Dispelling the Shame of The monthly period

 

| ENDING PERIOD OF SHAME | Men educate young boys about menstruation

Video taken from the channel: Kenya CitizenTV


 

STAIN THE STIGMA PR CAMPAIGN LAUNCH

Video taken from the channel: Communicative English: St Teresa’s College


 

No Shame. Period.

Video taken from the channel: Plan International


 

No shame in Menstruation

Video taken from the channel: WaterAid India


 

Period of Shame

Video taken from the channel: Kenya CitizenTV


 

No shame in Menstruation (Hindi)

Video taken from the channel: WaterAid India


 

The cost of menstrual shame | Kayla-Leah Rich | TEDxBoise

Video taken from the channel: TEDx Talks


I couldn’t wait to talk to Rachel Neve Midbar about her new book. The poet is co-editing the Aunt Flo Project, an anthology of writing about “any aspect of the menstrual experience from the emotional to the physical.”Rachel and her collaborator are collecting period stories, including “first periods, last periods, menstruating while trans, late periods, great periods, period shame, period pride.”. The stigma and shame generated by stereotypes around menstruation have severe impacts on all aspects of women’s and girls’ human rights – UN experts.

Ironically, the new recognition that menstrual distress has its roots in the hormones, not the psyche, has led many feminist leaders to fear the return of the old stereotype that women, by virtue. The menstrual cycle is a normal, natural body function of anyone with a working uterus and ovaries. There’s nothing inherently shameful, disgusting or even different about this cycle, or about menstruation itself. But the Culture of Menstrual Shame makes it seem shameful and disgusting, and makes it awkward and embarrassing to talk about. “The stigma and shame generated by stereotypes around menstruation have severe impacts on all aspects of women’s and girls’ human rights In addition, some countries link the first menstruation cycle to being ready to marry, increasing the risks of adolescent pregnancy, limiting girls’ education and work opportunities.

Throughout ages and cultures, menstruation has had many negative words associated with it: taboo, unspeakable, unmentionable, dirty, unclean, and shame, to name a few. But before society unanimously began to believe that menstruation was something women should be ashamed of, it was instead something widely respected and even revered among ancient cultures. Project Pavitra aims to dispel myths, shame and taboos associated with the natural biological process. It promotes menstrual health and hygiene among adolescent girls.

It has brought happiness in the lives of over 19,000 young girls till date by empowering them to embrace their womanhood. They are dispelling the inherited shame by gently showing how there are safer practices to handling menstruation than the ones shrouded in taboo. When it is shamed and hidden, menstruation is a harmful force which promotes inequality.

They have no shame in menstruation, but see it as a beautiful celebration of life. In many indigenous cultures, a girl’s first blood is seen as a blessing, and a powerful transition time. During those few days a woman can gain strength and confidence that will stay with her for the rest of her life. A big part of this management, then, is about changing the mindset towards menstruation by dispelling doubts and removing misconceptions around periods.

The shame, stigma and misinformation.

List of related literature:

There is one final alternative to the problem of PMS, one that is diametrically opposed to menstrual suppression.

“The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation” by Janice Delaney, Mary Jane Lupton, Emily Toth
from The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation
by Janice Delaney, Mary Jane Lupton, Emily Toth
University of Illinois Press, 1988

Menstruation does not turn us into raving maniacs or complete invalids; it is just that we would rather do without it.

“For Women Only!: Your Guide to Health Empowerment” by Gary Null, Barbara Seaman
from For Women Only!: Your Guide to Health Empowerment
by Gary Null, Barbara Seaman
Seven Stories Press, 2001

In her 2018 book It’s Only Blood, Swedish journalist Anna Dahlqvist explores the global movement to center attention on menstrual health, looking at the inscrutable paradox: how can women’s procreative capacities, from which all humanity springs, be revered, while evidence of this fertility1—menstruation—is shamed?

“The Managed Body: Developing Girls and Menstrual Health in the Global South” by Chris Bobel
from The Managed Body: Developing Girls and Menstrual Health in the Global South
by Chris Bobel
Springer International Publishing, 2018

Menstruation is a precious gift for our female bodies.

