Some cultures treat periods with the utmost respect. Aristocratic women of the Yurok tribe treat their periods as a time of heightened spirituality. In some parts of Ghana, girls who start menstruating are celebrated and treated like queens. In some parts of Gottlieb, menstruation is likened to a flower of a tree that is needed for the tree to fruit.
So if these cultures can treat periods this way, why does our society still treat our monthly visitor with secrecy and shame? While our generation has come far in promoting women’s rights, cultural misconceptions die hard. Keeping periods a taboo topic doesn’t help create a period-friendly society either.
If there’s one thing society owes women, it is to start a healthy conversation about periods. And since you’re reading this, let’s start now by talking about some uncommon things you should know about your period:
“All women are moody and emotional during their periods” is a myth.
The menstrual cycle is hormonally driven and has different side effects for every woman. Some experience moodiness, others do not. So, the next time you find yourself in a situation where you speak your mind and someone invalidates your thoughts simply because they think you're on your period, just speak up and stand your ground like the girl boss that you are.
Women experience PMS in a range—from severe to mild to feeling completely unbothered by it.
So if someone describes her period as “debilitating,” people shouldn't assume that they're just being OA. In fact, about 3% to 9% of women experience Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a severe form of PMS. Its symptoms, which include depression and anxiety, are serious enough to require medical attention.
Your period does not limit your capabilities or ability to hold leadership roles.
Some companies prefer hiring men or placing them in leadership roles because of misconceptions about women and menstruation. Women are seen as emotional, moody, and sensitive—traits that aren't deemed "ideal" for a leader, but as society evolves, more and more companies are starting to see that women aren't just emotional and sensitive—they're simply empathic and passionate, which are traits that make a great leader. More and more powerful women are rising up the ranks and breaking glass barriers, which means that while the work system is designed for male bodies, women are beginning to take up space by showing that while we do bleed once a month, we can kick ass at work, too. We don't let our periods get in the way!
So, it's about time more and more companies should take some steps to make the workplace more period-friendly. For example, a start-up company based in Sweden is the first business in the country to be certified period-friendly. Some steps they're taking include inviting all their employees to attend discussions and workshops about the effects of menstruation, providing free sanitary products, having flexible work setups so employees can decide where and when they work, and getting lighter workloads during that time of the month.
Periods should be discussed publicly.
Silence about periods leads to ignorance and neglect—even at the policy level! This leaves you vulnerable to period discrimination in your personal, professional, and social lives. If you want to help create a period-friendly society, let’s stop the silence and get the conversations flowing. Begin talking about it in your household, then to your friends, then in the office. The time is ripe for normalizing conversations about menstruation.
“Periods are a women’s issue only” is a misconception.
Men and boys should be part of conversations about gender equality and promoting healthy attitudes to eliminate social stigmas attached to our periods. After all, menstrual health issues are human rights issues, which means it is of importance to society as a whole.
One way to amp up the conversation about menstruation is by taking it to the workplace. Talk to your boss about it and plan out initiatives for period awareness that can be done weekly or monthly. If you're the boss, you could spearhead these initiatives and educate everyone in your team why menstruation isn't just a women's issue. The fact of the matter is that the misinformation and discrimination against women experience just because they menstruate can negatively impact progress productivity. It's time to squash the stigma around menstruation to promote a good working environment for both men and women. Besides, you can't spell the word menstruation without "men."
Period blood is not “dirty,” “toxic,” or “impure.”
Period blood contains iron, blood, some bacteria, and tissues, but it is just as clean as venous blood. So why do you need to practice “proper menstrual hygiene” during your period?
Your vagina has a specific pH balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria. During your red days, your vaginal region can become more exposed to bacteria because the prolonged moisture and friction from your napkin are favorable to its growth. If your pH balance gets thrown off, infections can happen.
This is why feminine hygiene products that understand red days can help. Case in point: GynePro Ultra Protection feminine wash is designed to help empower women and give them the confidence to conquer red days. It offers Tri-Power protection against red-day bacteria that cause odor, itch, and irritation. It's also formulated with Chlorhexidine digluconate which aids in amping up its bacteria-killing abilities that help you stay protected and help keep you feeling free from red-day vulnerabilities so you can feel unstoppable and confident.
If you want to join a no-holds-barred conversation about menstruation and learn more about menstrual health, mark your calendars for GynePro's Facebook live event happening on May 27!
For more information and updates, follow GynePro on Facebook.
Original article can be found on Cosmolitan Philippines.
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