You know that post that has floated around social media for a while with the caption that goes something like, “Your girl wakes up like this, what you doing?” And it shows a girl laying in bed with blood on her pants or on the sheets. Yeah I hate that post. I’ve seen many comments that were good, but also so many that were just awful. Between that post and many other things I’ve seen on various social media platforms and heard in person, I’ve come to the conclusion, men are severely undereducated on the basics of periods and menstration.
I don’t know how things are nowadays, but when I was in 5th grade, we did a small “changing bodies” sexual education type class in school. The first one we watched as a whole class and the second we were separated into groups. The boys in one group and the girls in another. We then watched another video specific to our bodies. No big deal right, we learned what we needed to for our age. I don’t really remember anything after that until our sexual education class in high school. I’m not sure if I had any classes in between or not, I just remember them separating the boys from the girls.
I understand why they do that, but I also think we could all benefit from learning more about periods. Men think it’s dirty, gross, and disgusting or that we have a choice as to when it starts or stops. Their lack of knowledge and understanding is astonishing and we need a change. Of course I know that this doesn’t apply to all men. Some understand enough and some learn for their girlfriends, wives, or daughters along the way. This is where parents come in. If kids aren’t going to be learning everything they need to in school, it is our job to teach them. especially our sons. They need to know enough to not be a jerk about it and have an understanding that we have no control and don’t always know when it’s about to happen.
I’ve always been open with my kids about periods. My daughter for obvious reasons and my son because I want him to have a full understanding and be compassionate. The first conversation I had with my son was when he was 11 or 12. They did a sex ed class in school and I didn’t know what they covered. So I told him basically, hey this is the age when girls you go to school with are going to start getting their periods. If they drop anything in class, the hallway, wherever, don’t embarrass them, don’t stare. Pick it up and nonchalantly hand it back to her. If you see someone with blood on their pants or whatever, if you can hand her your sweater so she can tie it around her waist until she can change or make it to the bathroom. Never point, laugh, call attention to it, or embarrass her. Just do the right thing.
I wanted to make sure he understood we have no control over our periods. We may have an idea of when it’s going to start, but not always. The days can vary. For myself personally it can be 27-32 days and sometimes even 35 days. It’s not predictable at all. My body does what it wants. I wanted him to understand that accidents happen and that it’s embarrassing and boys are immature and don’t always understand that it’s not gross, we have no control, accidents happen, and girls deserve respect, compassion, and understanding during the times they may drop something or have an accident. I wanted him to be the guy that grows up knowing what to get if he’s sent to the store or to throw her clothes in the laundry. I just wanted him to have enough of an understanding that he wouldn’t be a jerk about periods.
My son is now 15 and we’ve had many age appropriate conversations about periods and everything that comes with it. He can go in the feminine hygiene section and not even bat an eye. It’s not something that’s gross, dirty, or disgusting to him. It’s simply just apart of what is involved in being a woman. I’m so proud of him and so glad I’ve taken the time to have these talks with him. I’m so glad that he will be a respectful young man and not shame any girl, woman, or anyone for having a period. If you want the men in your life to have an understanding and be respectful, teach them. They’re not always inclined to learn on their own or have the opportunity growing up.