One word, a thousand reactions and few, very few actions.
Having menstruation is physiological, it's normal, it's human, it's life; but then why is it so difficult to pronounce this word, why don't we talk about it in peace, why are we ashamed, why do we laugh? Why, then, do they take themselves so little seriously?
Simple, because menstruation is still a taboo, a huge and absurd taboo.
I still remember the tricks in class to pass the sanitary pad on, as if it were a good purchased on the black market... I remember the gesture of hiding it under my sleeve so as not to be seen by my classmates, so as not to let them know that I had to go to the bathroom to change the absorbent.
I remember the silly "games" played by kids, like the fake bloodstains stuck on the chair, to indicate that it was YOU who had the menstrual cycle, as if it were something dirty to be ironic about, as if it were a label, as if it were a cause for shame… and a bit, I admit, it really was.
I remember times I've accidentally gotten myself or something dirty; I remember the discomfort, the embarrassment, not knowing what to do, or how to move and where. I remember the anxiety of getting up and finding something to cover me, I remember the desperate search for a friend's gaze, non-direct help, anything to get me out of that embarrassing situation.
I developed later than my peers and I remember that for me this was a cause of double discomfort: I was one of the last girls who still didn't have a period (therefore, in my mind, I was wrong), but at the same time I feared that moment because it would anyway meaning embarrassment, giggles and all of the above. In short, a bummer.
Menstruation has always been little told, they tend to hide and when they talk about it, the narratives are fairy-tale, unreal, full of stereotypes that certainly don't bring benefits of any kind.
The representation of menstruation has always been very glossy, as if it were a sin to show true reality, true colors (blue blood, seriously?)
Portraying menstruation on television is more taboo than menstruation itself; yet, there are, they exist, just as there are tampons (necessary, essential for us to live in a NORMAL way) and it is right to show them and above all it is right to inform.
Did you know that in Somalia, in the past, a menstruating woman was defined as impure ?
Did you know that many women didn't leave the house during menstruation, due to too much shame and too much discomfort they felt?
When sanitary pads didn't exist (but also when they began to circulate, but the price was really too high), then, women used anything to plug blood: anything and this was true all over the world, even in Italy .
Italy, where today, in 2021, sanitary pads are considered luxury goods and are taxed at 22% .
LUXURY GOODS , like any other high cost product that is not part of basic necessities.
LUXURY GOODS , as if having your period were a choice, a monthly purchase with a premium subscription (how many benefits, huh?)
Luxury goods, but it seems that the road to abolishing the tampon tax is still long: taboos and PRIORITIES are difficult to manage.
Kenya, which in 2004 abolished the tax on sanitary pads, thinks differently, but also India which, after countless protests, finally eliminated the tax in 2018.
It seems that menstruation in Italy just cannot be discussed. Among those who argue that commercials in which menstrual blood is shown are "disgusting" and traumatize boys and girls, those who think that the tampon tax is nonsense and NOT a priority, as there are much more serious problems and the battles of women are and should be FAR DIFFERENT…
But then, exactly what should we be concerned with? The one not because it is considered useless, the other one not because there are more important things, let's forget catcalling because it is a minor issue, useless and not traumatizing ... then menstruation is normal and it is not by canceling the tax on sanitary towels that women will reach respect, equal pay and will eliminate gender-based violence.
You understand well that reasoning in this way will never lead to anything and is dangerous and counterproductive: it is starting from these "little" things that we begin and it is also thanks to them that, step by step, we can reach the balance of gender and breaking taboos.
Having a period is normal, having a period does not mean being dirty, having a period is not a choice.
It's right to talk about it, it's right to normalize them (especially on television), just as it's right to fight for the tax on tampons to be lowered.
And no, "buy the menstrual cup" is not what we want to hear: why? Because unfortunately not all of them can afford to buy ecological hygiene products, not all women can be happy with the use of the cup and a thousand other reasons why this declaration is NOT inclusive to all intents and purposes.
Menstruation is not a choice, decide to normalize, however, YES.