KEEPING IT CLEAN: When searching for an image to suitably illustrate a column on menstruation, this ‘bed of roses’ i-theme popped up among the hot water bottle shots and women clutching their stomachs.
KEEPING IT CLEAN: When searching for an image to suitably illustrate a column on menstruation, this ‘bed of roses’ i-theme popped up among the hot water bottle shots and women clutching their stomachs. Olga Ekaterincheva

OPINION: lift the taboo on periods

ARE periods dinner table conversation? Not bloody likely (ho, ho, ho), but tired puns aside, it shouldn't be a topic completely ignored or sanitised to the point that the pre-pubescent or people with avoidance issues are led to believe women secrete some kind of blue liquid once a month.

Sure we don't need to see a bloodbath every time a tampon or sanitary pad is advertised but basic acknowledgement of such a bodily function, particularly one vital to the continuation of mankind, should rate a bit higher than poo when it comes to discussing healthy body functions.

The recent hoo-ha about posting some fairly innocuous images of a woman lying on a bed with a small red patch on the bed and her leggings where she slept was considered offensive by Instagram community standards. It was probably a knee-jerk reaction to an image that is confronting because of its taboo nature, a common female process that still seems to be enshrined with dirtiness and vulgarity.

But it's just a period. Women all over the world have them every day, since life began of course. Why is that still so shocking?

I have heard uttered, when the topic does come up occasionally, that many women, particularly the younger Gen-Y brigade, don't discuss the 'p' word with their boyfriends so develop some kind of sign language that translates to all bets are off in the intimacy department for the next few days rather than just come out and say 'I have my period.'

With it seemingly being such a difficult subject to broach, imagine trying to explain that intimacy comes in other shapes and forms, and menstruation doesn't necessarily mean you have to be a sexual leper, ho, ho, ho, not bloody likely.

Besides that tax they use to slug us privileged menstruators for buying period-orientated devices, the whole monthly affair could be thought of as a luxury worth celebrating. Not only does it ensure the human race continues, it also means a women's body is firing how it is supposed to be during those reproductive years. It functions as monthly cleansing when you aren't pregnant, and when you are provides the foundations for human life.

Poo on the other hand is just waste leftover from what you eat which you expel and flush down the toilet. Can't see the similarity personally but apparently that's what online commentators are levelling periods with.

Sure your aunties, rags, jam bunties or whatever historical or classy term you need to use to talk about it besides plain ol' periods, can be a pain for women (and men too ho, ho, ho) on several levels - from serious medical issues to planning a camping trip - none of us would be here without them.

While a red balloon period party once a month is hardly the kind of celebrating envisaged, perhaps just acknowledging words like menstruation or periods as part of your family or relationship banter will start to take the sting out of the tampon's tail and let another 'women's issue' start receiving the respect it deserves.

 



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