Even though you may not actually get a period yourself this does not mean you can go your whole life avoiding them completely. Our mothers, aunties, sisters, friends, and if you are lucky enough, girlfriend, all go though this time every month. Staying in the dark about periods creates the impression that they are shameful. They are not ‘gross’ or ‘dirty’. They are a natural part of being a woman.
Knowing about what the girls in your life go through every month will help you to understand why they are complaining about cramps and all the other side effects they’re feeling. It may even get you bonus points if you can offer some advice or even just lend an ear and listen to what they are going through.
We cannot tackle the taboo of menstruation with only half of the world involved in this fight.
The intentions for sending boys out of the classroom may be seemingly beneficial – giving girls privacy to freely talk about potentially embarrassing experiences – but this may actually be doing more harm than good. If boys are fully educated on the menstrual cycle, this may make girls feel less embarrassed to talk about it. Opening up the discussion will normalise this perfectly normal topic.
There are many common misconceptions about periods that would be eliminated if boys were not left out of the discussions. For example, “girls can’t go to the toilet when they have a tampon in”. Even with basic menstrual and female health education, this myth is easily disproved. If we stop sending boys out of the room every time periods are even briefly mentioned, this will stop menstruation, and girls in general, being an alien topic.
Knowing about a girl’s reproductive cycle can also help prevent any unwanted pregnancies. Understanding the menstrual cycle will help you to understand how contraception works. You can even remind your girlfriend to take her contraceptive pill on time. Furthermore, being fully educated will remove the embarrassment of you having to run to the shops to pick up sanitary pads for your girlfriend or any other woman in your life.
On the flip side, when the time comes and you want to start a family, a comprehensive knowledge on the menstrual cycle will benefit you. Knowing about the menstrual cycle will help you and your partner determine when she is most fertile. This can help guide you in your quest to start a family, on your own terms, when you are financially and emotionally ready for this commitment.
Boys, I encourage you not to shy away from the topic of periods. Together we can remove the unnecessary embarrassment we face when the dreaded word ‘period’ is mentioned. Menstruation is not a topic only for girls.
Let us end the menstruation taboo together!