By Lily Angel and Diana Arutyunyan
Looking at the headline for this article, what was the first thing you thought of? Was it the grammar punctuation or was it the game Peridot? Or did you dare think of the menstrual cycle?
Some of you, you might be thinking, “Oh, this article is just about ‘that time of the month.’ I don’t want to read that.” Well, before you stop reading, ask yourself just two questions: Why am I stopping, and what about periods makes me uncomfortable enough to not read an article?
Before we get started, let’s talk about what menstruation is.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, menstruation is “the process in a woman [or people assigned female at birth] of discharging blood and other materials from the lining of the uterus at intervals of about one lunar month from puberty until menopause, except during pregnancy.”
If this made you feel uncomfortable, we’re not sorry. Menstruation is a natural process that happens to half of the population. The point is that talking about periods should not make people feel uncomfortable, nor should people think that periods are gross or shameful.
The phrase “It’s that time of the month” is a euphemism for menstruation, used more frequently because menstruation or periods are thought to be too disturbing or embarrassing to talk about. The phrase often implies that periods make people uncomfortable as well. However, this should not be the case as periods are as natural as breathing or sneezing.
Women also often hear “She’s on her period, so that explains it.’’ This is so degrading towards women. It depicts women in such a negative light, claiming that her actions are all because she’s on her period as if a woman does not have the ability to control herself.
If a man was to do the same thing a woman does on her period, such as arguing with someone because the person didn’t follow directions, no one would think twice. However, when a woman acts in this way, she is considered a shrewd. Accusing women of “PMSing” when she acts in a particularly sensitive or aggressive way nullifies the woman’s feelings.
Along with the social stigma seen in conversations about periods, there is another issue: the lack of supplies and high prices for period products. If you walk into any store, you can see that the feminine products are expensive. According to Staista, the average price of tampons in the U.S. is $5.99 and the average for sanitary napkins is $4.45. According to Healtline, the average woman will have around 450 periods. That is over $3,000 in feminine care products for a lifetime.
In the United States, the lack of supplies is less of an issue as women in poorer countries struggle to afford these products.
But here is the question: why do women have to pay for these products at all? Is that even fair? Just think of this: women have to go through a period every single month, and this is not their choice. It is in the nature of a woman’s body.
In this case, when women constantly need to have their feminine products to take care of themselves during period days, how is it fair that they actually have to pay for something they can’t control? It is not. Companies should not be allowed to profit off of women by restricting access to basic care.
All in all, a woman’s period should not be profitable for companies or something that could be used to shame women. It is a normal condition for women’s bodies once a month.
Periods have to be normalized. Talking about the menstrual cycle should not be embarrassing or shameful towards women because bleeding once a month is just a normal part of life.