From taxes and taboos, to mastering the art of hiding sanitary items up our sleeves on our way to the restroom, there is still way too much embarrassment and stigma swirling around a woman’s period. So the folks at V.Point, a London based news site, decided it was time to blow the lid off all things period with an in-your-face, conversation starting, myth busting campaign called #JustATampon.
Case in point, this campaign video that launched today. Watching how some people (men AND women) giggle, cringe and look away at the site of unused tampons rolling on the floor of London’s tube speaks volumes as to the level of visceral discomfort a harmless little wad of cotton with a string attached can trigger. Maybe that’s because throughout history menstruation has gotten a REALLY bad rap compliments of “ignorance from misinformation and misinformation from myths.”
V.Point’s Yomi Adegoke writes, “For women, periods are a pretty standard fare. A few days of cramping, a leak here and there, a touch of bloating and a lot of Netflix and then poof – it’s gone until next month.
But throughout history, many a ridiculous myth has been created, spread and believed by men who thought the only explanation for monthly minge bleeds was witchcraft.
If you think the ignorance toward menstruation is bad now, you’ll be glad to see how far we’ve come from these insane myths and legends.”
– As recently as 1919, Viennese Professor B. Schick put forward the idea that women’s menstrual blood contained a poison which he referred to as ‘menotoxin’. He believed it substantiated the myths that menstruating women caused wine to spoil and flowers to die.
– In Ancient Egypt, period blood was the then equivalent of ‘rest and lots of water’ – it was prescribed for absolutely everything. In medical recipes of the ‘Papyrus Ebers’, menstrual blood was used to perk up saggy boobs – it was ordered they “should be covered with menstrual blood and the woman’s belly and her thighs covered as well”, though it’s hard to tell if it ever worked from the hieroglyphics. Still, I guess it’s cheaper and probably actually less bloody than actual surgery. They also used menstrual blood as an ointment to protect newborn babies from demons. Say what you want about period blood but you can’t knock its apparent versatility.
– If you want to see a man scared witless about women’s periods, read Pliny the Elder’s ‘Natural History’. The Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher literally thought periods saw off hailstorms, whilst killing bees in their droves:
– During the eighteenth century in Saigon, women were forbidden from working in the opium industry. Why? Because it was strongly believed that if menstruating women came too close to the goods, the opium would spoil. The same went for Mexican silver mines, too.
– In the 1870’s, Dr. Edward H. Clark wrote in ‘Sex in Education or Fair Chance for Girls’ that “higher education would cause a woman’s uterus to atrophy.” Around the same time, girls were also discouraged from higher education because it was thought the blood from her womb would be diverted to her brain. This would, allegedly, permanently damage the reproductive system and, if she managed to bear children at all, cause them to be deformed or sickly.