It is common knowledge that periods have been haunted by stigma throughout history, even in recent times. This stigma refers to the negative perception some have of menstruation and individuals who menstruate, with some perceptions even going as far as to think of periods as abnormal. After all, women and girls are sometimes connected with views of being physically unfit, unclean, and irritable. Global problems like this need to be tackled head-on to address issues like gender inequality and even human rights.
Indeed, the stigma surrounding menstruation is negatively impacting women and girls.In this article, we’ll discuss how this stigma affects individuals who menstruate on a global scale and how the younger generation is trying to de-stigmatize and de-gender conservations surrounding this hot topic.
How Is This Stigma Affecting Those During Their Period?
The common stigma associated with menstruation and those who menstruate have led to a series of unfortunate impacts. For example, women and girls are sometimes made to feel excluded from the public, with the belief that they may be unpleasant to other individuals during their menstruation cycle due to the stereotype that they would be irritable. This has led some to feel trapped in their homes, skipping work and school to avoid others.
This links to period stigma’s adverse impact on girls’ education. Many school days have been missed due to menstruation, which disrupts the flow of their everyday routine and hinders their education. This could even reduce their chances of employment further down the line if they perform poorly due to their attendance. This stigma has fuelled period poverty by holding back girls’ life opportunities.
The Younger Generation Is Stamping Out The Stigma
With so many negative impacts surrounding the stigma of periods, it’s unsurprising that the younger generation has stepped up to the responsibility of de-stigmatizing  and de-genderizing conversations around menstruation.
By being educated by increasing programmes in schools and colleges, the younger generations have gained more awareness of the stigma surrounding periods than older generations, and have learned that it is okay to openly talk about the subject.
Nowadays, the menstrual cycle is being discussed by both girls and boys from a young age.
Education has even inspired some to start enlightening others. Education can assist in de-stigmatizing menstruation by showing nothing is embarrassing about talking about such topics. Normalizing these conversations can help shape the attitudes and perceptions of others, which can have a domino effect when done on a large scale. Schools and colleges’ action of supplying free period products in female bathrooms has also raised awareness further where education is concerned.
School isn’t the only place where younger generations can spread the word about periods and tackle the stigma surrounding them. As our age becomes increasingly digital, social media platforms have emerged as instrumental outlets for raising awareness of menstruation and period poverty. They can even spread period positivity. This could include prompting a network to join the conversation about periods or sharing information about menstrual health. This means that normalizing period talk doesn’t just have to happen in person—it can occur online too, with the ability to reach the masses.
Some individuals have even gone further and advocated for policy change regarding menstruation. More and more young people are getting involved on a bigger scale, protesting for governments to reduce taxes on period products, raising further awareness of period poverty as a global issue, and encouraging educational bodies to provide higher-quality menstrual health education. Some campaigns gain enough momentum to attract the media, leading to even greater exposure, interest, and even action from the government.
- The stigma surrounding periods has existed for too long. With greater awareness generated by the younger generations, we can help promote better policies and attitudes concerning menstruation.
- There are various ways in which individuals are starting to de-stigmatize menstruation, but more effort is needed to ensure all negative impacts of this stigma are eradicated.
- Period poverty and the stigma surrounding periods is still a vast human rights issue that can impact people’s perceptions of those who menstruate. Together, we have a social responsibility to start normalizing periods and tackle this issue head-on!