When I was in class 8th, I started my period unexpectedly during a basketball match. The game was a big deal for me as the stakes were high for my team. Suddenly, I felt a gush and then I could feel that my underwear was all soaked. I wasn’t expecting my period and it turned quickly to anxiety and fear.
I started sweating, everything was blurry and in slow motion. My instant reaction was running towards my coach and saying I needed to go to the bathroom.” My coach was less than sympathetic though. “He yelled at me and said ‘what are you doing, get back on the court and wait until the game is over.’ I could no longer focus. All I kept thinking was can anyone see? Did the blood go through my shorts? Was blood going to stream down my leg?”
What is period shaming?
Almost all the girls are familiar with the term period shaming. A familiar feeling, a trickle followed by a sense of panic because we are never prepared for our period. The flood of emotions that accompany a period is also familiar- embarrassment, shame and fear.
High and middle school period shaming comes in many forms, from being teased or picked on to being denied to use the bathroom during class. Usually teens and preteens are too embarrassed to say why they need to be excused and sadly when they do, some adults don’t understand why it might be an emergency.It is the lack of education regarding mensturation that many people don’t understand how period work.
Why are periods so shameful? Why it still is a taboo? Teen and preteen girls are taught to hide their periods, as if it is Voldemort, “that which must not be named”. It damages mental health, body image and self worth and can have long-lasting and deadly impact.
How parents can help put an end to period shaming
If you want to put an end towards period shaming, be positive about the process. Negative attitudes towards periods result in period shaming, and can be harmful to young people, leading to body-image issue, anxietu and depression. These misogynistic ideas about periods need to stop and it is upto parents and guardians to help and be open to discussion at home.
And not just girls, even boys shall be taught about the changes that girls experience in puberty. Every teen must know that periods are just a fact of life.
Hopefully, this will impart the message that periods are a neutral bodily process, nothing to make a big deal over.”
Educate your girls and ask them to be an advocate for education in school. The more young women realize the importance of menstruation and are able to link it with their reproductive ability, the more positive view they have. As long as it is viewed as something we don’t discuss in school, it stays taboo. And, taboo in middle school means shameful. The more natural health issues are understood and to some degree celebrated (our bodies are amazing!) early on, the better. Yes, kids may still laugh and be uncomfortable, but just the exposure and normalization that all young women go through this is enough to remove the stigma.