People are taking to social media to share their period stories – from tales of embarrassment around leaking and tampons spilling out of bags onto the floor, to endometriosis diagnoses and debilitating pain.
The aim of the #FreePeriodStories movement, launched by period poverty activist Amika George, is to reduce the stigma around menstruation – if you’re still hiding a tampon up your sleeve to walk to the office toilet then that’s a sure-fire sign that stigma is alive and well.
“From a young age, we’ve been told to whisper about them, say as little as possible on the subject to anyone, even our friends. We deal with them alone,” George told the BBC. “We need to change the narrative that they are gross, and that periods are not something for discussion in a public space.”
Talking about periods can only be a positive thing. It means young women will have more knowledge and less confusion when they do start menstruating. It means those experiencing severe symptoms will feel empowered to seek help. It means people will feel less ashamed about what is a completely normal aspect of a woman’s life.
Here are nine important things women want you to know about periods.