The inherited taboo: Why women of the future are set to keep schtum about periods

Author: Nancy and Elisabeth

Periods are still treated as a taboo. Over two million women shy away from saying the word ‘period’ in front of children, believing the term to sound dirty, rude, awkward and embarrassing according to the new research we have recently conducted.

This lack of open conversation about menstruation is set to silence women of the future talking about periods and furthermore, deepen taboos around female health. It also causes a lack of understanding about the perfectly normal, physiological function of the female body. 

As many as 4.5 million women admit they aren’t fully clued up when it comes to period products, with topics such as period flow, duration, tampon size and product suitability all causing confusion. 

Nancy, one of our co-founders, says: “Female health has long been a political pawn, dangled to get votes. We’re finally seeing it gain traction in the press and the topic being addressed openly by MPs, yet evidence suggests we’re still struggling to have honest and open conversations around periods ourselves."

“We know feelings of embarrassment and awkwardness eclipse and hinder open discussions around menstruation, but this issue isn’t going to change if our habits are adopted by the next generation. Men and women need to use this moment to reshape how they talk about periods or risk fuelling the stigma so often attached to female health.” 

While female health is firmly on the political agenda during the electoral campaigns, sadly the same cannot be said for society as over half of men and women opt for code words when referring to periods. 

Mary is the most popular code name used by the women who choose to avoid saying terms such as ‘period’ or ‘menstruation’. The proper term is also lost in favour of Sophie, Pat, Penelope and Pam.

Nancy Saddington continues: “Women should be the natural authority on the topic of periods. They’re in a position of power to drive accurate education and open up the conversation. However, in feeling like they need to use code names, while light-hearted in many cases, they border on apologising for a natural and fundamentally human function. It can only lead to a future generation of men and women who are unable to have constructive conversations around periods. Everyone has a responsibility and perhaps we should use the current political spotlight to explode the conversation around periods for women of the future.”

How comfortable are you talking about menstruation? Would you agree that periods are still a taboo?