“Wild Feminine: Finding Power, Spirit & Joy in the Female Body” by Tami Lynn Kent
from Wild Feminine: Finding Power, Spirit & Joy in the Female Body
by Tami Lynn Kent
Atria Books/Beyond Words, 2011

Menstruation has inspired many works of art, writing, Web sites, and cultural gatherings.

“Encyclopedia of Gender and Society” by Jodi O'Brien
from Encyclopedia of Gender and Society
by Jodi O’Brien
SAGE Publications, 2009

Even the importance of cyclical and recurrent periods is at question with hormonal birth control such as Seasonale, whose major selling point is that women need not menstruate but four times per year.2 Contemporary physicians such as Elsimar M. Coutinho have asked the question “is menstruation obsolete?”

“Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology” by Sharra L. Vostral
from Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology
by Sharra L. Vostral
Lexington Books, 2008

Many women report feeling relieved to be rid of pain-provoking organs—not to mention the monthly menstrual period and risk of pregnancy in premenopausal women—but a small minority seem to rue the loss of fertility and see themselves as less feminine or complete.

“The New Harvard Guide to Women's Health” by Karen J. Carlson, Stephanie A. Eisenstat, Stephanie A. Eisenstat, M.D., Terra Diane Ziporyn, Alvin & Nancy Baird Library Fund, Harvard University. Press
from The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health
by Karen J. Carlson, Stephanie A. Eisenstat, et. al.
Harvard University Press, 2004

After the heady triumph of menarche, most of us soon begin thinking of menstruation as a hassle, a mess, an embarrassment.

“Woman: An Intimate Geography” by Natalie Angier
from Woman: An Intimate Geography
by Natalie Angier
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999

On the other hand, from our earliest awareness of menstruation until the day we stop, we are mindful of the imperative to conceal our menstrual processes.

“On Female Body Experience:
from On Female Body Experience: “Throwing Like a Girl” and Other Essays
by Iris Marion Young
Oxford University Press, 2005

PMS holds an interesting place in the history of the development of the modern menstruating body.

“The Modern Period: Menstruation in Twentieth-Century America” by Lara Freidenfelds
from The Modern Period: Menstruation in Twentieth-Century America
by Lara Freidenfelds
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: +1 (877) 492-3666

Biography: https://medicine.yale.edu/profile/kutluk_oktay/
Bibliography: oktay_bibliography

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27 comments

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  • I was 8, almost 9, when I got my first period. My family wouldn’t shut up about how “you’re a woman now!:D”
    Think about that.
    I wasn’t even double digits. And my period made me a “woman”.
    We can’t hide this and we can’t push such heavy weight on our kids. It’s horrific.

  • This talk is so well done. I’m pretty open in conversations in my world, but it’s amazing to consider how much work there is to be done in our communities and far beyond. This is very inspiring to up my game and do more beyond my immediate circle.

  • Periods should not be shameful.
    Boys should be educated on the menstrual cycle.
    If it wasn’t for us females going through it then population would be impossible.

  • Filmgoals….please contact Days for Girls International for further information also. We have been working on this issue for over four years and have distributed feminine hygiene kits in over 65 of the poorest countries. We are an all volunteer, grassroots organization and would love to add our experience to your work.

  • OMG! this is shocking and shamefull to our government. What are women reps doing in this country? are this not the things they should b raising in parliament ( free sanitary towels to every girl child in schools)? OMG! where are the NGOs? the government should act fast.

  • Okay I’m from Uganda and the boys at my school act like our skins are contagious if they by some unfortunate event find out about your period

  • wow Kayla, you really rocked this… every word flowed from you like a beautiful unstopped menstrual flow. thank you. so much gratitude for the service you’re doing for our world

  • this hit so hard i cant even explain it. i am a 25 year old stay at home mother for my 3 years old son his father and i still live together but are no longer together. This man allows me to sleep in his home on a donated mattress in the middle of the living room. he does not financially support me in any other way, so food or hygiene products, and yes even pads are hard to come by for me. i struggle every month to find some way to control and manage my period or even to wash myself. it seems weird to people that though i am not homeless i still don’t live with normal basic hygienic needs met. this ted talk had me in tears i am with my son all day while getting a degree at night i cannot wait to get one and a job to create a better life for my son and i. my son i vow will not grow up like his father he will have every respect in the world for women and menstruation and have the understanding and knowledge of how hard these simple items are such a necessity. thank you for this it has re-inspired hope in me that one day it will be better for me and i will be able to make a difference for other woman struggling without supplies.

