Talk about it — period

The discomfort menstruation evokes speaks to greater issues of muted conversations on health.

The McGill Daily published a feature in their Oct. 27 issue titled “A Bloody Shame”, which examined the stigma surrounding menstruation and the revulsion it can inspire.

Although the feature didn’t provide new information, it was well written, and the shocked and giggling reception it received from our Editorial Board begged the question: what’s the nature of the stigma surrounding menstruation?

As a biological necessity, menstruation has a long-standing history of being stigmatized. Misconceptions that label it as impure persist today in certain regions and religions.

However, even when these misconceptions aren’t present, there still exists a shame around the subject.

From a young age, individuals with a uterus often feel uncomfortable talking to others about menstruation. Rather than citing severe menstrual cramping, nausea or other symptoms as grounds for being excused from gym class, for example, many people may instead give an alternative reason.

The discomfort present in these discussions is partially because internal functions, like menstruation, are often characterized as private matters.

While this personal embarrassment has its roots in historical sexism, it speaks to a greater issue within our society on discussing health — one that isn’t exclusive to those who menstruate.

Individuals with or without a uterus shouldn’t feel embarrassed to share health concerns, especially with a health specialist, but the private nature of these issues can often deter people from discussing them publicly. This can lead to serious consequences.

Reproductive education is currently taught in elementary and high schools, but men and women are often limited to schooling on their particular gender. These two sides need to better intersect.

Journal Editorial Board

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