Why is it so difficult to talk about menstruation?

The advertisement aired on the main television stations concerning a brand of absorbent, washable and reusable underwear, which can replace tampons and other disposable products, caused a sensation in the United States.

The ad had the intention of tackling what is still considered a real taboo: menstruation, and women who menstruate.

Why still today in those days we have to feel like “plagued” or to put it in more modern terms, “losers”?

The advertisement, which I suggest you watch in its entirety, wanted, in its provocative nature, to answer the question:

If we all, male and female alike, had periods, would we feel more comfortable talking about it?

The protagonists of the ad this time are the men, men who have to face all the “ups and downs” and setbacks that women are used to in those days: trying to go to the bathroom without anyone seeing tampons and pads, finding the dispenser empty , borrow a tampon or sanitary pad from a friend, get your pants dirty…

The image that apparently caused a cry of scandal is the one that sees a man walking in a locker room with the thread of the tampon dangling from his briefs. Such a sensation that several television stations have asked for it to be removed before broadcasting it.

Menstruation, a world taboo

About half of the world’s population experiences menstruation once a month.

Why is it so difficult to talk about it? Or just represent them?

If we think of the commercials we see on TV for tampons or tampons, menstruation is represented in a very soft way. The absorbency of the products is shown through the use of a blue liquid, which definitely resembles the detergent we use to clean windows but not the blood women shed these days.

They show us women doing somersaults, happy and carefree. But when ever!

Menstruation is considered something to be disguised, something to be ashamed of, something that is preferable to keep hidden from the eyes of others, something dirty…

This way of treating menstruation around the world has important social repercussions

Girls’ school attendance globally declines precipitously around puberty, and while there are several reasons for dropping out of school, menstruation is a major factor among them. For example, according to the UNESCO report , about 1 in 10 girls in Africa miss school on days when they menstruate, thus missing 20% ​​of classes in a school year. In India, about 1 in 5 girls drop out of school after their period arrives.

And here with us?

Although girls are probably smarter than we were 30 years ago, even among themselves we don’t talk about it, they are ashamed to address the subject. They feel different from the others when menstruation arrives , they think they are the first, when instead talking about it they would discover that it is not so, that the others are also experiencing this change, certainly important, but which is completely normal .

If you’re a mother of teenagers, you’ve probably noticed how difficult it is to get into the subject. 

And this despite the fact that at home you have always talked about it with extreme transparency.

Menstruation in highly industrialized, digitized, computerized society, and so on and so forth,  are not yet seen as something absolutely normal, natural.

Sure, they’re a pain in the ass, especially for those with painful, hemorrhagic periods, perhaps accompanied by migraines.

There are women who can’t get out of bed in those days, women who stuff themselves with painkillers.

But why do we have to pass for the losers of the moment if we are naturally and physiologically sick in those days?

Why do we have to pay dearly for pads or tampons, or menstrual cups? Why don’t they at least relieve us of VAT or at least a part of it?

It is being discussed in Parliament thanks to the amendment brought forward by some female deputies belonging to various political groups

A petition has been launched and if you want, you can still sign it on , the signatures are increasing exponentially. If this is the only way to make our voice heard, let’s sign!

If menstruation had menstruation (I’ve been wishing them at least a month of menstruation for years) sanitary pads would probably be free for a long time! In my opinion, there would also be the possibility of taking advantage of special work permits in those red dot days.

And instead we are here having to fight an unequal battle, for a society that is still too male chauvinist, hopelessly bigoted that only talks about menstruation when it has to mock a woman’s NO day.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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