One day I was scrolling through the pages of gossip website and they posted an article about Kiran Gandhi, a Harvard Business School graduate, who completed a marathon in London without wearing a tampon.She wrote on her personal website that she did it for women who did not have access to tampons and for those hiding their painful cramps. She runs to say it does exist and we can overcome it everyday. She says her completion of the marathon will “transcend oppression”. Gandhi wants to end the stigma of menstrual periods.
After I finished reading the article I felt spent. I’m so sick and tired of feminist and women missing the mark on their missions to end oppression. First off, let me start by saying periods no longer hold the huge stigma they once held (in the US). Men are not locking women away in dark rooms for several days because they think their crops will sour because of menstruation. As a cashier I see men of all ages and backgrounds buying tampons, maxi pads and Midol for their wives, mothers, girlfriends, sisters and daughters all the time. (I remember my little brother carrying me upstairs because my menstrual cramps were so bad.) I even had a man ask me if tampon came in sizes for young adults. I had to laugh because not only of his ignorance but because he was at least trying. Very few people are disgusted by periods. (I remember one of my young male co workers said eww when I told my manager I had cramps and needed to leave work. I wanted to turn around and tell him that I could tell he’s never had sex before based off his expression.Grown men don’t use immature expressions to voice their opinions about menstrual cramps.)
Before this article I had read months ago that women were free bleeding and posting pictures on Instagram. What these idiots don’t understand is they are close to committing crimes if they are out in public. (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND THE BREAKFAST SIMMERING IN YOUR STOMACH FROM THIS MORNING DO NOT GOOGLE FREE BLEEDING IN PUBLIC!) Menstruation involves bodily fluids. In some states bodily fluids can be used as a weapon of assault and you can go to jail if you are HIV positive and don’t notify your sexual partner(s) of your health status. This is considered a form of assault. (I’m not accusing these free bleeders of having HIV but I do not want to come in contact with some other human being’s bodily fluids!)
As a woman who has painful periods I will say I’m not ashamed or ever have felt ashamed by society or men because of it. Maxipads and tampons are not tools of oppression made by men to shame or silence us. Our periods are a natural bodily function that expels bodily fluids. When a human expels bodily fluids of any kind they need to clean and sanitized for our health (we need to keep genital area clean with less moisture) and the general public’s health (people do not need to be exposed to others bodily fluids because of disease).
I read an additional article on Kiran Gandhi and her background. Being from India, women are still considered unclean when on their periods. I get that women in other countries are shamed because of menstruation BUT free bleeding is not going to help the cause.
You can end period stigma not by free bleeding or by posting pictures of your used tampons on Instagram or by making art with your period blood but by starting programs in schools and community centers that will discuss menstruation and male puberty in a healthy manner that will break stigmas and shame.
Also what really saddens me is most of these instagram feminist who free bleed are college educated and should know basic health and sanitation by now. It’s great you want to take the stigma out of menstruation but you can do it without become a health hazard to the general public.