According to UNICEF, 26 percent of people on Earth menstruate. That’s 1 in 4 of us. And yet, most women and girls will tell you that merely talking about having your period in public is still pretty taboo. But as the mom of a 10-1/2-year-old daughter and two teen sons, I’m hoping to change that.
Earlier this month, I posted a photo of my sons, Micah, 15, and Elijah, 16, to the private Facebook page and watched it spread.
It was an image I snapped in Target while we were back-to-school shopping.
‘My teenage boys helped me shop today,’ I wrote, ‘which included buying their little sister’s first bras… because breasts happen.’
And for good measure, I added, ‘Both boys carry a tampon and a pad in their backpacks in case one of their friends needs one. Just a mom out here, trying to erase gender taboo!’
Within hours, the post climbed to thousands of likes and comments, and as I write this, it has over 65K reactions (and counting).
For the most part, the post has gained incredibly positive feedback.
But it’s also prompted many women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s to share horror stories from their youth, recalling times when they desperately needed period supplies and did not have them.
One lady recalled a time she bled through her clothes as a young girl, and a male friend offered her his sweatshirt to wrap around her waist. She has never forgotten his kindness.
Most stories, however, had a recurring theme of humiliation, shame, and helplessness.
Countless women recalled fathers and husbands who ‘would NEVER have gone to the store to buy me period supplies.’ Some people were downright offended that I was attempting to change the age-old ways we’ve handled periods.
One thing is clear: Menstruation is still a major gender taboo that we have not let go of. But I’m doing my best to raise men who see past it.
‘Bleed-throughs happen,’ I’ve explained to my boys. ‘They are mortifying and can be traumatizing. Kindness and understanding from ANY friend goes a long way. Be that person.’
In reality, our bodies are doing what they were physically made to do. So, why should it be embarrassing?