Shhhhh, I’m on my period!

There needs to be more mention of menstruation in literature (and the media in general).

Seriously, I have seen very little mention of it even in books with strong female leads and written by women. How do you neglect to write that into your character? You’ve got a monthly reminder of it. I’m not saying we need detailed descriptions and entire chapters centered around it, but this is a very real aspect of female physiology. It affects our lives just as much as sex does and nobody seems to shy away from writing about sex.

The truth is that menstruation is viewed like something shameful. Something to only be spoken of in hushed tones and only among girls. I don’t know where this stupid mentality comes from and I admit, I have been its victim for many years. Finding clever ways to conceal pads and developing elaborate codes and euphemisms with my friends so we could speak of it without being understood, making sure no one was around when grabbing pads off the rack in the store and that the cashier was female. Not being able to ask if anyone’s got an ibuprophen in case someone might think I’m on my period. No one told me it was stupid. I had to figure that out on my own. Eventually I did. I realized that being seen with pads is as shameful as being seen with toilet paper. And talking about it is no more shameful that saying you need to pee. It’s no secret that shit happens. And so does menstruation.

I remember the rude and shaming remarks a girl would get for being seen with a pad at school. I remember girls being bullied because they were overheard speaking about it. And I want that to stop. I am here to tell every girl who wants to listen that there is nothing to be ashamed of. And if anyone ever laughs or is mean to you for it, punch them in the nose and then laugh at them for bleeding. And if they use a tissue to try to stop the blood from getting everywhere, laugh even harder.

I also remember the obnoxious PMS jokes whenever a girl was having a bad day. As if the only two alternatives were that she was menstruating – in which case it was “understandable” and even entertaining, or she was a barking crazy bitch – in which case “what the hell is wrong with you?”. Sorry to break it to you, but if that’s how things work, then no sane man would ever be allowed to be anything but chipper.

I can’t stop but think that if we had better representation of menstruation in literature, and other media as well, such things would not happen as much. Menstruation would start being seen differently, it would start being regarded as the normal, healthy physiological process that it is. Perhaps there wouldn’t be so many “PMS jokes” and perhaps it would bring us one step closer to a world where women are not ashamed of their bodies and men learn to respect them and they learn to respect themselves.

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