Educating girls and boys about periods is essential to promoting self-esteem and healthy body images in both sexes.
If you want your boys to grow into men who respect women, then start by teaching them about periods.
The unsympathetic response
Every woman I know has at some point been at the receiving end of a barbed, disparaging comment about periods or PMS. It’s such a normal part of our culture that we don’t even realise it’s happening – and it happens because a lot of men have no idea about periods, and the menstrual cycle.
A sarcastic joke, a belittling jibe, an unsympathetic response to a completely normal (and often painful bodily function) does nothing to promote self-esteem, gender diversity or body positivity.
And, so periods continue to be shrouded by myths and stigma, and then we’re collectively surprised when girls are too ashamed to talk about periods and would rather use bunched up balls of toilet paper than tell a teacher they’ve started their period.
Change the conversation
Our culture tends to make girls and women feel bad or dramatic when we feel sad, depressed, or weepy before and during our periods, instead of being empathetic to the surge of hormones and physical changes our bodies – especially little bodies – are going through, we receive judgment. So, let’s change the conversation.
A warm smile, a hot cup of tea and an understanding ear go a long way to making girls feel comfortable about their periods.
Let’s break down the stigma and start talking about it. Not when girls start menstruating and it’s all a bit much and awkward. Start the conversation about periods and reproduction when children are young. The Europeans do it that way and their kids grown into self-actualised and successful adults.
Both teenage girls and boys have so many questions; they just may not know where to direct them. For advice, check out topics that you can discuss with your kids about periods.
Luna is an online community that supports girls through their first and subsequent periods and empowers them by normalising periods and promoting period positivity by busting myths and fighting taboos. Luna provides a monthly subscription service that offers girls choice and control – packs are categorised according to the stage and phase a girl is in.
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