So. In this post I’m talking about the stigma on periods. Because I think the way society looks at it as absolutely repulsive is very unhealthy and unnecessary. Before clicking away because thinking and reading about the menstrual cycle makes you uncomfortable, please reconsider and hear me out first. Or not, stay ignorant, that’s also fine.
In this post I’m talking openly about blood and sexual organs. If these subjects make you feel uncomfortable, I’d recommend you to click away.
PERIODS ARE NORMAL AND SHOULD BE PERCEIVED AS NORMAL
If you are born with a vagina, there’s a big chance you have experienced your period. Unless of course you haven’t reached puberty yet (in that case, what the hell are you doing on my website, this isn’t the place for you, please click away), or you have a medical reason, maybe you aren’t fertile (anymore). But I think most cisgender women and transgender people who’re medically born female, know the struggle. Periods are not fun, you feel sore, more sensitive, experience pains everywhere, and it’s just fucking inconvenient. AND THE DAMN CRAMPS THOOOO. It all just sucks, but on top of all that, we’re also shamed for it.
Aside from the afore mentioned struggles, we also feel constantly worried that we might have created a stain somewhere, we smell weird, people “know”, and so on. But why are we so embarrassed about something so natural? Menstruation shouldn’t have to be a traumatic or shameful event. But it’s what society, through negative messages about women’s cycles and grossed-out responses to any mention of menses, tells us to feel.
To be honest, it’s mostly cis men who are grossed out by periods, because almost everyone else has actually experienced and dealt with it. But when you think about it, that’s kind of strange. Menstruation is a sign of fertility. Usually things that show a woman is fertile is a turn on for men, because that’s just how evolution works. Boobs for example show that a woman is capable of nursing a child, which is why a lot of men are attracted to bigger breasts. So why on earth is the sight of a bloody vagina not stirring up the average men’s sexual lust?
I was having a drink last Friday night with a housemate and her friend, and I mentioned that I once went down on a girl while she was bleeding down there. I got a few rather disgusted looks, but they didn’t really care because you know, that’s not the weirdest sexual situation I’ve ever found myself in. Yes it was bloody, and yes the entire bottom half of my face looked like I put my face into a giant bowl of spaghetti bolognese. But it wasn’t that bad. It’s just slightly thicker blood. And even though blood usually makes me feel sick, because it occurs so naturally, it didn’t make me feel squeamish at all.
A lot of women go down on men every once in a while, and are often expected to “swallow”. Does semen taste nice? No. But often we find our sex partner’s pleasure more important than just a bad taste on our tongue. But I bet that if you then ask that same guy you just gave oral pleasure to, to go down on you while menstruating, his ass is gonna be either really disgusted or come up with a bullshit excuse. “It’s not the same” uuh yes it is.
Of course, maybe as a biological woman you’d feel uncomfortable with anyone coming near you when you menstruate. But why is that? Probably because society makes you feel ashamed for it. Not because you’re simply not in the mood, because often time the hormones released in those few days make you feel, well, MORE into it.
Instagram recently censored artist Rupi Kaur for posting a picture of herself in bed with a period stain. According to Rupi, Instagram deleted the photo TWICE because it didn’t follow the site’s community standards. Of course Instagram is known for it’s indirect misogyny, since they also don’t allow photos of women’s nipples, while men’s nipples are perfectly okay to share on the platform. Instagram allows people to share highly sexual pictures. I myself share quite sexual pictures. The company’s decision to censor an image of period blood sends the message that women’s bodies are acceptable, but only if they’re sexually desirable. That hypocrisy is reflected in the many men I’ve known who will gladly watch violent movies or play homicidal video games yet are disgusted by the idea of menstruation.
But nearly every woman I know has had a menstrual mishap, an accident at school or at work. Most of us have been stranded in public with no tampons or sanitary napkins. These accidents are unpleasant and inconvenient, but why can’t we simply accept them as we would, say, spilling coffee on our pants? To fully respect women, we must stop perceiving menstruation as repulsive and embrace it as a natural process.