Recently, I talked about the company Thinx and all they do and reviewed one of their products, the period underwear. I want to continue this conversation and talk about periods.
That’s right, the monthly gift women get that ruins our clothes, causes us pain, and tells us we aren’t pregnant. Periods are natural and most of us get them. Yet, for some reason, we aren’t supposed to talk about them. God forbid we actually educate girls about their health but, unfortunately, periods make men uncomfortable so we aren’t supposed to talk about it.
Products for people with periods, Thinx is a company based in NYC that makes underwear to wear during menstruation. They sell these period panties to women who want them and provide period products to girls who need them.
Co-founded by the CEO Miki Agrawal, Thinx started in 2014 to break the period taboo. They offer an online store that sells period panties (underwear to wear while menstruating) and other period products. They also work with afripads for every pair sold to provide affordable, reusable pads to girls in developing countries.
I was a little shaken after doing my last blog post, My Week With Makeup. It was really hard to see two pictures of me, side by side, where I looked completely different. When I looked at myself wearing makeup, I felt like I finally measured up to the other girls I see walking around campus, the girls who look flawless. I looked older wearing makeup, and certainly more put together. I have a younger sister who is seventeen, and whenever we meet new people, they assume that she is older. Why? She wears makeup, she actually curls or straightens her hair in the morning, she’s polished and flawless and put together and so people assume she is older.
You’ve probably heard of PMS, but may not be aware of another severe type of premenstrual condition known as PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Approximately 3%- 10% of menstruating girls and women are affected by this condition, which can lead to severe mood swings, deep depression, feelings of anxiety, a sense of hopelessness—all of which can immensely affect one’s ability to perform their normal daily routine and feel like themselves. I know these feelings well because I have experienced this firsthand and it wreaked havoc on my life. Continue reading “The Power of PMDD”→
Sex crimes are unique because they are extremely private yet prevalent. Every sexual assault is unique to the victim; yet so many women, and sometimes men, have had similar experiences. Falling victim to a sex crime is an experience that makes the victim feel ashamed of something that happened to their own body.
Of all the health topics pertaining to women, menstruation has to be the most commonly swept under the rug. Which is ironic, considering nearly every person with female reproductive organs will experience it. Not only do we not openly discuss the normal, regular occurrence of menstruating itself, we are taught not to talk about anything regarding periods—products, effects on daily life, or serious health concerns. There is a huge cloud of shame that follows a woman’s period almost everywhere in the world that leaves women feeling even more negative towards what can be an already unpleasant experience. Society expects us to hide tampons on our way to the bathroom, keep quiet about painful physical symptoms, and blame normal emotions on PMS.
One of the many detrimental side effects of silence around periods is the lack of knowledge it creates. When there is a stigma attached to a part of your body, some go to extreme efforts to avoid it at all costs. There are so many women who have never even looked at their own vagina, let alone explored and learned about their body during menstruation. I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where looking at and understanding your body was encouraged, which I found to be vital to my wellbeing—especially my reproductive health. The female reproductive system is intensely complicated, and remaining in the dark by not exploring can be dangerous and cause women to feel uncomfortable about speaking up when something is wrong.
As women, taking care of our bodies can sometimes feel like a full-time job. I also think a lot of us can attest to not always making time for that particular job, maybe putting its related tasks and responsibilities on the back burner for a little too long. In our productivity-driven society, we’ve prioritized so many things over our physical and mental health, to the point where it can be dangerous. Ignoring symptoms, trying to self-diagnose or self-medicate, or simply not listening to our bodies when something is wrong are all too common for women in America. There’s a subtle yet pervasive stigma for women around being thought to complain about our health that often perpetuates these behaviors. Women frequently think, “I’ll be fine, I’m just overreacting” or “I don’t have the time (or money/resources/support) to see a doctor right now” or even “This is normal and happens to all women”—generally down-playing what can sometimes turn out to be symptoms of serious health conditions. This stigma plays a huge role in many issues that women face, including heart disease, which is the leading cause of death of women in the United States.