In my previous post I started to speak about menstrual education, an area of schooling I think we can all agree that we’ve seen lacking.
I think that any dedicated session talking about menstruation and focusing on destigmatisation is fantastic, highlighting that this is normal and not shameful and is clearly going to have a huge impact on what is taken away from it.
The thing that is tricky after living with a period for so many years is that you sort of forget just how little you knew, things that sound glaringly obvious to us now were not always a given.
The only thing I remember about the period education I received in school is that we talked about giving our jumpers to girls who were having a leak, and then a teacher put a tampon in a clear vase of water.
These are both things I’ve carried into running these programs, they’re memorable and not horrific, which seems to be the most anyone I’ve spoken to could hope for.
In fact, most people I’ve spoken to about this remember their period education in one of three ways:
Periods were completely brushed over, hardly warranting a mention.
They left absolutely terrified, completely ashamed and unprepared.
The vital education was clouded by shame leaving the distinct impression that silence around menstruation was the expectation.
None of these are acceptable.
Neither is separating the cohort by gender, shuffling the girls into another room to whisper about the secret shames of our bodies.
Before I even start, I need to preface this post by saying that I haven’t had a real period in over two years now. I’m on the pill, so my ‘periods’ are withdrawal bleeds or fake periods (I have a post on this if you missed it).
Also, I need to acknowledge that my stance in this post comes from a place of privilege. I am privileged to be able to make my period manageable, I have access to menstrual products, pain medication and birth control. I am also privileged to be able to afford reusable period products and I recognise that not everyone has access to any or all of these things.
With all of that that said, on with the post… Read more ›