EWWWWWW! You have a PERIOD?!?!!?!? Oh wait…. All Females Do… The One Equality We Share is an Embarassment? WHY!!!!

This article discusses the humility and shame that women carry about mestruation. I have also carried embarassment regarding this issue. My mom was humiliated by it and didn’t want to discuss it with me much probably because of the shame her mother carried, and her mother, and her mother. So when I first started my period I kept it a secret for a whole day and was tormented with the idea of telling my Mom. When i finally told her i pretended to have a migraine so I could just hide in my room alone instead of having to face her. And then, I didn’t want to go to a family function for months in fear that she had told everyone! However, because of the secrecy, my friends and I were always deeply intrigued and wanting to talk about it and learn about it, while still carrying embarassment of never wanting to say when it was actually happening to one of us. A friend of mine kept it a secret for months and would have us bring her feminine products to school. For years I would stay in the car if i knew my mom was going to purchase anything related to the subject. And still at the store, I play it cool but inside I am embarassed that I am buying tampons. WHY IS THIS?! Menstruation is the one and only experience that every woman on earth has experienced. This is probably one of the only things that we SHOULDN’T be embarassed about considering it is one of the only things that we are all equal in. Every woman menstruates, and it is not by choice or something we can control, and every man knows that every woman does. I just don’t understand why this is so humiliating for a majority of females.
Also, the article discussed humiliation regarding breastfeeding. People see it as sexual and gross and try to keep it as under-cover as possible. Most children have never even seen a woman they know well breastfeeding so when they are introduced to the idea they are totally freaked out. I had never seen anyone breastfeeding or heard it discussed in my family so when I was pregnant I was so nervous about the idea. When my daughter was born you are supposed to breastfeed them as soon after birth as possible, within the first hour. I tried to ignore the idea as much as possible and about 6 hours after she was born a nurse told me, “She needs to be fed! She is starving!” I was so grossed out and embarassed about the fact that i was putting my boob in a litle babys mouth!!! Are you serious?! Why is that gross? That I was feeding my baby?! There was nothing sexual about it, but society had conformed my mind to be so disturbed by the idea. I continued nursing my baby for the first year and it didn’t take me long to have no shame when it came time to feed! I would feed her anywhere in front of anyone, just as anyone would do if they were bottle-feeding. And many people around me got comfortable with breastfeeding as soon as they were finally exposed to the non-sexuality and grossness of it. I now lead a group at my church for unwed pregnant girls and a good 95% of them never attempt to breastfeed their babies because they are under the impression that it is gross or embarassing. I do think that there are certain situations in public where you obviously shouldn’t just whip your bare boob out, but if done respectfully there is nothing weird about it.
Why is our society so grossed out and humiliated about things that are so completely natural and beyond our control? This article was really eye-opening for me about how we are trained to be turned-off by these completely normal things.

Posted on June 9, 2011, in Gender, the Body, and the Self. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I am totally with you on the embarrassment of having a period. I remember being in the fifth grade and my mother one night was flipping through the grocery store ads, and pointed to the pads. Then she asked me “do you need any of these?”. My mother later shared with me the embarrassment she used to feel when her mother would announce to the whole store that she needed feminine care products. My mother swore she would never do this to her daughter, likely story right? My mother actually embarrassed the ever loving mess out of me every time I needed pads. Will I probably follow the trend and put my daughter in such an awkward situation?

  2. I understand the embarrassment, as well. It wasn’t until college that I even felt slightly comfortable purchasing tampons, and that was only because I had to do it!I was once shopping with a friend that needed to purchase some, and she decided to put them back on the shelf when she realized all the cashiers working were male. I agree that it is ridiculous that we are made to feel ashamed of something completely natural! I’m also glad you addressed the issue of breastfeeding in public. Why is it okay for attention to be drawn to breasts in the media, but it is considered taboo to use them for their intended purpose in public?

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