Embracing Period Positivity: A Journey Towards Empowerment
Whilst menstruation is a natural process, it has long been a topic surrounded by stigma, shame, and misunderstanding. A rising movement known as period positivity is challenging these negative perceptions, aiming to create a world where menstruation is celebrated, normalised and discussed openly. By promoting education, awareness and destigmatisation, period positivity seeks to empower individuals and foster a more inclusive society.
In this blog, we will explore the significance of period positivity, its benefits, and how it can shape a brighter future for all.
Understanding the Menstrual Taboo
For centuries, menstruation has been associated with taboo and cultural misconceptions. It has often been regarded as dirty, unclean and something that should be hidden away. This perspective has perpetuated the silence surrounding menstruation and has hindered open conversations about reproductive health.
Impacts of Period Positivity
Period Positivity has a number or impacts:
- Breaking the silence: Period positivity strives to break the silence and encourage conversations about menstruation. By fostering open dialogues, it allows individuals to seek support, share experiences and learn from one another.
- Education and awareness: Promoting period positivity involves educating people about the biology of menstruation, debunking myths and disseminating accurate information. This knowledge empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.
- Challenging societal norms: The period positivity movement challenges societal norms that have led to period-shaming and exclusion. By questioning these norms, we can work towards a more inclusive and equal society.
- Empowerment and self-acceptance: Embracing period positivity can enhance self-esteem and empower individuals to embrace their bodies fully. It encourages people to view menstruation as a natural and beautiful aspect of their lives, rather than something to be ashamed of or hidden.
- Breaking down gender barriers: Period positivity recognizes that not only cisgender women menstruate but also transgender men, non-binary individuals, and intersex individuals. It promotes inclusivity by acknowledging and validating the experiences of all who menstruate.
How to Promote Period Positivity
Promoting Period Positivity can be done in numerous ways:
- Education in schools: Comprehensive menstrual education in schools is crucial to fostering period positivity. It equips young people with the knowledge and understanding they need to navigate menstruation confidently. Countries like Scotland and New Zealand have made significant strides in this area, ensuring free access to menstrual products and implementing comprehensive menstrual education in schools.
- Destigmatizing media portrayals: The media plays a vital role in shaping societal perceptions. Period positivity advocates for the portrayal of menstruation in a realistic and positive light. By featuring menstruation in movies, TV shows and advertisements without shame or embarrassment, we can normalize this natural bodily function.
- Accessible menstrual products: Period poverty, the inability to afford menstrual products, is a significant barrier to period positivity. Efforts must be made to ensure access to affordable or free menstrual products for all individuals, regardless of their socio-economic status.
- Promoting menstrual hygiene management: Adequate menstrual hygiene management is crucial for individuals' health and well-being. Period positivity initiatives focus on providing education and resources to ensure safe and hygienic practices during menstruation.
- Open conversations and support networks: Encouraging open conversations about menstruation and creating safe spaces for individuals to discuss their experiences is essential. Online communities, support groups and initiatives that connect individuals with shared experiences can provide comfort, advice and empowerment.
The period positivity movement is a powerful force for change. By promoting education, awareness, and destigmatisation, it challenges cultural norms, empowers individuals and fosters a more inclusive society.
Embracing period positivity means embracing self-acceptance, breaking down gender barriers, and working towards a future where menstruation is celebrated and normalised. We can all strive to create a world where menstruation is no longer a topic of shame but one of empowerment and pride.
- BBC News. (2021). Scotland becomes first country to make period products free. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-55155233
- New Zealand Government. (2020). Free period products in schools. Retrieved from https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/preventative-health-wellness/womens-health/free-period-products-schools
- >UNESCO. (2019). Puberty Education and Menstrual Hygiene Management. Retrieved from https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000367316
- Barreto-Medeiros, J. M., & Oliveira-Cardoso, E. A. (2019). Menstrual Hygiene Management: A Comparative Study of Menstrual Absorption Products and Menstrual Health Education in Colombia and Brazil. Frontiers in public health, 7, 30. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2019.00030
- Van der Spuy, Z. M., & Mavundla, T. R. (2018). Menstrual hygiene management and school absenteeism among adolescent learners in South Africa. South African Journal of Child Health, 12(4), 166-170. doi:10.7196/SAJCH.2018.v12i4.1503