  • Great work.

    I have a YouTube channel and we are looking forward to do an episode regarding the same.

    I you are interested, please contact me @ 9537187665.

  • it’s very sad how these women are going through. l would send tampons and maxi pads free too all these women. they need to be learn. having your period that you became a woman. it’s not a shame thing. it breaks my heart seeing this. l hope and pray they get the help they need.

  • When I was an anthropology student, I remember the Archaeology teacher (university, professor, Uruguay, South America, 1999) saying that, for marine research, having female investigators on the team was uncomfortable because they mestruate. That statement really made me sick, for it came from a higlhy cultivated person.

  • I love and appreciate the specific examples you gave near the end, of how to start conversations about menstruation. Many people might’ve walked away from this talk with good intentions but at a loss of how to initiate change. Not now.:)

  • PLEASE if you are interested in this cause look up organizations like Days for Girls… we make and distribute washable sanitary supplies that last approximately 3 years! we are always in need of supplies, people who can sew, and also people with connection to areas where they need to be distributed. please look us up Days for Girls

  • We have all white uniforms in nursing school… so hard to focus on education when 100% of your time is spent freaking out in silence that you might be bleeding through.. and I’m almost 40… not a new teen bleeding…

  • Check out organizations like Days for Girls, we make and distribute washable feminine hygiene kits that last up to 3 years. we are in need of money, supplies and/or volunteer labor.

  • I am a filmmaker…would really wanna highlight this as a full feature documentary…is it possible…could the journalist who covered this or the relevant person kindly contact me

  • To all the mothers and daughters of the world.. no more silence or shame! We were created to reproduce and periods are required for 50% of the world. This is my friend Kayla-Leah Rich’s TedXBoise Talk. She brings the the subject into the light with humor and honesty. Share and stop the silence!!

  • I love the comment about rustle-free wrappersgasp! What if another girl knows I’m on my period?! Yet, I remember unwrapping those ever-hidden items as quietly as I could when I was in high school. Great talk!

  • A question for the presenter…. when you knew the story you were doing, did you atleast rally the people you know so that you can buy them a few packets?

  • All women need to listen to this!!! What we don’t know about we women!!! Kayla-Leah does a fantastic way of sharing this message!!!

  • Thank you for helping women celebrate their bodies and bringing much-needed awareness to supporting girls and women here and in other countries with feminine supplies. #daysforgirls #shameslayer #planetpeopledbyperiods

  • I grew up in a household with a mother and one of three girls close in age. With 4 people menstuating in one home, it was more amusing that our mother would get embarrassed. My father never gets embarrassed, he’s ex military and told us medics used a tampon for his gunshot wound once. I think if it had been left up to my mother, I’d probably be embarrassed, but Dad was never uncomfortable asking if we needed supplies. As an adult, he’s said with three teenage daughters, he considered periods a good sign that none of us were pregnant.:D

  • The period was always hush hush growing up in my house with 4 girls and 2 boys. There should be no shame when it comes to this natural monthly occurance. And i can’t imagine living in a 3rd world country and not have the bare minimum to deal with menstruating. The things we as women in this country take for granted. Don’t allow the shame to stop the discussion. Love Kayla and her directness on a hush hush topic! She did any amazing job on opening our eyes to on this topic!

  • We need to throw a ‘first period’ party. Something for every girl to get excited about and look forward to. The greeting card manufacturers can run with this one and somewhere down the line there’ll be complaints that it’s been too commercialised.. I look forward to that day!

  • i too when i had my first period thought that i had some internal bleeding and that i might die it’s funny cause i didn’t care i remember not being afraid

  • Really powerful message Kayla-Leah. I am humbled by the tenacity with which you do your part to communicate this hidden, powerful problem that needs to be addressed.

  • This is what One Girl, a charity here is Australia that supplies affordable sanitary pads to girls in Sierra Leone, says about the issue:
    “Q: Why don’t you use reusable fabric pads instead?
    A: After surveying 500 women and girls, we discovered that many of them find it embarrassing to have to wash their soiled cloth in public washing areas. Because Sierra Leone is a developing country, they don’t have the same hygienic means of washing as we do.