I got my period in year nine.
I remember agonising over when I would get mine. EVERY OTHER GIRL seemed to have it except me and I would pour over Girlfriend and Dolly magazines to read stories from other girls and health professionals, needing to assure myself that I was normal.
Thankfully, I was.
It came one morning and I remember feeling elated. I had joined the Red club, I was becoming a woman – fuck yeah, I was a boss now. Life was going to go up from here. I would ooze confidence and maybe my acne would clear up because my hormones would level out. I’d be grown-up enough to have boys start taking me seriously and people would see a noticeable change in me.
Pfft. 14-year-old Hannah was on crack, clearly.
All those dreams were dashed pretty fucking quick, when I realised getting my period was anything but life-changing. Nothing amazing happened and getting cramps, being even more moody and dealing with the fact that blood was coming out of my vagina (an area I honestly didn’t know a lot about at that age) was, in a word, shit.
And trying to navigate sanitary items? Fuck me. Remember wearing a pad for the first time? Christ on a wheel – that fucking thing made you feel like you were waddling with an actual tail. And tampons? Sweet Jesus. I can’t even remember how many failed attempts I went through before I successfully used one. Even just buying the bloody things was mortifying. Ugh.
It wasn’t a great time, but I learned to live with it.
And now it’s just second nature. It comes every month (thank God), my cramps are minimal and I no longer die with embarrassment when standing in front of the sanitary selection. I also learned that most males didn’t want to hear about it because “it’s gross” and when they did refer to it, it was usually to pay an insult to their mates:
- “Oh I’m sorry Adam, did you need a tampon?”
- “Aww have you got your period Ben?”
- “You’re moody today, that time of the month Chris?”
You know the drill.
Look, to be fair, that sort of attitude has come a long way and I’ve found that a lot of my male friends don’t really care as much as they did when I was younger. Chicks tend to talk about it without batting an eyelid and as you get older, everyone (women and men) seem to agree that it’s something normal, healthy and a part of life for females.
Enter the latest Libra advertisement.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the shortened Aussie version of the #bloodnormal ad below. The original version is just over two minutes long online here.
My train of thought when I first saw this ad went something like: “whoaaa they’re stepping up the ads in Australia” … “fuck yeah, about bloody time we talked about it normally” … “uh-oh people are getting upset about yet another thing that probably doesn’t really matter.”
Look I get it. People are comparing it to the likes of other “natural occurrences” and arguing that just because a woman’s period is normal, it doesn’t mean they need to see during primetime. E.g. if we’re showing blood on television, does that mean we should be showing faeces and semen and other natural occurrences that are deemed taboo to show during prime television?
So much rage.
Like I said, I get it. But I don’t agree with the rage.
And maybe that’s because I am a woman. Because I remember how fucking awkward it was in the early years. When you’re so unsure and you’re trying to figure out what the fuck is going on, but are too scared to ask questions because it’s “taboo” and “not appropriate to talk openly about”. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen and experienced the same things that are shown in that advertisement:
- Blood seeping through to your underwear.
- The worries of swimming whilst on your period.
- Having to dig around for a pad or tampon and traipse to the bathroom.
- Dealing with raging emotions.
- Having painful cramps.
- The stupid, insulting jokes I’ve heard time and time again from members of the opposite sex.
- Wishing you could be honest about the reason you’re calling in sick – cos your uterus feels like it’s shredding and it fucking hurts.
Maybe that’s why my final opinion on it ended on “so what?” Maybe the fact that it there is a stigma around it and in some cultures, it’s completely forbidden to discuss, makes me think “you all need to get the fuck over it”. Like these people:
#bloodISnormal and it’s about time we at least start the conversation.
Why does it have to be something that grosses you out and makes your family recoil in disgust? Why can’t we start normalising it for every young girl who is struggling with the battle? As a female, your period is coming whether you like it or not, so acting like it doesn’t exist, or hushing it up, or not talking about it because it makes you uncomfortable, isn’t a good enough reason for me.
And hey, maybe you disagree.
Maybe all the old-school people will think it’s inappropriate and maybe those who get squeamish will always think it’s gross. But I am here for this ad. And for changing things up in a healthy way. And for helping women get through things more easily. For helping us progress, for making the road to adulthood a little easier. Because whilst we’ve come a long way, things can still be really fucking hard as a female and this is one of the things that shouldn’t be.
Blood is normal. Deal with it.