We were taught in elementary and reminded through high school that menstruation is normal and natural, but many tend to overlook the taboo that holds this biological function in a shaming light. Tied by discriminating views and a lack of societal awareness, women continue to be in grave need of support and empowerment, especially one that surrounds their uterus.
It’s ironic to think that something as natural as menstruation could be associated with harmful views that discriminate against women for their health. Because of this, actions must be taken in order better represent women's struggle amid a society that expects them to hide their period due to norms, taboos, and practices.
Boys, Men, and Menstruation
In the latest survey released by non-profit organization Plan International on May 25, more than 1 in 3 boys think that periods should be kept a secret—a matter that they think is private amongst girls and women. The research also outlined the deepening taboo regarding women’s health when men aged 16 to 25 stated that they frequently likened periods with demeaning words such as “dirty,” “embarrassing,” and “disgusting.”
But what does this information entail for women? It tells us how society currently has a distorted view of a bodily function that is supposed to be normal. Since periods are associated with negative interpretations, Plan International’s survey is a clear call for education to be more critical in tackling important matters such as the health and wellness of women and to shape the younger generation’s take on menstruation.
No shame in the way women bleed
Be it pads, tampons, or menstrual cups, hygienic products should never be viewed with embarrassment and disgust. Girls should not be ashamed of leaving a classroom with a pad in their hand and women should not be afraid of being honest about their periods at the workplace.
With the existing norms that force women to be secretive and ashamed of their menstrual health, an effort is required in order to spark an open dialogue regarding the “private” topic, and the campaign starts with the schools.
In 2019, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) launched their #MeronAko campaign which gave introductive lessons on menstruation and the reproductive systems for students and teachers. They helped to create an attitude amongst children to respect and perceive menstruation “as a normal process of life.”
Strengthen the flow of dialogue
How do we uplift our young girls and women with their period? By introducing role models. Women need a figure that they can relate to, someone who can remind them that they are not alone in their menstrual journey. A common ground of shared red day experiences will help girls of all ages celebrate their uterus without shame or embarrassment—be it period pains, stains, and mood swings.
This is what Modess aims to fight for as a brand. In their quest to support women in times of their period, they sought role models that could best represent the struggles of an everyday modern woman who, at the end of the day, overcomes challenges and reach new heights even in the middle of her period.
“As a brand that empowers teen girls, Modess looks for brand ambassadors who can inspire their followers to pursue whatever interests and passions they want to do, despite headwinds and challenges that may occur along the way, even during their period,” said the brand team to PhilSTAR L!fe.
With the help of notable Filipino stars and content creators such as Maymay Entrata, Dexie Diaz, Bella Racelis, and Zephanie Dimaranan who openly share their menstrual health journey, Modess put forward an example of how to help end the stigma surrounding menstruation and create a period positive society that celebrates womanhood.
"It is our hope that through these ambassadors, we can inspire #Genfree girls to pursue their passion and dreams and execute it the best way they can to make it a reality. The same way with Modess, we hope that these young, hopeful Filipinas can take charge of their menstrual health journey and #BeNextPeriodReady," they added.