Yesterday I had to mediate a disagreement between two parties.
Various companies send promotional products to the college campuses. On my campus, in a co-ed dormitory was a box of sanitary napkin holders in cute and colorful purses. On immediate glance, one would not know what the packages were, as I witnessed when a male student grabbed one, ripped it open and then tossed it back into the box. One student in particular, a male, was offended by the display and asked that the items be removed. A female resident argued with him about how those items are sold in stores and should be permitted in the dormitory. And so they went, back and forth. The argument escalated, verbal assaults were made and thus they landed in my office.
We were able to come to an understanding and both parties apologized for their behavior. But the issue troubled me on a deeper level.
Having a menstrual cycle is just as natural as shaving (there are currently shaving kits for the male residents). Why is there such a stigma on feminine products? And not just with our menses-free counterparts. It was years after getting my cycle that I first purchased “items” for myself. I was embarrassed every time I had to go in the store with my mother to make the monthly investment. It was the last thing we would place in the cart and I would try to cover them with other groceries. When we got to the checkout counter I would bury my face into a magazine and avoid eye contact thinking everyone was staring at me because my Aunt Flo was in town.
Why is being on the rag so taboo? Without it no one would even exist. It’s the myth that it’s some dark and scary secret that keeps women in this shrunken state. I can remember a time being horrified that my ten month old had pulled a tampon out of my purse and began teething on it. Mind you, we were in church and sitting toward the front but so what, I needed it and I would have been far more humiliated had I not had one (flashback to riding the bus home with two jackets and a book bag covering my red rear).
It’s time we unveil the mystery because when we do, men and women alike can become more comfortable with the idea that we have a concurring issue of sanguine fluid that is accompanied by additional physical and psychological complications. I get a period. I get emotional. I get bloated. I get hormonal which brings on constipation and…you get the idea. Now get over it.
Women, wave your tampons! Flaunt your pads! Embrace your weapons of mass protection.
We are bleeding!
We are crying!
We are menstruating!
And in four days, we will be fine.