Periods are a natural part of being female. And yet, a new poll has revealed that more than half of women feel embarrassed by them.
In a survey commissioned by feminine hygiene company Thinx, 58 percent of women admitted to feeling ashamed when they menstruate.
Researchers examined perceptions of periods in the US by polling 1,500 women and 500 men.
They found that 42 percent of female participants had experienced period-shaming. Most of the comments came from male friends and family members, according to reports.
Meanwhile, a further 73 percent of women confessed to hiding a sanitary product on their way to the bathroom. 29 percent of women have cancelled plans (such as exercising or swimming). This is because they want to avoid having to tell someone they are on their period.
An additional 70 percent said they have even asked a friend to walk behind them while on their period. This is to ensure the friend checks they haven’t leaked anywhere on their clothing.
Even some are uncomfortable using the word ‘vagina’
One in three women polled even admitted to being uncomfortable using the word “vagina”.
So, where is the stigma against something so innately tied to the female experience coming from?
Well, more than half of the men surveyed agreed that it would be inappropriate for female colleagues to openly mention periods in the office. 44 percent of men admitted to making jokes regarding a partner’s mood when they were on their period.
Evidently, there is still a social taboo attached to menstruation. Commenting on the findings, a spokesperson for Thinx said:
“Period-shame is something a lot of women feel, starting with their very first cycle, which can occur as young as eight years old.
“Those feelings of embarrassment and self-hate are then reinforced by society, which tells women that their bodies should be clean and tidy, and if they aren’t, well that’s not something to be openly and honestly discussed. By anyone.
“The culture surrounding menstruation must be changed, and it takes both women and men to make that happen.
“It starts with open, honest conversation, and continues with education that empowers women to feel aware of and comfortable with their bodies and flows.”