As (hopefully) everyone knows, people who are born biologically female will likely eventually have a period. That's a thing. That's how the uterus works. Eggs get released, the uterine line thickens thinking "Oh boy! We're gonna have a baby!" and then the egg doesn't get fertilized so the uterus sheds the lining. It's actually not a huge deal, except for the fact that it can sometimes be painful, annoying, and somewhat messy. Big old whoop, right? A body doing what it's supposed to do.
So why do we treat it like it's secret and somehow shameful? I quizzed some of my biologically female friends* who are also members of the menstruation club and we came to the following conclusions:
- We have all been at work and needed either a pad or a tampon, tried to make said pad or tampon INVISIBLE upon retrieval and also attempted to tuck it away while walking to the bathroom.
- If you have pockets, hide it in the pocket as unobtrusively as possible. Try to look completely innocent while you're doing this by somehow making a face that says, "Why NO, I would NEVER have a tampon in my pocket. What a CRAZY notion!"
- If you do NOT have pockets, but have long sleeves, try to hide the tampon or pad in your sleeve by squinching your sleeve down over your hand and holding it there, again making the "NOPE, no tampon here" face.
- You could bring your purse to the bathroom with you, but that's pretty much the same as announcing "GUESS WHAT IT'S PERIOD TIME" and no one wants to do that.
- If your period is making a surprise visit (and isn't THAT fun), and you have to ask a coworker for a pad or tampon, you will WHISPER your request as quietly and ashamedly as possible.
- After using the restroom, dispose of your feminine hygiene product of choice in a ninja-esque style by trying to cover it up with paper towels or toilet paper, so no one can see the evidence of your non-crime.
- When you are in pain because of menstrual cramps, smile big and try to look pretty. If you cannot pretend that you are not in pain, and someone asks what's wrong, you should lie. Unless it's another period-having person, in which case you may quietly whisper what's wrong and then ask for a painkiller.
- You can never, ever, ever tell a non-period having person about your period, because they will then blame all of your emotions on it, as though that's the only reason you ever have emotions. This will make you want to stab them, which will also be blamed on your period and not on the fact that the person you stabbed was being an asshole.
We also came to the following consensus: this pisses us off.
Where does it come from? Is it a holdover from separating the boys from the girls and having the sex talk? Why can't the boys and the girls have that talk together, by the way? All separating everyone does is make bodies seem scary, when let's face it: biology is not scary. Biology CLASS was occasionally a bit frightening when it came to things like dissecting an eyeball, but actual human biology, aka your body's going to do some stuff and you need to deal? Not scary. JUST LIFE.
I'm not going to be ashamed because my body is doing something it's supposed to do. So while I'm not going to make a banner for my office announcing my period, I'm also not going to hide maxi pads in my sleeves anymore, either. It's simply ridiculous.
*I understand that this is an awkward phrase, but I want to separate biology from gender, which is different.