The menstrual cycle: between tampon tax and embarrassment

On the Internet and on social networks now we normalized everything, or so it would seem if you took a quick look at TikTok and Twitter. We naturally talk about sex and relationships, we talk about mental health (sometimes in a superficial way but that’s the nature of the medium, honey), we talk about how many times we shower, what food intolerances do to our bodies (often in a lot of graphic detail), yes they share private conversations, you film strangers without any particular privacy concerns, pop your pimples, and talk about your birth. Which is the most private, intimate and sometimes a little disgusting, what have you heard online? How many times have you felt like you just learned a little something? too much information about a stranger who was in front of you for 15 seconds and who you will probably never see again?

Are periods still considered embarrassing?

However, one thing we still haven’t been able to normalize is menstrual cycle. It has always happened, once a month or so to everyone born female or almost, for a long time in their (our!) lives, and yet we can’t do it. Even now, with feminism on the lips, women’s bodies are no longer a mystery. We hate menstruation, we need to hide it, avoid it. They ask for tampons in a low voice, hiding them in the back pocket of their jeans when they go to the bathroom. No one at the table or among our followers wants to know the state of our uterus, but we do not have the same problems with other bodily functions, on the contrary. Not talking about it pretty inevitably leads to disinformationmakes those who don’t have periods believe they can control how we feel, how many pads we use, our bodies and what they face, that doesn’t mean those who do understand when he is healthy and if not, what to tell your doctor and what are the warning signs that something is wrong.

The answer is yes, the numbers say so

A survey commissioned by the company recorded this in a crystal clear manner Initial – a company specializing in offering services and solutions for hygiene and well-being outside the home – to be launched on the market Dignity, distributor of sanitary napkins. According to this research, in fact 1 in 3 women feel embarrassed to admit that you are menstruating in front of others. Among younger girls (16-18 years old), only 61% talk about it without problems and with ease. 27% of the people interviewed suffered teasing related to their periods, especially during adolescence. In most cases (65%), men made fun of them, but not only that. 38% of mockers are actually women. In this case we are talking about period embarrassment. Furthermore, 66% of women are convinced that men themselves have problems with menstruation. They partially confirm the sensation. 26% admit that they do not feel well, 17% say that they have never discussed the topic and 9% avoid it completely. Men who have mothers, daughters and sisters prefer not to know what is going on in their bodies, how they feel, what products they use, or rather feel hard to talkstunned, even a little disgusted.

The tampon tax and a political question

Menstruation in Italy is a political questionfrom different points of view. Our ruling class constantly interferes with and debates about women’s bodies tampon tax (the VAT rate that applies to sanitary napkins) has not yet disappeared, on the contrary. On January 1, 2024, this tax increased, from 5% to 10% and affecting the shopping basket, of course especially women, and with an even more profound and important impact on women in the South and the islands. AND contemporary poverty, making it difficult for some menstruating people to buy all the products they need. Although, according to the research, both men (71%) and women (82%) believe that this measure is unfair, nothing is happening. That’s why discuss it publicly it is, as we have just seen, considered embarrassing, to be avoided, a sign of bad manners. As if that were not enough, women are invited to be women, marry and have children, only to be abandoned when it comes to taking care of your body, your uterus, your vagina. Just think of the way endometriosis, vestibulodynia and the like are not addressed.

Not only women menstruate

Statistical research does not deal with this, and in Italy we have not even begun to consider this issue. However, the truth is this It’s not just women who menstruate and not all women have them. For example, trans men have periods. However, trans women are not. If we could first talk about the tampon tax, the shame of the period, the poverty of the period freelywithout having to fight a creeping sense of shame and without the fear of being found disgusting by those around us, perhaps the second step could even be deepen the issue, mix it up. The ultimate goal is to learn to treat menstruation as something that happens to a woman’s body and not just something that only happens to some people and that brings with it a number of symptoms, possible complications, and changes. Something that needs solid, important, unavoidable products and that needs to be discussed as a common problem because it is a collective matterpublic health. And the sooner we understand that, the better.

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