By:
14-06-2015

It's Just A Tampon: Working To End The Menstruation Taboo

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Why's it so hard to talk about periods?

Despite periods being a simple fact of life, the truth is that there's still a huge taboo surrounding the subject: just think of all the euphemisms we use, from expressions such as "the time of the month" to the slightly confusing "on the rag", even the more comic "shark week". There's an embarrassment there, and many women feel like admitting to feeling grumpy, in pain, or just generally less than 100% their normal selves is an admission of weakness, and means they won't be taken seriously.

It's gone viral

Most of us remember the No Make Up Selfie, the Ice Bucket Challenge, and others designed to raise awareness of social issues. Now, thanks to menstrual health charity Plan UK, there's a new kind of selfie that's gone viral- the #JustATampon campaign. With celebrity figures from newsreader Jon Snow to TV personalities Jenni Eclair and Carole Smilie tweeting and instagramming fun pictures of themselves holding tampons, it's a lighthearted campaign with a serious message.

A human rights issue

Women's rights are human rights, and charity Plan UK recognises that, while in the Western world there may be more than a little squeamishness around the idea of menstruation (has any woman ever excreted that clear blue liquid which is used on ads to demonstrate the absorbency of pads or tampons?)- in general we're lucky to have access to pads, tampons, liners, and menstrual cups of all types, even if here in the UK we're forced to pay tax on them as if they were luxury goods (but that's a another problem).

#JustATampon

In places such as Uganda, and indeed many other parts of the developing world, including numerous African and Asian nations, there's a lack of education around menstruation, as well as a lack of affordable sanitary products and adequate bathroom facilities. Because of this, it's estimated that many young girls miss several days of school a month, thus falling behind in their studies, and in some cases dropping out of education altogether. If over 50% of the population is affected by this, that's a big problem for any nation as a whole. In the UK, you can follow writers such as Charlene White and text TAMPON to 70007 and donate £3 to help girls and women in 50 of the world's poorest countries, helping to provide a better future.
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