Mens­trua­tion is a topic that affects all people world­wide, regard­less of cul­ture, reli­gion, society, coun­try or some­ti­mes gen­der. If half of the world’s popu­la­tion bleeds mon­thly, why does it often feel so lonely, uncom­for­ta­ble or even embarrassing?

Menstruation as a social taboo

The way we talk about mens­trua­tion has a direct influ­ence on how we as a society think about it. Mens­trua­tion is seen as some­thing very pri­vate, inti­mate and per­so­nal. There are rarely open dis­cus­sions about what peri­ods really mean for mens­trua­ting people and their bodies. Because mens­trua­tion is still socially a taboo, which brings shame with it. This leads us to learn to con­sciously hide mens­trua­tion. Howe­ver, mon­thly blee­ding is a natu­ral and bio­lo­gi­cal pro­cess that repres­ents the ori­gin of all life and can the­re­fore be an expres­sion of femi­nin­ity. If every mens­trua­ting per­son bleeds for about 3000 days in their life, why isn’t it really tal­ked about in the media or poli­tics then?

And sometimes talking is golden after all

We need to break the silence and start tal­king inter­na­tio­nally and openly about mens­trua­tion. We must stop per­cei­ving peri­ods as repul­sive and accept it as what it really is: a natu­ral, regu­lar bio­lo­gi­cal pro­cess that sym­bo­li­zes the health and fer­ti­lity of a mens­trua­ting per­son. In this con­text, social norms must be gently chal­len­ged through edu­ca­tion so that mens­trua­tion can find its place in the public and the mens­trua­ting body is cele­bra­ted. We at Vul­vani want to raise and cele­brate the voices of all. For us, the pur­suit of a more open approach to mens­trua­tion goes hand in hand with the fight for equal rights and the par­ti­ci­pa­tion of all in public debates.

Forms of social discrimination

Mens­trua­ting people are still some­ti­mes socially discri­mi­na­ted against because of their mon­thly blee­ding. Depen­ding on the coun­try and society in which they live, this can come in various forms, ran­ging from a taboo of silence to deli­be­rate exclu­sion from public life. Some child­ren miss school because of their period and adults are not allo­wed to go to work. Rea­sons for this can be cul­tu­ral beliefs towards mens­trual blood as impure, lack of money for mens­trual pro­ducts or lack of sani­tary faci­li­ties in public pla­ces. The mon­thly period thus leads to sys­te­ma­tic discri­mi­na­tion against mens­trua­ting people world­wide. This can lead to people being denied basic human rights that are directly rela­ted to mens­trua­tion. This inclu­des, for example, the right to edu­ca­tion, health or sani­ta­tion. Howe­ver, fema­leness and the rela­ted mens­trua­tion can not stand bet­ween a mens­trua­ting per­son and their rights and goals. Our goal at Vul­vani is that every per­son can expe­ri­ence their mens­trua­tion safely, with dignity and, above all, without shame or discrimination.

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Britta 
Co-Foun­der Vulvani | britta@vulvani.com | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-foun­der of Vul­vani. She loves rese­ar­ching, wri­ting and designing new arti­cles or inno­va­tive edu­ca­tio­nal con­cepts about mens­trua­tion all day long. When she is not tra­vel­ling the world, she enjoys spen­ding time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.