As one who spends a good bit of her day talking menstruation (menstrual products, body awareness, cycle consciousness, etc) I was taken aback by the repression I felt before I ever stepped foot out of my house #ConfidentCarry morning.
Pressure to conform to behavior that brought NO attention to menstruation was applied through subtle questions and not so subtle comments made by family members.
I knew to expect some resistance from without. But, from my own family? And…from deep within myself? That little voice of reason within kept whispering ages-old-wisdom to me (aka taboos).
Menstrual shame is so deeply ingrained within us, within society. Societal norms contradicted everything I was about to do.
As I stepped from my front porch and walked toward the car, I felt as though a spotlight was on me and my very being was magnified larger than life. It had been a long, long time since I’d felt that self-conscious. I felt like everyone was looking at me…at the pad on my back.
In fact, no one was.
As my daughter and I headed to our scheduled stops, I imagined several possible scenarios – reactions, interactions…and what I hoped to accomplish in each.
#ConfidentCarry was a terrific learning tool. Here are some things I learned. (I say “some” because I am continually discovering things I learned as I play the event over in my mind.)
- Menstrual shame is deeply ingrained in society.
- Public display of personal feminine hygiene products is beyond the comfort zone of most.
- People are curious and amazingly open.
- Older women are more accepting of #confidentcarry than younger.
- Men displayed the most discomfort and the most curiosity.
- Young men were more apt to vocalize their uneasiness with laughter and crude comments.
- Girls and teens are watching…ever watching. They notice everything.
- Self-consciousness fades as self-confidence builds.
- #Confidentcarry triggered something (memory, comment, event) deep within every woman who noticed the overnight pad stuck to my back.
- The longer I was in #confidentcarry mode, the more confident I became – I didn’t feel a need to hide ANYTHING. It was liberating.
- After the initial surprise of seeing the pad on my back for what it was, life went on…conversations continued…it was nothing to get excited about.
- Period products are packaged for #confidentcarry – have you noticed?
- I found myself wanting to show my product off, inquire of others what they were carrying, and compare (like kids with collectable cards).
- There is great curiosity about menstruation and menstrual products. And, a great need for openness.
- We fear what we don’t understand and create taboos. Breaking taboos can be as simple as #confidentcarry.
- Menstruation education is woefully lacking – for girls and for boys. Concealed carry only adds to the mystery, perpetuates myths and strengthens taboos.
- People become comfortable with what they are repeatedly exposed to. Over a brief time, #confidentcarry became the norm.
- Hey – it’s a tampon…pad…cup. What’s the big deal anyway?
Truth, as I see it. And, period wise, too.
What did you learn from #confidentcarry?