Opinion: Breaking the taboo on womanhood

When I was in middle school, I watched an episode of Anne Frank: The Whole Story in history class. The episode was supposed to cement for us the cruel realities of the Holocaust. To our teacher’s chagrin, this was the scene that captured the attention of our 12-year-old minds: Anne Frank goes to the bathroom and cries. She had gotten her period for the first time. The scene couldn’t have lasted longer than a few minutes, yet we all sat there speechless, frozen in a moment of collective embarrassment. No one dared to look at each other. Then, a brave boy whispered to the girls at our table, “Do periods hurt?” We burst into giggles. No one answered the question.

The reality is, for many women, periods do hurt. A lot. Several studies say that more than 50 percent of American females experience monthly menstrual pain. The pain often starts at the age of 12 or 13, when women first get their periods, and continues through menopause. That means that well over 40 million people in this country can experience pain consistently for three decades of their lives. One study estimates that 1.7 million women in the US have pain so debilitating that they have to stay home from school or work. Assuming that they each miss one day of school or work a month, we’re talking about more than 20 million days of absenteeism a year. At those numbers, the pain is beyond physical—the pain, to women, is personal and professional.  

Over a decade of education since the Anne Frank episode, not much has changed in the way we think and talk about periods. In fact, grown men tend to categorically block out of their minds that part of the reproduction process. Ask men in their late 20s what a menstrual cycle is, and you’ll get a look of disgust, maybe even fear. Push a little further, and you’ll hear a confused jumble of incoherent thoughts. One male classmate likened the female reproductive organ to a grocery store. The “out-of-date” groceries have to be thrown out every month. Another said that periods happen because the ovaries are switching positions every few weeks.

The conversations aren’t much better among women. When women talk about their periods, they use euphemisms, saying they are “having stomach issues” or “feeling sick,” even when talking to other women. These phrases make the menstrual cycle sound like a bacterial illness, as if this natural female function is both shameful and contagious.

So here is what a period is. About once a month, the ovary releases an egg ready for fertilization. In preparation for a fertilized egg, hormones rise and thicken the lining of the uterine wall. If the egg remains unfertilized, both the egg and uterine lining are shed in the form of blood. This process often causes pain. The reason for the pain is most commonly attributed to a contraction of the uterus, which is why we use the word “cramps”.

While the severity of the pain may differ from month to month, the pain for women is cyclical and predictable. The most common way for women to cope is through over-the-counter painkillers such as Advil and Midol. However, sometimes the pain is so severe that it comes with nausea and vomiting, forcing women to call in sick or be excused from school.

The culture of silence around menstrual pain despite its ubiquity is troublesome. In fact, the English word “taboo” comes from the Polynesian word “tapu,” meaning both “sacred” and “menstruation.” Quite literally, menstruation is taboo.

This needs to change.

When so many women suffer pain, they shouldn’t have to do it in silence. They should have the support of other women as well as the men in their lives. Once more people understand and recognize menstrual pain and the productivity loss that comes with it, we can close another inch in the gender gap.

So let’s encourage more people to ask “do periods hurt?” And when they do, answer.


Emily Tung WG ’17, co-founder of Jubilee, an herbal supplement for menstrual pain, contributed to the reporting of this article.



