Men­stru­a­tion, social taboos and discrimination

by Britta
Menstruation, gesellschaftliche Tabus, Diskriminierung, Menstruationstabu, soziales Tabu, Periodentabu, Menstruation, social taboos, discrimination, menstrual taboo, social taboo, period taboo, Vulvani

Men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion is a topic that affects all peo¬≠ple world¬≠wide, regard¬≠less of cul¬≠ture, reli¬≠gion, soci¬≠ety, coun¬≠try or some¬≠times gen¬≠der. If half of the world‚Äôs pop¬≠u¬≠la¬≠tion bleeds monthly, why does it often feel so lonely, uncom¬≠fort¬≠able or even embar¬≠rass¬≠ing? Why is there still a men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion taboo in our soci¬≠ety?

The Men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion taboo

The way we talk about men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion has a direct influ¬≠ence on how we as a soci¬≠ety think about it. Men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion is seen as some¬≠thing very pri¬≠vate, inti¬≠mate and per¬≠sonal. There are rarely open dis¬≠cus¬≠sions about what peri¬≠ods really mean for men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing peo¬≠ple and their bod¬≠ies. Because men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion is still socially a taboo, which brings shame with it. This leads us to learn to con¬≠sciously hide men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion. How¬≠ever, monthly bleed¬≠ing is a nat¬≠ural and bio¬≠log¬≠i¬≠cal process that rep¬≠re¬≠sents the ori¬≠gin of all life and can there¬≠fore be an expres¬≠sion of fem¬≠i¬≠nin¬≠ity. If every men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing per¬≠son bleeds for about 3000 days in their life, why isn‚Äôt it really talked about in the media or pol¬≠i¬≠tics then?

And some¬≠times talk¬≠ing is golden after all

We need to break the silence and start talk¬≠ing inter¬≠na¬≠tion¬≠ally and openly about men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion. We must stop per¬≠ceiv¬≠ing peri¬≠ods as repul¬≠sive and accept it as what it really is: a nat¬≠ural, reg¬≠u¬≠lar bio¬≠log¬≠i¬≠cal process that sym¬≠bol¬≠izes the health and fer¬≠til¬≠ity of a men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing per¬≠son. In this con¬≠text, social norms must be gen¬≠tly chal¬≠lenged through edu¬≠ca¬≠tion so that men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion can find its place in the pub¬≠lic and the men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing body is cel¬≠e¬≠brated. We at Vul¬≠vani want to raise and cel¬≠e¬≠brate the voices of all. For us, the pur¬≠suit of a more open approach to men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion goes hand in hand with the fight for equal rights and the par¬≠tic¬≠i¬≠pa¬≠tion of all in pub¬≠lic debates.

Forms of social discrimination

Men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing peo¬≠ple are still some¬≠times socially dis¬≠crim¬≠i¬≠nated against because of their monthly bleed¬≠ing. Depend¬≠ing on the coun¬≠try and soci¬≠ety in which they live, this can come in var¬≠i¬≠ous forms, rang¬≠ing from a taboo of silence to delib¬≠er¬≠ate exclu¬≠sion from pub¬≠lic life. Some chil¬≠dren miss school because of their period and adults are not allowed to go to work. Rea¬≠sons for this can be cul¬≠tural beliefs towards men¬≠strual blood as impure, lack of money for men¬≠strual prod¬≠ucts or lack of san¬≠i¬≠tary facil¬≠i¬≠ties in pub¬≠lic places. The monthly period thus leads to sys¬≠tem¬≠atic dis¬≠crim¬≠i¬≠na¬≠tion against men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing peo¬≠ple world¬≠wide. This can lead to peo¬≠ple being denied basic human rights that are directly related to men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion. This includes, for exam¬≠ple, the right to edu¬≠ca¬≠tion, health or san¬≠i¬≠ta¬≠tion. How¬≠ever, female¬≠ness and the related men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion can not stand between a men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing per¬≠son and their rights and goals.

What can you per­son­ally do for the break­ing men­stru­a­tion taboos?

  1. Talk openly about your period! You don‚Äôt have to be embar¬≠rassed to talk about men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion and by encour¬≠ag¬≠ing oth¬≠ers to do the same, you are actively help¬≠ing to fight the old taboo.
  2. Help oth¬≠ers see peri¬≠ods in a more diverse way! To ensure that the period taboo has no place in the next gen¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tion, you can help include all men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing peo¬≠ple in the period dis¬≠cus¬≠sion. Because: Not all men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing peo¬≠ple are women and not every man has no uterus! There¬≠fore, be open-minded and ensure more diver¬≠sity ( all other areas too, of course ūüôā ).
  3. Self-care dur¬≠ing your period is impor¬≠tant! Not feel¬≠ing well, but have a date with friends? Your well-being is impor¬≠tant and should not be put on the back burner! Don‚Äôt be afraid and explain your feel¬≠ings to your friends. Maybe a date on a dif¬≠fer¬≠ent day will suit you?
  4. Edu¬≠cate oth¬≠ers about your period! Put an end to the taboo! You can talk openly about your period! Many peo¬≠ple don‚Äôt know much about men¬≠stru¬≠at¬≠ing bod¬≠ies and their processes. So don‚Äôt be shy if you hear or read some¬≠thing wrong, and edu¬≠cate them!

Don‚Äôt know how to talk openly about peri¬≠ods and edu¬≠cate oth¬≠ers? Check it out here:

For tons of Reels and Tik­Tok videos, as well as tips and tricks for your period, men­strual health, and cool facts about men­stru­a­tion, fol­low our Insta­gram and Tik­Tok channel!


Our vision at Vul­vani: break­ing social taboos

Our goal at Vul¬≠vani is that every per¬≠son can expe¬≠ri¬≠ence their men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion safely, with dig¬≠nity and, above all, with¬≠out shame or dis¬≠crim¬≠i¬≠na¬≠tion. Through Vul¬≠vani, we want to break down prej¬≠u¬≠dices about men¬≠stru¬≠a¬≠tion through edu¬≠ca¬≠tion, pro¬≠mote social exchange about the topic in the long term, and thus make our con¬≠tri¬≠bu¬≠tion to a fairer world. We are not afraid to openly express sup¬≠posed social taboos. Our goal is the removal of taboos by nor¬≠mal¬≠iz¬≠ing the period. We hope that Vul¬≠vani will become an exam¬≠ple of how we can break social taboos.

Published at 26. November 2021
Britta Wiebe is the co-founder of Vulvani. She loves researching, writing and designing new articles or innovative educational concepts about menstruation all day long. When she is not travelling the world, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones in the beautiful city of Hamburg in Germany. Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

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