Despite the rubbish reality of having periods as a woman, one silver lining is that we’re at least all in the same boat.
The idea being that, whether it’s cramps or feeling seriously on edge before we know our period is about to strike, at least we can confide in our friends about it.
But apparently, many of us don’t feel comfortable doing this at all and a fifth of British women feel uncomfortable about talking about their periods with their friends.
According to a YouGov poll commissioned by ActionAid, one in five women (20%) under forty years old say they would feel uncomfortable discussing their periods with their female friends, their mums (21%) and their partners (21%).
Do you understand how your menstrual cycle works? If you don't, you're not alone. New research carried out by YouGov for ActionAid found that a quarter of women in the UK who are aged between 16-39 don't understand their menstrual cycle. Taboos and secrecy around periods affect women and girls across the world. We're kickstarting a conversation in the run up to World Menstrual Hygiene Day this Sunday, so that women and girls aren't held back by a natural process that should be celebrated not shamed. #mhday2017 #periodempowerment #menstruationmatters #menstrualhygieneday
A post shared by ActionAid UK (@actionaiduk) on May 24, 2017 at 4:11am PDT
The survey of 2,140 adults in the UK aged 16 and over also found that there’s an age gap when it comes to understanding our periods.
Younger women are much less likely to track their periods than middle aged women – when asked about understanding the timing and frequency of their period, 37% of women aged 40-54 years had tracked their periods since it started, compared to only 19% of 16-24 year olds.
And importantly, there are a lot of misconceptions to do with how comfortable men feel about discussing them.
Almost half of the women surveyed said they would feel uncomfortable discussing periods with their dads, yet only 9% of men said they would feel uncomfortable discussing periods with their daughters.
That goes for male friends, too – while one in three (37%) women said they wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing periods with male friends, only 17% of men said they would find discussing periods with female friends uncomfortable.
Ever wanted to ask a man to buy some tampons while they’re nipping to the shop? Only 16% of women said they would feel comfortable asking a man to buy sanitary products for them.
But the men? 50% said they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable (and stuff the other half, anyway).
These results come just before World Menstrual Hygiene Day on Sunday 28th of May as part of an ActionAid initiative to raise awareness of millions of women and girls around the world who don’t have access to clean and safe sanitary products.
“The image of the woman as we know it is an image created by men and fashioned to suit their needs.” Kate Millet Dr. Earle Haas filed for patent for first tampons with applicator in 1931, soon to be purchased by @tampax one of the biggest tampons producers in the world. Women were not supposed to interact with their bodies, and their vaginas. The menstruation fluids were meant to be invisible. The applicator ensured that no “unnecessary” contact during the use,takes place. User doesn't receive information (important for prevention of many medical issues) on the intensity of the flow, it’s density, colour etc. Tampon’s design, its form and the way it interacts with the user, is responsible for the maintenance of the stigma around menstruation. Tampon clogs woman’s body, tries to make the menstruation invisible. Both function and form of the tampon as well as the economic imperative behind its design, nurture the patriarchal structures, in which masculine body is the “norm” and female’s body is an aberration. The product was designed as a disposable one, to generate regular income to the company and to bind women with constant monthly expenses for most of their lives. A classical example of umbilical connection between capitalism and patriarchy. The invisibility has been adopted not only in the design of tampon as an object, but in the visual communication in the advertising campaigns. White, clean, dressed in mini dresses or skinny jeans, the representation of women is distanced as much as possible from the menstruation itself. The invisible period is being hidden so deeply, as the tampon, demure, unmentioned, unheard of. Check today the stories to see some examples from past and from present of the tampons commercials. @depatriarchisedesign #mayaober #depatriarchisedesign #designpatriarchy #postpatriarchy #womenusers #menstruation #tampon #depotbasel #placeforcontemporarydesign #depotbaselnetwork
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“Millions of girls living in some of the world’s poorest places grow up knowing nothing about menstruation before their first period, or dreading its arrival,” Girish Menon, the charity’s chief executive said.
“Poverty, a wide range of cultural taboos attached to menstruation or being trapped in a humanitarian disaster can mean many women and girls are unable to access affordable sanitary products which can have a devastating and irreversible impact on their lives.”
He added: “It is an unfair and distressing reality that women and girls are held back by a process that is natural; unavoidable and should be celebrated not shamed.”
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