Periods. Why we should be talking to our sons about them

What do our sons think about periods? What do they even know about periods? And where oh where are they getting their (misguided?) information from?

I learned about menstruation at school. An all girls catholic school. Grim, I know. It was pretty basic stuff. A bit of anatomy. A bit of practical advice (although in the end I learned more from the instructions on the packet of tampons than I did from the nuns) . And of course, in between the lines, was the subtle side portion of shame and secrecy

So if this was the height of education on something that was so vital to us as girls, what kind of baloney were they teaching over at the boys school? Very little obviously, as I learn that men and boys seem to have a very vague grasp of what’s actually happening to nearly 4 billion people on the planet, every month.

If boys were really taught about periods, the world would be a different place. Let’s take a look at 5 reasons why we should be talking to our sons about menstruation, and why it’s going to make things a lot bloody better (pun very much intended. Thank you!)

Pssst, Do You Believe In Periods?

Are you sitting down? Good, now I don’t want to shock you but just about half the population of the entire world are period havers. It’s a thing. It’s massive but it’s weirdly invisible. If half the world suddenly started doing something, together, every month, consistently…  we’d all be talking about it. (Tide pods, anyone? The ice bucket challenge?) But strike up a chat about your period over family lunch? You’ll get very little in the way of good repartee.

We have to teach our sons what’s actually happening to women’s bodies. They need to know it’s not a disgusting, mysterious thing, it’s actually just a bit… normal and natural. Because if we don’t teach them, you know who will? Dodgy memes and porno websites, that’s who. And trust me, that’s not the teacher you’d like for your little ones. Boys need to understand how normal and necessary periods are so it can stop being taboo. And hey presto, half the planet becomes less invisible.

Periods Are A Pain In The Arse!

Periods are a pain in the arse. Well, vagina literally speaking, but what I mean is women are in pain! Our hormones are on a wild rampage and we have to navigate our day as bleeding crankensteins.

Listen, it’s at times like this that women need understanding, support, a wide berth, sanitary products. You may or may not be surprised to learn that periods are not a fun pass time.

As a woman I’m sick of a perfectly reasonable bad mood being blamed on my period. Then, when I actually AM suffering from my period I have to try to hide it at all costs… because it’s taboo.  

It’s just kind of basic that men should understand the hormonal situation of half the people around them. They shouldn’t be freaked out or misinformed about what’s happening to us every single month. Talk to your boys about periods and let them know what the heck is going on with half of the planet so they can grow up and start acting like men.

Periods – The New Going Out?

SO, periods are pretty awful. Women feel sick and hurt and we’re bleeding – and on top of this, not only do we have to PAY for sanitary products, but they are also taxed as a luxury item. A luxury ladies and gentlemen. A freakin luxury!

If the people making those decisions were even slightly informed about periods (and statistically speaking, the majority of people in power are men), they would never consider tampons and sanitary pads a luxury.

Boys need to be educated about periods because society need to change how periods are perceived. How periods are treated. Girls already know periods are not a luxury. Let’s let the boys in on the secret so we can start to move the needle on period poverty.

Period Shame Is Killing Us

Period shame kills women. Literally.

It can be easy to dismiss period stigma as a privileged thing that privileged feminists bang on about. But all around the world, it’s is destroying the lives of half the population.

In countries like the UK, about 140,000 girls missed school in 2017 because they couldn’t afford sanitary products and couldn’t risk going to school without them. In countries like China, India, Nepal and Kenya, girls can miss up to six weeks of school a year because of period stigma. How are they going to become grow up to become scientist and find a cure for cancer if they have to keep missing class?

Women and girls can be cut off from their communities during their period. Not allowed into the kitchen. Not allowed into places of worship. Not allowed to bathe in communal waters.  And in the worst cases they are banished to unprotected huts where their lives are literally in danger. Women and girls have died in these huts. Died. Alone. From snake bites , crushed in cyclones and suffocated to death from the smoke of the fire they lit to try to keep themselves warm in sub zero temperatures.

Teach your sons about periods so they understand that half the planet. Is. Not Dirty. That should be a good enough goal in itself. Teach them that periods are normal so they won’t tease menstruating girls. Help them develop a healthy approach to periods so their classmates can stay in school, get their book learning and grow up to become women who may save the world (or invent something really freakn’ funky)

Periods – Basic Human Stuff

A demystification of the feminine.

I’ve often heard women referred to as mysterious. Unknowable. Divine. But when we put women up on a pedestal like that, we’re really putting her on a pedestal shaped prison. She can’t get down. She’s separated from the rest of the ‘real’ humans and she’s excluded from what they’re doing.

Pedestals are NOT the new black

Women, it turns out, are actual human beings. (What??) The things that happen to our bodies are things that happen to human bodies. These things should be known.

Teach your sons how human bodies work. All human bodies, because it’s part of the biology of their actual own species! That knowledge, that demystification of the feminine will become a ladder for women to climb down of her pedestal and into the realm of the living. And then, oh la la, watch out world there’ll be no stopping us!

Period Utopia

So imagine a world where everyone is allowed to feel like they are clean. Imagine a world that isn’t held back by lack of talent because half the population regularly miss school. Try to picture a world where people don’t die because of perfectly safe and normal bodily functions. See in your minds eye a world where women and girls are seen and understood as actual himan beings. Teaching our sons about periods in a natural and healthy way, Isn’t just a small step, it’s one giant leap closer to creating that world.

And if you’re wondering how the heck to talk to boys about periods… I can help with that! Look out for my up coming post called “How to Talk to Boys About Periods”. (How very appropriate, right?)

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