Period Stigma: Ditching the Shame and Owning Your Cycle

Let's talk periods. No, seriously, let's. For something that affects over half the population for a significant part of their lives, periods are wrapped in a surprising amount of secrecy and shame. How can we break free from this outdated narrative?

Johanitha Moraes
New Update

Photo taken from Canva Stock Images

Let's talk periods. No, seriously, let's. Because for something that affects over half the population for a significant portion of their lives, periods are wrapped in a surprising amount of secrecy and shame. Imagine whispering about getting a haircut or needing new shoes- that's kind of how period stigma operates. But why? And more importantly, how can we break free from this outdated narrative?

Think back to your first period. Were you greeted with a high five and a celebratory cake? Or were you met with hushed tones, awkward explanations, and maybe even a dash of fear? Many girls experience the latter, left confused and unsure about a completely normal biological process. This lack of education and open communication sets the stage for period stigma, with consequences that ripple far beyond a little discomfort.

Photo taken from Canva Stock Images

The Ripple Effect of Period Shaming:

  • Silence Breeds Misinformation: Without proper education, girls and women rely on whispers and rumors. This can lead to anxieties about their bodies, fear of leaks and stains, and a general sense of being "unclean" during menstruation.
  • Confidence Takes a Hit: Imagine hiding a natural part of yourself for fear of judgment. Period stigma can erode self-confidence, impacting everything from social interactions to participation in sports and activities.
  • Absence Makes the Problem Worse: The lack of open conversation translates into a lack of access to proper menstrual hygiene products. This can lead to embarrassment, missed school days, and even limited career opportunities, especially in under-resourced communities.

So, How Do We Break the Cycle (pun intended)?

It's time to rewrite the narrative around periods. Here are some ways we can all be period positive champions:

  • Open the Conversation: Parents, educators, and healthcare providers, let's talk about periods openly and honestly right from the very beginning. Use the right terminology, address anxieties, and normalize menstruation as a healthy function of the body. Consult our Gytree experts if you have any questions about menstruation and periods. 
  • Ditch the Sayings: "That time of the month"? Nope. Periods are periods. Let's call them by their proper name and strip away the unnecessary secrecy.
  • Celebrate Those who are Vocal: Shout out to the athletes, celebrities, and everyday heroes who are sparking conversations about periods. Let's amplify their voices and normalize the discussion.
  • Propagate Accessibility: Periods don't discriminate, but access to hygiene products often does. Support organizations that provide menstrual products to those in need, and advocate for policies that make them readily available in schools and public spaces.
Menarche: All about the First Period Journey
Photo taken from Canva Stock Images

Everyday Actions to Break Period Stigma


Here are some additional, easy-to-implement ways you can contribute to a world free of period stigma, right from your own corner:

  • Normalize Period Talk: Don't shy away from casual conversations about periods. Mention needing to grab tampons at the store, or casually ask a friend if they need some pain relief (with discretion, of course!).
  • Challenge Period Jokes: We've all heard the tired jokes. The next time someone cracks a period-related joke that reinforces negative stereotypes, gently challenge it. Educate them on the impact of their words.
  • Embrace Period Products: Don't hide your period supplies in the bottom of your shopping cart. Carry them openly in your backpack or purse. Normalize the visual presence of menstrual products.
  • Celebrate Menstrual Milestones: Has your daughter or niece gotten her first period? Instead of hushed whispers, consider a small celebration. Give her a a a book about menstruation or a care package with period products.
  • Lead by Example: Talk openly about your own experiences with your period (if you're comfortable). This can help normalize the conversation and empower others to do the same.
  • Challenge Period Shame on Social Media: Use your voice! Share positive period posts, debunk myths, and call out companies that perpetuate stigma in their advertising.

Periods are a natural, healthy part of life. By dismantling the stigma and enabling open communication, we can empower girls and women to embrace their cycles with confidence and dignity. Remember, a period doesn't define you- it's simply a part of who you are. So, let's own it, celebrate it, and rewrite the story around menstruation, one conversation at a time.

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