I am a 21-year-old female. I've been having periods for 9 years now and will continue having them for another 25 odd years.
Periods happen to every woman, so why do we feel ashamed or embarrassed to talk about them?
The same reason we don't talk about many female issues - fear of feminism, thinking its gross, unnecessary, 'that doesn't happen in 2018'. Well, it does.
We are not equal.
1) 'She's moody because she's on her period..'
This is something that most women will hear multiple times in their life. It is true that emotions and hormones are heightened during menstruation but we are still people. Could there be any possibility that you actually just upset this person? That they are reacting perfectly normally to what you just did or said? I'm pretty sure it would be normal if it was a man reacting the same way. Just have a google. You'll find many articles telling you how to 'deal' with your girlfriend, sister, female coworker while they're on their period. Do we need to be 'dealt' with? Could you just be nicer maybe? But of course, that blames someone else, someone who's not female and someone who never gets a period.
2) TAMPON TAX.
This is spoken about a lot, and shouldn't need explaining. Tampons and ALL sanitary products are essential to a women's life. They cannot be compared to 'luxury' items. They cannot be compared to hygiene products such as razors. They are essential.
3: Ew blood.
A lot of people are still majorly grossed out by periods and blood in general. A lot of these people being women too. Periods are something that happen and unless you wanna have a baby now, you're stuck with them. They're normal, very normal. And shouldn't be considered gross or disgusting, by anyone.
At this point, I know that some people will see this as just another radical feminist writing. That's exactly what this is. Menstruation is not radical, its life.
4) It's just not something that should be publicly spoken about...
It's private. I understand some women may not want to discuss periods on the train with strangers. We should at least be able to talk about them to our family, friends, teachers, medical professionals and anyone that you wanted to. I don't see a reason why we shouldn't talk about periods, apart from very old patriarchal ideas that women shouldn't speak up for themselves. And I will add that, we never ignore male health.. we always speak about that.
So why should we?
If the reasons above don't convince you that it is utterly stupid to not talk about mensuration then maybe these will help.
5) THEY'RE NORMAL.
Honestly, they are. They are a bodily function that happens to all women. That's all they are and all they should be seen to be.
6) So that young women know what to do when they get their first period.
Education, education, education!! Talking about periods openly, not making them a taboo would help so many young women globally. I live in the UK and with very open parents, I'm lucky. I was taught about periods just before I started mine. A lot of girls don't have this, they don't get taught what is going to happen to their own bodies. They don't get told that its normal, and that's scary. That is a scary thought for anyone, not knowing what's happening to their body. But when its a normal thing, that is definitely going to happen, why do we not talk about it? It's not like we're not expecting it to happen?
7) So women can find sanitary products that work for them.
Pretty much since I started my period I have been using tampons. Why? Because they're the best method? Or because they're the main product shoved in our hands? Tampons are very handy, they allow you to continue on a day to day basis with very little pain or interruption. About a year ago I started to get really bad bacterial infections after every period, so after a lot of research, I started using a menstrual cup. I'm not going to slate using tampons, because if they work for you that is brilliant. But if they don't work for you, then you need to know that there are other options. Tampons and sanitary towels are the 2 main products. They're very affordable and easily accessible, in the UK anyway. I don't think I've ever seen an advert for a menstrual cup, ever. They work for my body and they are SO much better for the environment and so much more cost-effective, as they last between 5 - 10 years.
8) So that women do not keep devaluing their emotions down to their period.
This is spoken about above as well but I need to reiterate it. Women should not have their emotions defined by a time of the month. Why can women just not be upset or angry or want to cry? PMS (Pre-menstrual Syndrome) is actually a thing, that women can be diagnosed with. Someone, please explain to me how having emotions and being female is a medical issue? PMS is a collection of symptoms that occur before a women period, but isn't 3 weeks of the month potentially before a period? So basically, PMS can happen 3 weeks of the month and then the 4 week was 'over-emotional' anyway because we're on our period. By this thinking, women are permanently emotional purely because of their periods. This is not only deluded but it is also reductive. Women are actual people, with actual brains and emotions. Why can we not just be upset because someone or something upset us?
9) So that women feel comfortable going to talk to professionals, or anyone if they're having issues with their periods.
THIS. Periods should not be embarrassing. Yet a lot of women won't even talk to relatives about them. Let alone professionals or god forbid, strangers. Say you were on your period at work and you really needed a tampon, you haven't got one and you can't get to a shop. I assume most women would feel somewhat comfortable asking another woman if they can help. So let's say there's not another woman you can talk to because lets be honest women are underrepresented in almost all workplaces. What do you do? Do you ask a male if he can run to the shop for you? Or maybe just ask your male manager if you can leave work to buy some? I assume a lot of women would ask to leave work, but would probably not explain why or maybe even make up a different reason. This is all silly, just talk about periods. They happen, they're a thing so move on.