Why Our Current Perception Of Menstruation Is Detrimental
I got my first period at Wet & Wild. Yep. The first time I ever experienced this was at a freaking water park, which also means that I had to use a tampon STRAIGHT OFF THE BAT. I was nearly thirteen at the time and still wearing a purity ring (my Mum was going through a ‘Baptist’ stage).
The only relationships I’d ever been in were with some kid I chased around and wrote love letters to in preschool, so I think we can safely assume that my hymen was still very much intact and the thought of putting anything ‘up there’ was nightmare inducing.
I should also mention that I was at Wet & Wild for a birthday party. So I didn’t even have my Mother to coach me through the whole ‘inserting a tampon’ thing.
No. I had about three friends standing outside the cubicle telling me what their big sister had told them about tampons along with some instructions from the box. I also had to borrow the tampon off my friend’s mother. Who had four children. And OBVIOUSLY didn’t use mini-tampons. So not only was my vagina experiencing something entering it for the first time, it was experiencing what can only be described as the opposite of childbirth. I spent about 4 hours of the birthday party trying to insert the damn thing and the rest of it crying to my Mum on a Nokia 360.
Although it’s a funny story it wasn’t exactly the introduction to womanhood that I was expecting. The whole scenario was about making the problem go away. And I continued to carry that attitude about my period with me until only recently. We’ve grown up in a world where menstruating is shameful and embarrassing. We spend our school days hoping to every God available that we wouldn’t get blood on our dress. We would hide our tampons in our pockets when going to the bathroom because it was equally as humiliating if anyone knew that we were menstruating. Boys would make comments about girls “having their rags” as though it was some dirty, disgusting spreadable disease. We were put on the pill the instant any hormonal problem arose. We were put on the pill if our period was going to be an inconvenience to us (I went on the pill so I wouldn’t get my period on school camp). We were put on the pill when we started having sex because, you know, it’s OUR responsibility.
We were told over and over and over again by these actions that our periods were BAD. That being a woman was bad. That any ‘woman issue’ we were experiencing was our own damn problem that we had to suffer with in silence. I never even questioned it! Most of us don’t EVER question it! We continue to beg doctors to give us ANYTHING that will stop it from happening. We take pills and insert foreign objects that deny our bodies from doing the most natural thing in the world. The THING that literally gives us the ability to create life.
It's about time that we start recognising menstruation for the beautiful, powerful experience that it is. Imagine raising boys and girls who celebrate periods? Imagine a generation of young men who worship and support the beauty that is menstruation. Young women who have don’t have to be ashamed of their bodies! That sounds like the kind of world that I want my daughter to grow up in.
I had the pleasure of talking to the beautiful Emma Nevison, a woman passionate about creating change around our perceptions of menstruation. In our chat she talks about our cycles relationship with the moon and how much we can learn about ourselves by learning about our cycles. I learnt so much during our conversation and I guarantee you will too! LISTEN TO IT NOW! And check Emma out (and purchase her Moonstration Calender) on Instagram at @emmanevison. PLUS don’t forget to rate, review and subscribe to the Please, Ask Mikki podcast (because I’ve got my 10 year school reunion this year and I plan on turning up with an obnoxious attitude and my middle fingers in the air).