for a long time. A lot of these suggestions about periods were made before we had all the resources that we do today.
Let’s learn more about our bodies and our cycles, and be able to combat the taboos with truth and fact. Next, take control! Keep track of your cycle, learn more about your body, and appreciate all that your body and your cycle do! When you learn, observe, and know about all the phases of your cycle, things start to make sense and you can have a better understanding of what is going on with your body. Also, understanding you are not alone. All women experience a menstrual cycle and all women experience the same shame and secrecy of being on your period. We are not alone, and we aim to create a community of strong women united in our divine femininity, taking control of our periods.
Normalizing your period, talking about your period, and understanding your body is not an easy or comfortable thing, but that is what we are trying to change! We want to encourage the conversation and the change of period culture to that of appreciation and admiration. Step by step and together we can move towards a positive environment and normalization of this beautiful cycle!
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