2022 is the year of periods, otherwise known as menstruation. This year, period-positive legislation is being passed and movies are being made. Periods are something that a little under half of the world population experiences, and yet there is a stigma to not even mention it. To pass even more period positive legislation, we must destigmatize it.
Everyone is connected to periods. Not to take us back to health class but most of us know how we were born (if you don’t, then I recommend talking to your doctor). Periods are a part of our lives. If you have a mom, a parent, a sister, a sibling, a friend, or even just exist, then you are a part of the period squad. So many of us have periods and some of us, like I used to, try to hide it in the shadows like a secret society.
I remember in 7th grade when my classmates and I first got our periods we would find creative ways to hide our menstrual products. We’d put them in our pencil cases or slide them into our sleeves—all in order to not be ashamed of our periods. But we shouldn’t have been ashamed. Maybe if menstruation was talked about then we wouldn’t have been hiding them like we were transferring secret documents within the society.
A way we can all become more empowered by periods is to encourage the media to portray menstruation correctly and be sex-positive, which will lead to parents having open conversations about their children’s bodies. Recently I watched Disney’s Pixar, Turning Red. In the film, we see a struggle between the relationship of a mother and daughter. The dynamic between these two characters is changing as the daughter is getting older and going through puberty which includes having a period. This is the first Disney Pixar movie to openly mention and show menstrual products.
Turning Red is a great example of a period of positive portrayal in the media. By watching this film, some children would feel comfortable asking their parents questions about their bodies, and parents shouldn’t discourage them. Yes, some children may not understand, but when the time comes for their first period they will remember the time they watched the movie explaining a little of this experience and how their parent was there for them in this special time.
Periods are a normal part of our lives. During recent legislative sessions, Utah lawmakers have passed the no period tax and free period products in schools. They can and should take further action on policies like to include all people in the language of menstruation and to teach students about sustainable menstrual products as this is intersectional with sustainability.
This year’s period power started out strong but we can all do our part to continue this. We are all a part of the period squad and we can work together toward a healthier attitude toward menstruation, whether that’s talking openly about them or asking lawmakers to support more period positive legislation.