And Life Goes On

The random bloggings on what gets my goat!

Twitter’s Litchat – A Taboo Subject?

I have recently stumbled across Litchat on Twitter which is a discussion forum every week that allows writers (and me!) to talk about the process of writing, publishing, editing etc. A ffew weeks ago, the topic had been part of a week of Taboo topics that authors and readers may not be comfortable with dealing with.
One particular Litchat guest was Elissa Stein who has written a book entitled Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation, which is a book about menstruation, Macmillan quote “Flow answers such questions as: What’s the point of getting a period? What did women do before pads and tampons? What about new drugs that promise to end periods—a hot idea or not? Sex during your period: gross or a turn-on? And what’s normal, anyway? With color reproductions of (campy) historical ads and early (excruciating) femcare devices, it also provides a fascinating (and mind-boggling) gallery of this complex, personal and uniquely female process”.
Stein spoke about the book passionately, as did others who were making comments on what is deemed taboo and why. Stein commented that she had done a recording with Dr Oz to promote her book that has still yet to be aired! It seems people still do not want to talk or hear about this frankly natural process. TV executives are deciding what we will or will not be allowed to watch and discuss, surely this is a form of censorship?
This is sheer lunancy, which seemed to be the status quo from all the comments that were made, one lady tweeted “our bodies as objects, acceptable. Our bodies as functional, not acceptable“. The UK and other countries tax us on our sanitary products, tax is suuposedly meant for luxury products, how are tampons and the like a luxury? Amazingly, after the launch of the IPad, ITampon was the number one on the tweet trending topic after the IPad launch, much to the ambarrassment of Apple!
It is painful to think that mensruation is something that most women endure as part of their lives , however it is treated  as something so shameful, many comments were that sexual repression was a huge part of the problem, we learn very early from our parents and then from society, we must as parents change this perception.
Stein gave us a brief history rundown on how Priests used to shut women away during a period as they were deemed unclean, whilst midwives were considered witches. Their knowledge of childbirth and their understanding of menstruation was deemed evil. Whilst men were so afraid of menstrual blood that they created all sorts of theories as to what was really happening to women.
Many of us will have heard many euphemisms, my Nan used to call it a “Red Letter Day”, whilst my mother recounts the story of her first period to me believing that she was dying as she had never been told by her strict Mother what menstruation was. Girls even today believe that they are dying because they have no education on menstruation.
It seems we can talk about anything but not the way a woman’s body works. One lady suggested that Northern America was very stuffy, I commented on the furore that was Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at a music awards ceremony, with the view in the UK being “All that fuss over a breast!”.
Whilst I have not read the book, I am off today to get my copy and I am going to leave it strategically placed around my house in order that the subject can be talked about freely by my friends and family and hopefully then onto others and have this ridiculous taboo subject tackled head on!!! Until we begin to tackle these issues and talk about them freely then we will forever have people with antiquated ideas controlling our free speech and our childrens ability to have a more free and liberal existence.

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3 thoughts on “Twitter’s Litchat – A Taboo Subject?

  1. It’s scary about how ignorant men are about menstruation and that’s one of the reasons why I began to blog about it. In a way, my blog gives men some practical understanding of menstruation and products as well as allowing women to delve into understanding how/why men think a certain way about periods. Certainly, what scares me the most is that even women who have gone through years of menstruation don’t really know “the full story”… I’ve had women who used the wrong terminology before when describing things associated with periods – let alone men!

    Although I would not disagree with the fact menstruation may not be the most comfortable thing, I think it’s terrible when women perceive periods as some kind of curse or hate it. I understand the associations with PMS, discomfort, cravings, etc. aren’t they greatest things in the world, but by hating her period, it only goes to spread the negativity of menstruation, especially to those easily influenced such as daughters or fellow-females. Also, women play a large influence towards guys… the more guys see that even women themselves believe menstruation is terrible, the more reason we (men) will perceive the same negativity and “pass it on” to others.

    The first step to really breaking the barrier down is for women themselves to portray menstruation in a positive manner. No doubt, I’m not saying bleeding between your legs every month is the most comfortable or convenient thing, but if women themselves display negativity towards menstruation, it only strikes more fear into men’s heart (not that the sight/thought/talk of menstrual blood doesn’t already make them pass-out). Unfortunately, not many women are comfortable talking openly and frankly about this topic with men, making it very hard for us to understand things surrounding it… of course with most of the guys I know, I admit that even if they had the opportunity, they wouldn’t want to listen to it.

    It is not unusual per se for guys to feel menstruation as a very “foreign” thing for them, after all, we do not experience it. However, I certainly feel strongly that even starting from BOYS … even before they become “men” that they should have a functional knowledge of menstruation and awareness of menstrual products. Suffice to say, they do not necessarily need to know the intricacies, but I have felt that ignorance is no excuse for what guys but women through when it comes to their periods. Menstruation is seen as a very “bad” thing because the media and misinformation which floats around (especially from guy-to-guy) propagates negativity extremely fast. Menstruation is such a beautiful process!

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