Sadly, it is not uncommon to hear men talk about how disgusted they are from periods, period products, and the fact that women bleed each month. There’s also the crazy assumption that every negative emotion women feel is because they’re on their period. In some cultures this sometimes goes to an extent of disrespect and perceiving women as nasty and gross because they’re on their period.
It’s time to change that. It’s time to talk to men about menstruation, and it’s time to stop feeling shame for a natural, healthy process that gives us life. Strides are being made in this direction, but there is still much work to be done.
Young minds have no preconceived judgement
The reason why young men often grow into adults with such a prejudice towards menstruation is simple - that’s the example we set for them. When young boys grow up hearing about how menstruation is gross or something to be avoided in conversation, they absorb this negative conception about it, and feel no shame in projecting this behavior toward it in front of others, including their romantic partner.
When we’re born we learn from our surroundings, and we adopt a lot of what the minds around us think. We naturally adapt to what others already set for us before we came to this world. It is as important for young men to know the reproductive health of the opposite sex as it is important that they know about their own.
Explaining to them that menstruation is normal, healthy and nothing to be ashamed of, that nearly every woman goes through it, and that without it none of us would even exist, should be something we talk about from the moment they start asking questions.
The responsibility lies upon us as parents, or other caring adults in their lives, to set an example of the way to talk responsibly and maturely about topics like menstruation. This is how we set the tone for a new generation of boys and men moving forward.
Teach young women that periods are nothing to be ashamed of
The pressure that most women feel when it comes to talking about their period, pulling a period product out of their bag in public, or even purchasing one from the store is something no one should have to worry about. Just as it is with boys, a lot of what young women hear about periods is what they end up thinking about their periods.
There is no shame in being a woman that bleeds every month. There is no shame in talking about it. The fact that some women feel the need to never bring up this conversation with their partner is not only sad but sometimes even dangerous - especially for young women who are sexually active and are learning about safe sexual intercourse.
Plus, when women feel no shame in speaking about the topic of menstruation, they are more likely to learn about better period products, like menstrual cups, that many women have not yet been made aware of. So it helps improve lives in a very real, practical way when we’re able to share conversations like these openly and without fear of judgement.
Why should men care about menstruation?
After all, they’re men, and they’re not the ones bleeding - this is not their problem, right?
Wrong. Menstruation is everyone’s business because as a culture we function together. Men should know about it because knowledge defies this bias that in some cultures around the world puts women in a position of being disrespected, shamed and even denied their basic human rights while they are menstruating.
When we teach young men about menstruation - we teach them that it’s a process essential to us as a human kind. It is a normal part of being a woman, and it is the reason why we’re all here.
This empowers men to step outside of their limited knowledge and relationship to this part of women’s lives - and empowers women to lose the self-consciousness tied to it, and can too often hold us back.
Interested in an empowered period? Learn more about menstrual cups here.