ten years after the establishment, the taboos persist!

Between painful daily life and economic precariousness, there are still many things left unsaid regarding periods.


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Seven million women in France suffer from severe pain every month during their periods, according to an Ifop survey published in 2021. (photo illustration) (KRISANAPONG DETRAPHIPHAT / MOMENT RF)

May 28 is World Period Day. The date was not chosen at random, since a menstrual cycle has 28 days and women’s blood flows on average five days per month, May being the fifth month of the year. An international day established 10 years ago to fight against taboos around female menstruation. Taboos which still persist today as evidenced by this study by the Règles Elementaryes association, released this week, which reveals that 40% of female football players do not feel comfortable talking about it and regularly fail for this reason. matches and training, the silence turning into absence.

A taboo inherited from the Romans for whom menstrual blood was a poison, capable of making wine sour, dogs enraged or bees die. Don’t we still say today in France that a woman having her period should never make mayonnaise otherwise she will fail it? The blood that flows from women’s bodies was enough to demonize them, to the point that half of them always feel ashamed when their periods arrive without warning.

You only have to see them, these women, getting up at full speed to ask other women for help, whispering, while time is running out, while tampons and napkins are circulating under the coat, these enemies intimates often full of chemicals, which we hide in our sleeves or in our loved ones while rushing discreetly to the toilet. To cover up the obvious.

More and more artists are denouncing shame and silence. This is the case of the Canadian poet Rupi Kaur who published in 2014 on Instagram a photo of her on her bed, pants and mattress stained with blood. Small, discreet tasks but which led to the photo being deleted, twice. “Thank you to Instagram for reacting exactly the way my work was created,” Rupi Kaur then declared. That is to say, to denounce the desire to make women’s daily lives invisible. A precarious daily life, nearly two million women in France do not have the means to buy hygienic protection.

A daily life that is also painful since seven million women suffer from severe pain every month, according to an Ifop survey published in 2021. The taboos persist, if the menstrual leave projects, already established in Spain, have been systematically rejected in France, in the National Assembly and the Senate, the menstrual revolution is well and truly underway, as Élise Thibaut writes in her book this is my blood. One revolution at a time “bloody and pacifist”, to break taboos, so that women never again have to be ashamed of losing a little blood. So that this blood in advertisements for sanitary protection is no longer hypocritically represented in blue, as if all women were Smurfettes, and so that a columnist no longer has to wonder if getting into the skin of periods is not a good idea. isn’t a bit bold.

In short, so that all women can one day ask loud and clear, in the open space, at the swimming pool or in the locker rooms: does anyone have a tampon?

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