Rebuked by Blood

Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels
Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels, a 1452 Renaissance painting of Madonna by Jean Fouquet
The TRP Editorial Team

The TRP Editorial Team

This isn’t just a revolution. This isn’t just a rebellion. It's a renaissance.

The stigma that surrounds menstruation is not a new phenomenon. It is a result of social conditioning. The shame associated with periods is so ingrained in our culture that there are even myths about how women should feel during their period: they should be irritable, emotional, and moody.

 

Some of these myths have been perpetuated by society through television and film. They portray the female lead as being less capable of reasoning or rational thought while they’re on their period – reinforcing the idea that all women are less capable when they’re on their period.

 

“Have you heard this one: a woman will never be President of the United States because one week a month you’d be worried about her finger on the nuke button.” – an actual joke told to TRP staff

 

The shame can be seen in the way we talk about periods, the way we are taught about periods, and the way people react when they find out someone is on their period.

 

The idea that periods are shameful, dirty, and gross is a societal construct that has been ingrained in us from the time we were children. It is something that has been around for centuries, and it has only recently begun to be discussed more openly and honestly in the media.

 

One of the most notable figures who have been vocal about menstruation is Jameela Jamil. Jameela is a British actress and television presenter. She is best known for her role as Tahani Al-Jamil in the American sitcom “The Good Place”. In 2015, she launched a campaign called ‘I Weigh’ to encourage people to focus on their achievements rather than their physical appearance.

 

She has also been vocal about the stigma around periods and menstruation, often speaking out against it on her social media accounts. In her public role, she has been unafraid to speak openly about her own experiences with periods and how they affect her day-to-day life.

 

She is currently a supporter of The Menstrual Equity For All Act, in the US, where the act would ensure that free period products are supplied in all schools. 

 

Another voice that has risen recently is that of the singer, Ashley Frangipane, also known as Halsey. Halsey has often detailed their experiences living with endometriosis.

 

In the Spring of 2022, they almost quit performing in the industry to prioritise their health, according to their Instagram Story. One can only imagine how as their pain made it incredibly hard to function – physically and mentally.

 

For example, Halsey has had to attend the Grammy’s days after having endometrial surgery, not once, but twice — in 2017 and 2022. They have also had to deal with the pressures from those in the industry who can NOT empathise with these experiences but still expect them to be “switched on” consistently. 

 

There is even shame felt amongst athletes who bleed while performing. In June 2022, Wimbledon still requires its female competitors to wear all white during tournament play.

 

For those that are quite active, this could be an opportunity for a visible mishap according to a feature from Anna Prendergrast of Glamour Magazine, “Wimbledon’s outdated dress code is putting menstruating athletes at a disadvantage”. 

 

While these celebrity experiences are not exactly that of the average population, their voices have elevated the conversations in the halls of government and in corporate environments, and ultimately in public opinion.

 

It is now high time for the collective population to speak up and out about their experiences so we can find inclusive ways to eradicate systemic, toxic behaviours. These conversations should not only include those who bleed but of those who need to gain understanding in menstrual health.

 

The discourse could lead to better lifestyles, the increase in the productivity of less-than favourable social economic environments such as education and entrepreneurship, and many other agendas.

 

More on this topic to come but while we wait, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Post a comment and let’s chat!

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