Men­stru­ation is a topic that affects all people world­wide, regard­less of cul­ture, reli­gion, soci­ety, coun­try or some­times gender. If half of the world’s pop­u­la­tion bleeds monthly, why does it often feel so lonely, uncom­fort­able or even embarrassing?

Men­stru­ation as a social taboo

The way we talk about men­stru­ation has a dir­ect influ­ence on how we as a soci­ety think about it. Men­stru­ation is seen as some­thing very private, intim­ate and per­sonal. There are rarely open dis­cus­sions about what peri­ods really mean for men­stru­at­ing people and their bod­ies. Because men­stru­ation is still socially a taboo, which brings shame with it. This leads us to learn to con­sciously hide men­stru­ation. How­ever, monthly bleed­ing is a nat­ural and bio­lo­gical pro­cess that rep­res­ents the ori­gin of all life and can there­fore be an expres­sion of fem­in­in­ity. If every men­stru­at­ing per­son bleeds for about 3000 days in their life, why isn’t it really talked about in the media or polit­ics then?

And some­times talk­ing is golden after all

We need to break the silence and start talk­ing inter­na­tion­ally and openly about men­stru­ation. We must stop per­ceiv­ing peri­ods as repuls­ive and accept it as what it really is: a nat­ural, reg­u­lar bio­lo­gical pro­cess that sym­bol­izes the health and fer­til­ity of a men­stru­at­ing per­son. In this con­text, social norms must be gently chal­lenged through edu­ca­tion so that men­stru­ation can find its place in the pub­lic and the men­stru­at­ing body is cel­eb­rated. We at Vul­vani want to raise and cel­eb­rate the voices of all. For us, the pur­suit of a more open approach to men­stru­ation goes hand in hand with the fight for equal rights and the par­ti­cip­a­tion of all in pub­lic debates.

Forms of social discrimination

Men­stru­at­ing people are still some­times socially dis­crim­in­ated against because of their monthly bleed­ing. Depend­ing on the coun­try and soci­ety in which they live, this can come in vari­ous forms, ran­ging from a taboo of silence to delib­er­ate exclu­sion from pub­lic life. Some chil­dren miss school because of their period and adults are not allowed to go to work. Reas­ons for this can be cul­tural beliefs towards men­strual blood as impure, lack of money for men­strual products or lack of san­it­ary facil­it­ies in pub­lic places. The monthly period thus leads to sys­tem­atic dis­crim­in­a­tion against men­stru­at­ing people world­wide. This can lead to people being denied basic human rights that are dir­ectly related to men­stru­ation. This includes, for example, the right to edu­ca­tion, health or san­it­a­tion. How­ever, female­ness and the related men­stru­ation can not stand between a men­stru­at­ing per­son and their rights and goals. Our goal at Vul­vani is that every per­son can exper­i­ence their men­stru­ation safely, with dig­nity and, above all, without shame or discrimination.

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Britta 
Co-Founder Vul­vani | britta@vulvani.com | Web­site | + posts

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.