The NewYork Post features findings from a study commissioned by THINX among 1,500 women and 500 men across the US.
The poll found out that 58 percent of women have felt a sense of embarrassment simply because they were on their period. Forty-two percent of women have experienced period-shaming, with one in five being made to have these feelings because of comments made by a male friend.
Watch a short video with the key findings: (please note : Video starts with advertisements)
Menstruation is one of the most natural functions in the world. It is a mark of femininity and fertility, and a huge part of life for most women. Yet, for some reason, women are frequently made to feel ashamed or embarrassed simply because they bleed, and, according to new research, this shaming often comes from those closest to them.
Forty-two percent of women have experienced period-shaming, with one in five being made to have these feelings because of comments made by a male friend.
Additionally, twelve percent of women have been shamed by a family member and one in ten by a classmate.
The research, which was commissioned by THINX, an innovative period solutions company and makers of period-proof underwear, found that a shocking 44 percent of men admit to having made a joke about or comment on a partner’s mood when she was on her period.
Things are even worse at work, where more than half of men studied (51 percent) believe it is inappropriate for women to openly mention their menstrual cycles in the workplace.
It’s no surprise, then, that most women admit to having felt like they have had to actively conceal the fact they were on their period.
Almost three-quarters (73 percent) of women surveyed have hid a pad or tampon from view on their way to the bathroom; 65 percent have worn specific clothes that wouldn’t show a leak if it were to happen; and 29 percent have cancelled plans, like swimming or exercising, that may have exposed the fact that they were on their period.
Seven in ten women have asked a friend to walk behind them during their period to “check” if it was showing through their clothes.
But visual shame isn’t the only part of the stigma against women and their periods. Sixty-three percent of women have canceled plans because they were dealing with PMS or period pain.
While most say that they gave the real reason as their excuse, 40 percent admit to having made up a false explanation.
A spokeswoman for THINX said: “Period-shame is something a lot of women feel, starting with their very first cycle, which can occur as young as eight years old. Those feelings of embarrassment and self-hate are then reinforced by society, which tells women that their bodies should be clean and tidy, and if they aren’t, well that’s not something to be openly and honestly discussed. By anyone.”
And it isn’t just feelings of embarrassment that have led women to be less than honest about their period struggles, as 62 percent claim that they have experienced others failing to take their period pain seriously.
The shaming that occurs regarding open conversations about women’s bodies is so ingrained that one in three say they often feel uncomfortable using the term “vagina” around others. Another 62 percent admit that they have felt irked simply by using the word “period.”
Nearly half of women (47 percent) have resorted to using more “palatable” names for their periods, with 87 percent using “time of the month,” 36 percent saying “monthly visitor” and 34 percent referring to it as “mother nature.”
Shopping can also pose an issue thanks to this needless stigma, as 44 percent of the women surveyed have felt awkward while buying tampons or pads at the store — with 15 percent feeling so uneasy that they have resorted to buying them online to avoid the store altogether.
Of course, there is another option. Sixty-five percent of women are fine asking their partner to buy pads or tampons for them. In a heartening show of solidarity, nearly three-quarters of men would be fine with performing the task — though the answer is a “no” from a concerning 17 percent of guys.
Also encouraging is that more than 70 percent of women are comfortable talking about their period with their partners, and 71 percent of men say they are fine with it too.
As for menstruation in the bedroom, more than half of women and men say that they aren’t fans of period sex, with 28 percent of women and one in three men saying that they have never tried it.
Eighteen percent of women and 19 percent of men claim to be fans of period sex, although only around one in ten men would brand it “fun” or “exciting.” Alternatively, 31 percent of men describe period sex as “gross” and 35 percent brand it “inappropriate.”
One in three women have had a partner refuse to have sex upon finding out they were on their period leaving the majority of women (56 percent) feeling uncomfortable initiating or having sex on their periods over fears about how their partner would react.
More than one-third (38 percent) of women have felt pressure to perform other sexual acts on their partner because they or their partner didn’t want to engage in intercourse during menstruation.
The THINX spokeswoman added: “The culture surrounding menstruation must be changed, and it takes both women and men to make that happen. It starts with open, honest conversation, and continues with education that empowers women to feel aware of and comfortable with their bodies and flows. We believe that people with periods deserve more information, resources, and options, which is why we’re revolutionizing this age-old industry to smash taboos, remove shame, and create communities of support.”