Let's rethink our reactions to periods to help fight period shame

Periods are a fact of life.

Yet, the shame that surrounds them is still a major issue in the UK with only 38% of society admitting to talking openly about the topic1.

Even when periods are talked about, they are often trivialised or dismissed. Recent research reveals that 2 out of 5 young people have been shamed or teased because of their period2. And 68% of young people have been made to feel dirty, gross, or ashamed because of somebody else's negative reaction to their period3.

As a result, young people are shying away from moments that matter and that help to build their confidence. A staggering 85% of young people have tried to hide the fact they're on their period from those around them3. And 1 in 5 avoid after school activities, going to the gym, or visiting their friend's houses when they're on their period4.

Periods happen but period shaming shouldn't.

Always is helping fight period shame by:

  • Continuing to listen & learn from people's experiences & how we can help.
  • Providing Information and resources designed to help tackle period shaming.
  • Helping spark conversations about periods through our new #RethinkYourReaction campaign and collaborations with influencers, activists and retail partners.
  • Continuing our Always About You School Programme which provides free puberty & period education, reaching over half a million young people and their parents & careers last year.
  • Supporting young people to fight against period shame and promote positive conversations in their school and local communities.

How YOU can help fight period shame

  1. Get educated!


    The more we know, the easier it is to talk about periods. Click below to learn more:
1st period - what to expect

1st period -
what to expect

PMS & cramps

PMS &
cramps

Period FAQs

Period
FAQs

Finding the right pad

Finding the
right pad

Track your period

Track your
period

Tips for parents

Tips for
parents

  1. Call a period, a period.


    Phrases link 'aunt flo' or 'that time of the month' can imply that there's something to be hidden or ashamed of about periods.
  2. Try not to hide periods away.


    Shopping for period products? Don't feel you need to hide them at the bottom of your basket. Experiencing cramps and want to stay home? Let your friend know! The more we can treat periods as an everyday part of life the better.
  3. Avoid making period jokes.


    Whilst nearly 1 in 3 believe period jokes are harmless fun1, they're causing young people to feel self-conscious, embarrassed, and less confident2.
  4. Watch your body language.


    Making "a disgusted face" or rolling your eyes when someone mentions a period can have negative impact.

Are you a parent? Check out these extra tips:

  1. Start talking about periods from an early age so your child is prepared for the changes they'll experience. Need more information? Click here.
  2. Explain that periods are a natural bodily function - not something that needs to be hidden or ashamed of.
  3. Create an open-door policy, so they know they can always come to you. If you don't know the answer to their question, that's ok! Just be sure to go back to them once you've got it.
  4. Help them try different period products, so they can find the one that makes them feel the most comfortable & confident. Many young people start by using pads because they're so easy to use! Try our tool to help them find their perfect Always pad.
  5. Help them track their cycle & be prepared for their period:
  • Encourage them to use the Always Period calculator.
  • Give them some period products to put in their school bag or locker.
  • Encourage them to use a pantyliner in the days running up to their period.

Always supports young people tackling period shame

As part of our Rethink Your Reaction campaign, Always is providing free materials to schools to spark debate and empower secondary school students to come up with grassroot ideas & actions to tackle period shame in their schools & local communities.

Students are encouraged to submit their ideas to Always for the chance to win funding for implementation and a change-maker starter kit!

For more information, and if you're a student or a teacher interested in participating in this programme, click here, or send an email to rethinkyourreaction@nationalschoolspartnership.com.

References

  1. Online survey, Glocalities '20, 18-70 y.o., UK n=1043
  2. Online survey, SurveyMonkey '20, 13-17 y.o., UK n=2030
  3. Online survey, OnePoll ’21, 12-17 y.o., UK n=500
  4. Online survey, OnePoll '19, 10-18 y.o. with periods, UK n=500
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