  1. Pingback: xmt85c4wx5ctwxw3tcerthve56

  2. Pingback: http://falschgeldkaufen.blogspot.com/2017/01/wo-kann-ich-falschgeld-kaufen.html

  3. Pingback: severe alcoholism

  4. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد قسمت هشتم فصل دوم

  5. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد قسمت دوازدهم فصل دوم

  6. Pingback: قیمت پنجره

  7. Pingback: porn

  8. Pingback: دانلود قسمت دوازدهم عاشقانه

  9. Pingback: دانلود قسمت 10 شهرزاد دوم

  10. Pingback: Ana Foxxx

  11. Pingback: Abigail Mac

  12. Pingback: hampton bay ceiling fan blog

  13. Pingback: Paleo Diet

  14. Pingback: دانلود سریال عاشقانه

  15. Pingback: t-shirts med hunde motiver

  16. Pingback: دانلود قسمت پنجم شهرزاد دوم

  17. Pingback: دانلود ققسمت 12 عاشقانه

  18. Pingback: nba jerseys australia online

  19. Pingback: how to bypass windows 7 password

  20. Pingback: videos porno

  21. Pingback: videos porno

  22. Pingback: m2 irons australia

  23. Pingback: porno gratis

  24. Pingback: porno gratis

  25. Pingback: videos porno

  26. Pingback: شرکت تولیدی پنجره دوجداره

  27. Pingback: قیمت پنجره دوجداره

  28. Pingback: پنجره ضد سرقت ایرانی

  29. Pingback: love match for taurus man

  30. Pingback: پنجره دو سه جداره ساخت فروش در ایران

  31. Pingback: Acne Facial Treatments Davie

  32. Pingback: Acne Facial Treatments Wilton Manors

  33. Pingback: دانلود قسمت هفتم شهرزاد

  34. Pingback: clash royale hack website

  35. Pingback: Bandar Judi

  36. Pingback: پنجره

  37. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  38. Pingback: coin-banks trading

  39. Pingback: coin-banks review

  40. Pingback: coin-banks.com

  41. Pingback: coin-banks trading

  42. Pingback: sluchawki sharkoon

  43. Pingback: coin-banks exchange

  44. Pingback: coin-banks cryptocurrency

  45. Pingback: Porn

  46. Pingback: دانلود قسمت هشتم شهرزاد دوم

  47. Pingback: sur le m�me sujet

  48. Pingback: vpm

  49. Pingback: cheap golf clubs

  50. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد 13

  51. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  52. Pingback: دانلود شهرزاد قسمت سیزده 13

  53. Pingback: 16 دانلود شهرزاد

  54. Pingback: Marcie

  55. Pingback: Roofing Long Island

  56. Pingback: 食品

  57. Pingback: political polls twitter

  58. Pingback: قیمت پنجره دوجداره در ایران

  59. Pingback: دانلود

  60. Pingback: آموزش پنجره دوجداره

  61. Pingback: فروش توری پنجره

  62. Pingback: rent home

  63. Pingback: درب

  64. Pingback: دانلود

  65. Pingback: پنجره

  66. Pingback: قیمت پنجره دوجداره

  67. Pingback: https://profiles.wordpress.org/jorgedavidson/

  68. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  69. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  70. Pingback: buy weed online no medical card

