The recent outbreak from Ryan Williams on how women should “hold it in” couldn’t have come at a better time for me, a time at which I’ve been getting increasingly more worked up over the lack of open discussion about periods.
Williams is so badly educated he isn’t even aware that women’s periods are in fact uterus lining that does not come from their bladders. You can read about that here and I’ll throw in another article for laughs here.
Moving on from Williams… I am a very open person about my body and particularly my periods. Since day one I have talked about them with my family and friends; does anyone else get clots, why are my cramps so bad, this morning I leaked on my bedsheets… I’m an open book.
In my opinion, periods are a completely natural thing that happens to almost all women. I find it actually quite beautiful and completely fascinating that my body can build up a protective layer to aid the growth of a baby and it realises every month that if there is no baby it can shed that layer and start afresh in the hopes of another. Doesn’t that fascinate you?
I will admit, it can be pretty disgusting when you wake up in the morning to a bloodbath and have to wash your new bedsheets and throw out your comfiest pair of knickers. And it isn’t particularly fun when you’re doubled over in pain wanting to tear your ovaries out either, but we deal with it. We are women and we can cope with blood and pain.
It has recently come to my attention that not everyone can openly talk about this. I was so used to being open within the group of people I knew that I failed to notice others can’t be so open. Some people say that they’re squeamish which I understand but I’m not asking you to look at my period blood. I’m simply asking that you allow others within your vicinity to talk about their bodies without fear of ridicule.
I know most men are extremely comfortable with periods and men I applaud you because it isn’t easy to be around us women at certain times but what I don’t understand with some men is that they refuse to acknowledge periods. They refuse to talk about them and brush them off as nothing. I mean, really the pain isn’t that bad is it?
At school, boys don’t usually attend a chat on periods or what happens a girl’s body when she hits puberty and I think that should be mandatory. I also believe girls should be taught on what happens boys at puberty. Williams is a prime example of what could happen if boys are unaware of this.
I do understand not all boys and men act like this around women and I know that some women actually have this mindset too but from my own experience it is mostly completely ignorant men that make me angry on the subject.
They don’t have to deal with their own body doing that therefore it doesn’t mean anything to them. They tiptoe around the subject and won’t even openly say the word “period”. I mean, for gods sake we’re not talking about Voldemort! Men, assuming that you are sexually attracted to women, expect to be in a relationship with a woman who bleeds for approximately 3,500 days in her life? Are you going to just book a week away? Are you never going to treat your partner to a cosy night in with chocolate and fluffy socks because she’s feeling crap? Will you never run to the shop for feminax and sanitary products for her? Will you never bring her a hot water bottle when she’s doubled over in pain? How can you deny your partner the right of being able to be open to you about her own body?
Girls and women, your body is amazing. It is something to be proud of, not something to shy away from just because others around you don’t talk about it. Be open and people will eventually follow. We talk about flowers, the weather and growing up so why don’t we talk about periods? After all, they’re all naturally occurring things. Be comfortable in your body and don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise.
Header image by fine artist Hannah Altman