Why is there such a stigma around periods? Periods are seen as dirty, gross, and unclean. There are such negative connotations around periods and menstruation. People joke around and say phrases like “oh she’s just PMS-ing”, or say comments like “is it that time of the month”, or “she’s just moody because of her period.” There are many slang words for periods like aunt Flo, shark week, red wedding, code red, and so many more. In public, when someone needs a feminine product they usually ask in private or in a quiet tone. People hide their tampons in their sleeves to walk to the bathroom. These are things people do, knowing it or not, that increase period stigma.
Not talking about feminine products and periods is letting negative associations stick with menstruation. No one wants to talk about being on their period and always associate negative connotations with it. Menstruation is a shared experience but is still widely stigmatized. It is usually only talked about in private or is uncomfortable for people to talk about. We are letting this continue by not engaging in the conversation.
Nadya Okamoto is all about period positivity. She is the co-founder of August, a brand to reimage periods. August focuses on reimaging periods and redefining the period experience. She is also a founder of PERIOD which is an organization to fight to end period poverty and stigma. She is famous on TikTok and known for wearing pads shown outside of her clothes and letting tampon strings hang out in public. By having this brand, and organization, and by being an influencer on TikTok, she is trying to make periods a normal conversation. In the TikTok below she explains why she is promoting period positivity.
Women like Nadya Okamoto are a step forward toward stopping the stigma of periods. She has influenced me to personally be more period positive and made me aware of negative things that are adding to the stigma. She is very informative on TikTok and I encourage all of you to check out her page.
When she was younger she would hide her tampons in her sleeve to walk to the bathroom, which is something I related to. She encourages everyone to embrace their periods, rather than hiding them. No one should want to be afraid to ask for a tampon, or hide it when being on your period is natural. A step forward for period positivity is to start talking about it.
If we all work together, we can make progress in ending the stigma. Healthcare workers could help to end the stigma by educating and pushing the importance of menstruation. They can educate people on the importance, make people more aware, and give insight from a qualified professional. Another thing that could be done is by making menstruation products more accessible. The more that they are available in schools or in public the more it can help stop the stigma. Children should be taught at a young age that menstruation is normal and should be talked about. There are so many things people could do to help end the stigma, even by just talking about it or learning something on Nadya Okamoto’s TikTok page.
We need to work together to stop the stigma against periods. Ending the stigma will reduce the anxieties, and stress, and feel less shame about talking about their periods. It shouldn’t have to be a hard conversation to have. Period talk should be treated with the respect it deserves!!!