Is menstruation too embarrassing to talk about? Not when you’re asking this famous lot. Singers, comedians, actresses and former presidential candidates speak up against the taboo on menstruation.
American comedian Amy Schumer is famous for her bold approach when tackling awkward situations. Legendary is her reply to the standard red carpet-question ‘What are you wearing?’ at the 2016 Emmy Awards. Her answer: ‘Vivienne Westwood, Tom Ford and o.b.’
Let’s start off in the right way. Hillary Clinton, former candidate for the American presidency, openly spoke out about the importance of sanitary products for all women. A big contradiction compared to her concurrent Donald Trump… He said FOX News host Megyn Kelly ‘had blood flowing out of her wherever’ when she hit him hard in a debate.
Singer Alanis Morissette posted a long article on her website in which, among others, tv-host Ricky Lake explained the consequences of the menstruation taboo. Moral of the story: the more women talk about menstruation and their bodies, the more they know about it and the more they can take care of themselves.
Talking about menstruation isn’t necessarily something from the 21st century. Country singer Dolly Parton already sang about the PMS Blues in 1994. ‘You make us hate our husbands, our lovers and our boss. Why I can’t even count the good friends I’ve already lost? Cause of PMS blues!’ Want to sing along? Click on the link.
British tennis player Annabel Croft and TV host Carol Smillie developed a leak-proof underwear range. They’re not really speaking out against the taboo – even worse: they write about ‘embarrassing period leaks’ – but they do try to make menstruation a little more comfortable. In their own opinion they’re breaking the menstrual taboo though: ‘Why do we have lingerie shops on every street corner, but can’t we talk about menstruation?’
She only got really famous afterwards: American Kiran Gandhi ran the London marathon last year without a tampon while being on her period. Because running with a tampon isn’t comfortable, but also because she wanted to draw attention to the fact that many women in the world don’t have access to menstrual hygiene products. Pictures of her bloody pants went viral. Did it have the right result? Although Gandhi got a lot of criticism, that didn’t matter to her. ‘It’s a natural process, let’s get normal about it.’
Actress and comedian Lena Dunham tackles many women’s issues. Feminism, sex, pimples and of course also menstruation. She wrote a hilarious book, acted in and created the series Girls and launched the feminist newsletter Lenny Letter. In this letter she wrote about her endometriosis, a disease that causes tissue that lines the inside of the womb to to also grow outside the uterus. Dunham’s story isn’t uncommon; one in ten women suffer from endometrioses, which can also cause infertility. Another taboo shattered? Maybe not entirely, but at least a little bit.