How #TweetYourPeriod Is Shutting Down Period Shaming

Photographed by Tayler Smith.
Even though half of the world's population will menstruate at some point in their lives, it's still generally considered impolite to talk about your time of the month in public.

That's why Twitter users are chiming in with #TweetYourPeriod and #RedSummer to break down the stigma surrounding menstruation by live-tweeting what happens during their periods.

The hashtags picked up steam after Twitter user Risa Pappas wrote a post on her blog calling for more open discussion about periods.

"Why [do] commercials for period products feature blue water?" she writes. "I'll be 30-years-old on Thursday, and not once has blue water come out of me, no matter how many Blue Hawaiians I drink. The narrative of our menses is largely hushed out of popular cultural space."

As a result, she tells Bustle, "There are young girls, even some adult women, who have questions they're afraid to ask."

She's right; according to a 2012 United Nations study, one out of three girls in South Asia knew nothing about menstruation before getting her first period. And not getting enough education about periods can be harmful. Those who suffer from endometriosis (a disorder that involves painful periods), for example, can have a hard time seeking help when they need it, because issues surrounding menstruation are too taboo to bring up.

"Shame and stigma around periods from family or culture can impact the delay [in seeking help]," Arielle Dance, an endometriosis advocate who is working toward her PhD in Integrative Medicine, told Refinery29 in April. "Women are less likely to seek help for discomfort when their family never talks about periods."

Thankfully, the hashtags #TweetYourPeriod and #RedSummer are making room for a healthy, open discussion about everything that happens to your body during menstruation, from food cravings to bloating and blood clots.

Pappas also told Bustle that the hashtags are about more than just menstruation — they're also about breaking down stereotypes regarding what femininity should look like.

"There's also this denial of women's personhood that I've noticed," she says. "Guys hold women to this standard, this concept of being 'ladylike.' They want women to be otherworldly beauties, wonderful and rare, like unicorns. But we're not. We fart. And urinate and defecate and bleed. It's time we acknowledged that, and these hashtags are a great start."

Check out some awesome #TweetYourPeriod and #RedSummer tweets below — and perhaps get inspired to write your own.

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