  71. Pingback: viagra

  72. Pingback: garden bridges new york

  73. Pingback: Limo Rental Vancouver BC

  74. Pingback: buy proxies

  75. Pingback: دانلود

  76. Pingback: دانلود فیلم

  77. Pingback: window price

  78. Pingback: download best

  79. Pingback: window

  80. Pingback: for Kids

  81. Pingback: look these up

  82. Pingback: Learn Colors

  83. Pingback: پنجره

  84. Pingback: Learn colors

  85. Pingback: maintenance

  86. Pingback: mais informações

  87. Pingback: gay porn

  88. Pingback: live sex cams

  89. Pingback: karajupvc

  90. Pingback: دانلود فیلم

  91. Pingback: stainless steel chef

  92. Pingback: casinos online real money

  93. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  94. Pingback: download

  95. Pingback: garden bridges Los Angeles

  96. Pingback: garden bridges east coast

  97. Pingback: Lee

  98. Pingback: Judi Bola

  99. Pingback: personnel consultants

  100. Pingback: vape pen for wax

  101. Pingback: buylor

  102. Pingback: Elvis Presley Wedding Singer

  103. Pingback: buy porn collection google

  104. Pingback: ship car overseas

  105. Pingback: نهنگ عنبر

  106. Pingback: Agen Bola

  107. Pingback: Kasino Online

  108. Pingback: https://storify.com/jimstephenson20/following

  109. Pingback: https://storify.com/jimstephenson20

  110. Pingback: roro shipping rates

  111. Pingback: پنجره

  112. Pingback: he said

  113. Pingback: پنجره دوجداره

  114. Pingback: High chair cover

  115. Pingback: hot sex videos

  116. Pingback: gosexy

  117. Pingback: Limo Vancouver BC

  118. Pingback: real caller apk

  119. Pingback: Cologne

  120. Pingback: porn movie

  121. Pingback: look at this web-site

  122. Pingback: porno videos

  123. Pingback: game hack

  124. Pingback: دانلود

  125. Pingback: link98

  126. Pingback: فروش لینک

  127. Pingback: glass cleaner

  128. Pingback: Oddsmonkey

  129. Pingback: menoquil review

  130. Pingback: Infant car seat canopy

  131. Pingback: دانلود فیلم رگ خواب

  132. Pingback: avakin life hack apk

  133. Pingback: smart film

  134. Pingback: cases accessories

  135. Pingback: Gibson

  136. Pingback: Read This

  137. Pingback: Crush Boo Silicone Waterproof Powerful Compact Vibe Blue

  138. Pingback: http://biurocash1.blogginger.com/

  139. Pingback: it recycling

  140. Pingback: computer recycling manchester

  141. Pingback: saham.news

  142. Pingback: uk essays

  143. Pingback: mspy

  144. Pingback: xnxxx

  145. Pingback: cataluña es españa

  146. Pingback: Peter Schatzberg Miami

  147. Pingback: Schlüsseldienst

  148. Pingback: Ana Çıtlak Antep Fıstığı

  149. Pingback: hacklinks

  150. Pingback: buy google hacklink

  151. Pingback: dog products

  152. Pingback: oolong tea benefits

  153. Pingback: learn more

  154. Pingback: ceme99

  155. Pingback: satin al

  156. Pingback: Pinganillo

  157. Pingback: personal injury lawyer

  158. Pingback: anthony morrison

  159. Pingback: cool cup coasters

  160. Pingback: cheap iphone 6 case

  161. Pingback: clip hook set

  162. Pingback: porno

  163. Pingback: best porn site

  164. Pingback: instagram porn sale

  165. Pingback: porn sites

  166. Pingback: vakantiepark willingen

  167. Pingback: bitcoin

  168. Pingback: where to buy gynexol

  169. Pingback: nike air force 1 07

  170. Pingback: webxamine.com

  171. Pingback: sniffex.com

  172. Pingback: univest-corp.com

  173. Pingback: best porn sites

  174. Pingback: پنجره

  175. Pingback: shemales

  176. Pingback: michael kors australia

  177. Pingback: buy blueray porn hd

  178. Pingback: china-stores-online shop

  179. Pingback: Sexy

  180. Pingback: mobile phone accessories

  181. Pingback: financial freedom

  182. Pingback: bridesmaid dresses toronto

  183. Pingback: their explanation

  184. Pingback: use this link

  185. Pingback: bretelles amovibles

  186. Pingback: walmart1

  187. Pingback: relax massage

  188. Pingback: recommended you read

  189. Pingback: video excel

  190. Pingback: buy breast pump

  191. Pingback: fake gucci shoes

  192. Pingback: video excel

  193. Pingback: skin bleaching

  194. Pingback: linux dedicated servers

  195. Pingback: wedding gowns toronto

  196. Pingback: آینه بغل

  197. Pingback: http://sexmake.com/

  198. Pingback: buy viagra online

  199. Pingback: money

  200. Pingback: the best limos rental in Vancouver BC

  201. Pingback: wordpress help

  202. Pingback: ร้านทำผม สยาม

  203. Pingback: Free Chrome Extensions 2018

  204. Pingback: drone-works.com

  205. Pingback: jake burgess

  206. Pingback: bankruptcy lawyers

  207. Pingback: Skin Tags

  208. Pingback: Flower delivery singapore

  209. Pingback: תשמישי קדושה חב"ד לוד

  210. Pingback: מזוזות בלוד

  211. Pingback: cbd cannabinoid

  212. Pingback: dosgamesdownload.com

  213. Pingback: web site tasarimi

  214. Pingback: jake burgess

  215. Pingback: goods-china shop

  216. Pingback: vegas tours

  217. Pingback: 3 شهرزاد فصل سوم

  218. Pingback: xyz大補帖

  219. Pingback: Longchamp Outlet Online

  220. Pingback: https://medium.com/@aalus/deciding-on-the-proper-display-show-799fc8d750a5

  221. Pingback: life and health insurance

  222. Pingback: glutathione

  223. Pingback: gravity vortex