Warning. This might be a bit of a rant but I really cannot help it. This is a subject that might make you uncomfortable or it might right piss you off like it did me. Remember how I discussed getting your period for the first time awhile ago? Well, I was recently discussing this with my book peeps when I was told the most disturbing news ever. Several of them told me horror stories about their daughters getting their periods at school but NOT being allowed to go to the bathroom to clean up or change. EXCUSE ME? The fact that I heard this from several of them and not just one blew me away. What is our society coming to that girls are not allowed to go to the bathroom to clean themselves up? Let me give my two cents on this subject.
If you are someone who does not understand why I am so upset about this, then let me try to explain this to you. First off, these are young junior high and high school girls I am talking about. Their self esteems can be damaged by the slightest tease or comment from anyone, but especially boys. Now imagine you are a girl about 12-13 and you have just begun to get your periods for the first time. This means they are highly irregular and unpredictable. You have no idea when Mother Nature is going to pull some type of cruel joke and let forth the Stream of Motherhood into your pants. There you are, minding your own business in class, when you feel a gush. You know you didn’t just pee your pants and your anxiety starts to rise. You panic as you start to wonder several things: Can you make it to the bathroom in time to apply some sort of dam to the flood that is occurring? Will it soak through to your pants and is it too late? Do you have anything you can discreetly shove in your underwear while at your desk? And of course you don’t have a jacket to tie around your waist as you stand up to hide the fact that your outfit now is accessorized by a blotch of red that stretches from the front of your pelvis to your ass crack. Like someone dipped a paint brush in bright red paint and covered your private area with it. THAT is what if feels and looks like my friends. Now imagine raising your hand to ask to go to the bathroom, prepared to let everyone see the crime scene that is starting to make patterns on the chair you are sitting on, and being denied the request. You must sit there in your own bodily fluid soaked clothes and then be told you also can not go change your clothes after class, so you must now wear the Badge of Womanhood for all to see. And I mean everyone. You must now parade around for the rest of your day looking like you took part in a serial killer’s rampage. How would that make you feel? Because I guarantee you, that it is DEVASTATING to a young teen girl. Hell, it is devastating to me and I am in my 40’s.
My question is why? Why won’t teachers allow girls to go to the bathroom? And before you say they are males, I must tell you they ARE NOT. These were female teachers that did this to these girls. I can understand if you have chronic bathroom user, but these girls are also not that and even if they were, they should still be allowed to go shove a wad of cotton up their crotch to stop the rage of Mother Nature before it becomes a dire emergency. These girls came home, ashamed of their bodies, crying over the fact that they got teased for a natural process that is a taboo subject anyways (don’t get me started there), their fragile self esteems damaged in a way that cannot be undone. Now they have to fear their periods even more. They will stress about this happening again, trying to figure out how to prevent it instead of paying attention in class. It will consume them come the next month when their period is about to start. It will make them want to hide their bodies, something they are already awkward about, and make them ashamed to be a girl. Girls should absolutely be allowed to go to the bathroom to clean up the murder scene in their pants and change their clothes, even if it is into their gym shorts for the rest of the day which is basically announcing to the junior high world that your period started anyways, without the visual aide. One of the mothers told me she now hides a change of clothes and supplies in the bottom of her daughter’s backpack, covered to make it look like the bottom of the bag, so that her daughter has what she needs when she her period starts. HIDES them. Did you read that? Is this what we have come to in our children’s schools that you have to hide supplies and a change of clothes for your daughter because she has a heavy period? Another one of my friends told me that her daughter’s best friend, a guy, tied his jacket around her to help her in covering up because he felt so bad. This is unacceptable. Why are we punishing girls for starting their periods?
Can we change this culture in our schools? I mean, I don’t expect every school to celebrate a girl’s time of the month with a party, streamers and gifts of a Diva Cup, but I do feel we need to have a conversation with our girls. We need to empower our girls about their bodies. We need to encourage them to stand up for what is right and maybe make people feel a little uncomfortable. I am not saying that they should wear their Red Badge of Courage proudly…unless they want to…but they should be able to say that they need to use the bathroom because they are bleeding from their vagina. Or some sort of words like that. Girls should not be demoralized because they bleed every month. They should not feel shame. They should not dread being teased. Stand up for your fellow girls. Do not allow bullying to occur…and to me these teachers are doing just that. They are creating a culture of bullying. Even if we have to create a secret signal, like raising three fingers in the air Hunger Games style to say that a girl needs to go to the bathroom because of her period, then let us do that. Change this culture surrounding having your period.
Sorry for my rage. My rage against the stigma of bleeding from your lady parts and not being able to go to the bathroom. My rage against being made to sit in a puddle of your own blood and feel it run down your legs as you stand up, your shoes soon squishy with the pool in them. This is what I rage against. Rage against the shaming of our young girls. Rage against the machine. Rage against the man. Damn the man. Save the Empire. Quit shaming girls.
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did however get extremely angry about this culture of shaming girls about their periods, but I didn’t die. I am Fat Girl damning the man and saving the empire Running. The experiment continues…