by Kianna Goss
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let’s stop
making menstruation a taboo subject…
Women’s history month celebrates the contributions women made to events and history. In honor of this month, I want to highlight and recognize those who experience a menstrual cycle. As a woman, I can say that a lot of people don’t know the challenges our bodies go through.
I got my first period when I was nine years old, one week before my 10th birthday. No one prepares you for the shame and guilt you feel after your first few periods. When my first period came, I stayed in my room all day. Also, I used to be embarrassed to carry pads or purchase them at the store. However, I eventually got over it because… it’s natural and it happens! But the real question is: Why do girls feel this way when they get their period? Is it because schools don’t provide enough information about the menstrual cycle? Or is it because there is no standard method to inform those who menstruate in their households?
The blame is on both sides, according to Beth Greenfield, the senior editor of Yahoo News. The results of a 2014 survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that just under half of middle schools and 66 percent of high schools teach lessons about human development (including puberty) in a required class. For elementary schools, that dropped to 21 percent—suggesting that too many kids in the U.S. learn nothing about puberty at school until they are going through it. Children, particularly girls, are heading into puberty earlier than ever, with some now getting their periods as young as 8 or 9.
The statistics from that survey are mind-blowing because these are things young people need to know about their bodies. Many are left on their own to figure out if they want to use pads, how thick of a pad to get, how often to change them, to buy the kind with or without wings, or use tampons. Additionally, many parents avoid having conversations about menstruation. Maybe it makes them feel like their child is growing up. In my case, my mom didn’t teach me about periods until I got one. I feel that if I would have known about periods before that day, I would have felt better prepared for dealing with the situation when I got mine.
Moving forward, there are so many opportunities to have open conversations in schools and homes about menstrual cycles. There should be more resources for young girls to receive a pad or tampon in their schools and communities. Here is a list of resources for individuals who need tampons or pads:
- Alliance for Period supplies: They partner with over 75 programs nationwide and you can find out if they partner with an organization in your area.
- #HappyPeriod: This organization provides menstrual kits for individuals all around the country. On their site, you can sign up to receive some kits in your neighborhood.
About Kianna Goss
Kianna Goss is a senior at Bradley University, majoring in journalism with a double minor in sociology and advertising with public relations. The importance of community involvement is to use your voice. Kianna’s voice is one of the strongest platforms she has, and utilizes it through her writing. Being a Black woman, Kianna often writes to give a voice to the Black community to gain control over the media that portrays them in a negative way. Kianna is a writer with different form expressions. She has written poetically, through blogs, newspapers, and opinion pieces. Kianna always looks for more opportunities to grow as a writer and person. Kianna is currently the social media director for Her Campus, works as a peer mentor for Bradley’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and is a team leader/caller at the Bradley Fund. Being able to explore her creativity is what she loves most about Bradley. The Communications department is molding her into the journalist she aspires to be.
About Faith Marie
Faith Marie is a homeschooled senior in high school who dreams of being an artist entrepreneur one day. She fell in love with creating at a young age and now experiments with all kinds of mediums. You can find her on Instagram at @faithmariedraws.