By Lilly La Salle
To the women and girls reading this, have you had the “puberty talk” in elementary school and the teachers separated you from the boys? I have been in this same place, and all students should be required to learn the same information, girls hearing what the educators teach the boys, and boys hearing what the girls are taught. Namely, boys need to be educated on periods.
In our society, a woman’s period can be spoken about as if it’s a disease, when the real occurrences are kept hidden from many men. Boys are let off the hook during most sex ed talks offered in schools, often getting let out to break early or given time to complete their homework when their female classmates are kept in to learn about their “changing bodies” and how they must be discrete and secretive about the developments occuring in their body. When someone has their period and finds themselves without a tampon or pad, it is an unspoken rule among women that we must ask at a whisper to not make anyone else uncomfortable with knowing what we are going through. Girls need to have knowledge that their male classmates know what is going on and that they support them, that means that girls can casually ask for a tampon like they are asking for a pencil in their learning environments.
The term PMSing is used when a woman is portrayed as aggressive, annoyed, assertive, pushy, bossy, irrational, emotional, confident, knowing what they want, getting what they need, and men (sometimes other women) use it as a shutdown to say that what the woman is saying is not important because of what is going on in her body. If boys were taught from a young age what periods are, there would be less misconceptions about women’s menstruation. When approached with an attitude of normality when teaching children about menstruation, we then promote the idea that people can talk openly about the problems women face when on their cycle. According to www.healthline.com, 90% of women have some form of menstruation symptoms, and 32-40% of women witness cramping pain so great they are unable to attend school or work. With all of this happening we tend to blanket the issues with the saying, “It’s just their time of the month.”
Future generations will look back and think,”What are they doing? These people have not educated their youth about women’s health!”, because it is not, and will not be only women who have to deal with period problems. All young boys and men have a sister, mom, aunt, friend, girlfriend, niece, cousin, coworker, and wife that will experience a period. We can’t leave them in the dark and expect the issue to resolve itself. When we educate them on menstruation, they may then be able to buy or offer a tampon or pad to a female without dying of embarrassment in the process. We have come to be more open to the idea of periods being normal daily lives than in the past, but requiring boys to be educated about the topic will move us forward to being more united in a world of challenges.
About the Author
Lilly La Salle is a Sophomore at JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano. There, she is Vice President of her Sophomore class and a member of the Water Polo team. In her free time she loves doing puzzles, reading, and watching Parks and Recreation. She received the GRIT award during her Water Polo season, and she made the Dean’s list with a 4.0 in both semesters