Society tells us women that having a period is gross and something we should almost be ashamed of. Growing up, getting your period is a big deal, and of course you talk about it with your close friend group. GIRL friend group to be exact. You never talk about your period with any of the boys, because they would be disgusted by the topic and say something like “EWWW, that’s so gross!” and maybe even add a gagging face with it.
It’s even an uncomfortable topic to talk about with a father figure. I remember when I first got my period, I only told my mom, who then later told my dad, while I wasn’t in the room. Why is it looked at as some big secret, when every woman gets it and it’s a completely normal part of life and growing up? There is something so odd about having to go to the bathroom in school with a tampon up your sleeve, or having to bring your entire backpack with you, because God forbid someone sees you holding a pad or a tampon in the hallway. The worst part of that whole situation is the question “why are you bringing your entire backpack to go to the bathroom?” from that one male in the class. We all know if you responded with “because I have my period and I need a tampon” the class would go silent and the kid would be disturbed. But why???? Menstruation gives us women the power to give birth, one of the most miraculous things that ever happens in life, and somehow we are seen as disgusting, dirty, and smelly for having it?
There are a lot of other amazing blog posts addressing the stigma behind menstruation, so if you want to read more, click here.
Let’s take a step back and think about how different life would be if the roles were reversed, and men menstruated. Periods would be glorified and bragged about. It wouldn’t be a topic that was talked about in secrecy. Tampons, pads, and other sanitary supplies would be federally funded. I still don’t understand why these products can be so expensive. As women, we didn’t choose to get our periods, it just happens! So why is having a good quality tampon that won’t leak throughout the day treated like a luxury? Isn’t that the least they could offer us when we involuntarily bleed for a week once a month? Like why do tampons and pads in the public restrooms still cost 25-50 cents for the cheapest cardboard-wrapped cotton known to man?
To read more about taxes on these products from a previous blogger, click here.
Especially with everything that is going on now, with the defunding Planned Parenthood debate, it would be such a different story if men had the genitals that women do. If men had periods, defunding Planned Parenthood would not have even been up for discussion. In this alternate universe, Planned Parenthood would be viewed as a necessity. There would be no protesting outside, or old white men holding signs saying, “abortion is murder.” Planned Parenthood would be a safe place where men could access their resources such as abortion clinics, STD testing, birth control, cancer screenings, wellness exams, infertility services, etc. A lot of these resources that Planned Parenthood provides revolve around birth, which is only possible if you have a period!
If men had periods, period jokes and mocking men for uncontrollable period side effects would never happen. Asking a man if he was on his period would be a disgrace to society because it is such a blessing for this man to have his period. But, since women have periods, making fun of it is so easily acceptable, because it is such a gross and dirty thing that causes us to have changes in our mood and immense physical discomfort (in the eyes of the patriarchy at least).
Let’s hand a man a tampon and see how difficult it is for him to handle the cramp pain.
It’s time that women get the credit they deserve for all that they do. Dealing with a period monthly is not easy, especially with the physical discomfort, mental struggles, and cost. If men were to have this same bodily function, they would be praised for doing what they do.