Happy Menstrual Health Day! This topic deserves its own day, and we thought we’d use this opportunity to bust a few myths about periods.
Myth: “Only women menstruate”
Truth: Not all women menstruate, and not all people who menstruate are women. For too long, societal dialogue about periods has been gendered in a binary way, leaving out a whole spectrum of people who menstruate, such as trans men and people who are intersex, genderqueer or non-binary.
Myth: “It’s impolite to discuss the topic of menstruation in public”
Truth: Menstruation is a public health issue, not an issue of private shame. When it comes to menstruation, there is a long history of stigmatization and shame that we need to overcome. People are taught to feel that periods are dirty or impure, and this stigmatization means we are not having the conversations that are necessary. Tackling period poverty means tackling this stigma head-on so so that everyone, including our government officials, have these important conversations.
Myth: “Doing exercise or having sex during your period is bad for you”
Truth: Myths like these help to preserve gender-based discrimination and behavioural restrictions, whilst also adding to the shame and stigma around periods. It is safe to do physical activity while menstruating, and in fact, research has shown that it can actually help alleviate cramps.
Myth: “Periods can be “held in” if coming at an inopportune moment”
Truth: “Holding in” the blood is not a solution to not having a pad nearby. To get technical about it, the urethra has muscles called sphincters which allow you to control urine as it comes out. The sphincters help you to hold in or release your urine. The vagina, however, does not have these, so you simply can’t hold in the blood in the same way. This is one of the many reasons why it’s important to make good quality products accessible to people who menstruate.
Are you wondering what you can do to help this Menstrual Health Day? Firstly, have the conversation! Share these facts with people you know and help us tackle the stigma. Second, you can become a recurring donor and support us with our Dignity Kits project. With this project we supply menstrual products and other essential items to those most in need in Amsterdam.