Normalising the Conversation About Periods

For something that affects basically half of the population every month, it is quite ridiculous that menstruation and periods still have a massive stigma attached.

Hidden at work, not discussed at home, hushed up at school, never seen in public – the 24/7 period cover up.

  • 3 in 4 women say there is a stigma attached to having a period
  • 9 in 10 women hide their period
  • Libra is working with Shameless to break down period taboos

We don’t talk about it

Melbourne, 19 August 2019: New research launched today from leading feminine care brand, Libra, reveals that periods are a topic hushed up and hidden at every level of society – on a scale that transcends any other topic, let alone something that affects 50% of the population.

Alarmingly, 3 in 4 New Zealand women say there is a stigma attached to having a period, with periods listed as more of a taboo than drugs, sex, STDs and mental health problems.

The survey went on to uncover how period taboos are having a concerning effect on behaviour. A staggering 9 in 10 women will go to great lengths to hide their periods, with women avoiding swimming (65%) and light-coloured clothes (70%) or hiding feminine care products in their pocket, sleeve or bra (68%).

For young girls, their shame of menstruation is so bad that almost 60% would rather fail a subject at class than have their peers know they are on their period. A further 17% would rather be bullied than have their peers know. A quarter of New Zealanders are even embarrassed to purchase female care products.

periods

Keeping it hush

This lack of confidence about menstruation is driving women to do all they can to avoid conversations about their periods. In fact, the knock-on effect is continuing into our relationships; 72% of women would rather discuss the direction of their relationship with their partner than their period.

Dr Lauren Rosewarne, Senior Lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne said: “While our society is becoming increasingly open and tolerant around topics such as transgenderism, homosexuality and mental illness, female menstruation is still something that’s seen as unacceptable for public discourse.

“Perhaps that’s because periods aren’t something we commonly see on TV, in movies or on Instagram – if young girls are brought up to hide their period, then they will continue to feel and believe it’s something shameful, embarrassing and needing to be hidden.”

periods

Normalising the conversation

The good news is that women want to see change. Two thirds of women in New Zealand agree society’s attitude towards periods is old-fashioned, while men and women both agree that girls’ confidence is at risk if periods aren’t discussed openly.

Shameless hosts Zara McDonald and Michelle Andrews, who regularly address women’s issues on their popular podcast, have partnered with Libra to squash the shame around periods.

Zara McDonald said: “I was always so embarrassed about periods when I was younger – it’s taken me until now to realise that there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.”

Michelle Andrews agreed: “We only hope that young girls growing up don’t go through the same humiliation that we felt, having to feel guilty for their own bodies.”

Caitlin Patterson, Executive General Manager of the Asaleo Care Retail Business said: “Libra has played a leading role in helping to de-stigamtise menstruation for over forty years across ANZ. This new research shows just how far we have to go as less than 1 in 10 New Zealand women feel empowered when they have their period. Periods are such a normal and healthy part of life, but aren’t discussed in public discourse and they aren’t shown in pop culture. That’s why in our latest TV commercial, we’ve made a point of showing blood, not blue liquid.”

The research was conducted by Harvest Insights on 1000 men and women from Australia and New Zealand, commissioned by Asaleo Care.

The Libra Manifesto reads:

We bleed.

Every. Single. Month.

It’s natural. It’s normal. It’s healthy.

And it’s not blue dye. It’s red.

Sometimes it’s painful.

Annoying.

And just plain hard.

But not being scared to talk about it?

That’s Bloody Awesome.

#bloodnormal

Libra has been making women’s favourite feminine care products in Melbourne for over 40 years. Libra offers a broad range of pads, tampons and liners for everyone, supporting women to live their best life.

This article was written by Kidspot with information provided by Libra.

Do you find it difficult to talk to others about periods or to talk to your kids about it?

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3 Comments

  1. Shorrty4life1 10/09/2019 at 8:32 pm

    I found this a great read. I’m one to not go swimming and not wear colours that could determine I’ve got my period incase it leaks through. I never tell people and hate talking about it unless I’m sore or bleeding super heavy and drained then I may let on to my mum or sister and my husband but would never have confidence to tell anyone else. My daughter is almost at the age where I need to inform her in the most simple way possible just so she knows as when I was a teenager I had no idea and freaked so would hate for her to go through the same.

  2. Bevik1971 09/09/2019 at 4:13 pm

    I don’t mind talking about my period, even to men haha 🙂 My boss and I (female) whinge about our period woes at work often and my hubby is very sympathetic as I have terrible periods which are getting worse as I get older 🙁 I have leaked badly at times (and at the worst times), but really there’s not much that can be done but deal with it

  3. dawnblyth 06/09/2019 at 1:18 pm

    I have no issues talking about my period, having a period or what a period is. Recently I had a conversation with my 10yr old son about what it is. I have issues with polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis – and am currently waiting a hysterctomy which will hopefully fix all the issues that have arisen. I don’t have a problem buying sanitary products from the supermarket. I do often wonder what people think when they see them in my trolley. Do they think I am having my period? Or is she stocking up? Those thoughts do go through my mind. In saying all of this, I am quite private when I have my period. I don’t go around telling people when I have it, or how bad it is etc. That is just me and I guess that is just the way I was bought up, you didn’t talk about these sorts of things with men or with other people. My husband will talk about it a little, but he feels uncomfortable talking about it and watching the tv adverts. We are all different in how we approach things in life.

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