In today’s American society, there seems to be, more than ever, a lacking in open-mindedness. Whether driven by a divided political climate, a constant segregated congregation of like-minded people online, or a general refusal to spread information about certain taboo subjects, our world is, in many cases, as uninformed and misinformed as ever.
One such taboo subjects is none other than menstruation. There seems to be widespread agreement in public schools (and public in general) to omit any vulgar discussion of the very thing that half of the population endures every month. Such omission can of course be seen as polite or “lady-like,” and there are reasons someone who menstruates would prefer to keep such a personal topic to themselves. However, if and when a woman or person who menstruates wants to freely and harmlessly discuss such things in public, there is often a pressure not to. Perhaps non-menstruating people are present, and there’s a subconscious agreement among the conversers that the conversation needs to be held at a low volume. Perhaps it’s because people just aren’t used to talking about the graphic or even non-graphic details in a casual or formal setting. Regardless of the source of discomfort or pressure, it is widely felt, and can even have poor, subsurface effect on those in need. However, by eliminating the stigma of period-talk, women and those in need of sympathy, or any sort of help regarding menstruation, are one step closer to getting the help and understanding they deserve.
By simply allowing a conversation to occur, women in need benefit. It starts with the general open-mindedness that goes into freely speaking about “taboo” subjects. From there, the unaware or uninformed gain a knowledge that often can only come from a genuine conversation. Menstruating people being comfortable enough to openly express their struggles or discomfort with menstruation, especially around non-menstruators, allows others to gain a sense of sympathy that would have otherwise remained dormant. With these new-found feelings of sympathy and empathy, people are more likely to act upon them- hopefully in such a way that benefits those they know, and eventually those they don’t know, who endure the harsh physical and mental struggles of menstruation. Take it in comparison of mental health issues: a subject once seen as something too personal and embarrassing to speak out and seek help about. Over the past several years, there has been a shift of mentality about the topic. The commodities of mental illnesses have increasingly been highlighted widely in media, television, and music, which has correlated to an increase of the topic being discussed-especially among young people- in day-to-day conversations. From there, more and more people feel safer and more comfortable to express their own struggles with mental health, and are more likely to seek the help they need and deserve. The same thing can happen with periods. It is only a matter of allowing the conversations to occur- freely and shamelessly.