The reality is that boys and men don’t get a firsthand experience of what it means to have that time of the month and don’t fully understand menstruation. So it makes sense that men shouldn’t have an opinion on the matter. Period.
One dad went online seeking empathy for a menstrual situation with his stepdaughter, but he didn’t exactly get it.
Let’s Be Real: Periods Suck
You don’t have to experience one to know that they aren’t exactly fun.
Between the painful cramps, the tendency to increase acne, and the straight-up discomfort of bleeding for a week, it makes sense that periods aren’t a walk in the park.
However, Most Boys Don’t Know Much About Them
Unless they have a sister, girlfriend, or mother who’s very open about their monthly cycle, most boys grow up without any real understanding of periods and might even be grossed out about them.
That can continue on into adulthood.
One Stepfather Had Some Things To Say About It
This stepfather took to Reddit to share a story about an argument that went down in his household.
He wrote in hoping to get some sympathy from people online who would support his side of the story.
So What Exactly Happened?
The man had moved his new wife and her daughter into his house six months prior, following their wedding.
Before this, he had just been living with his three teenage sons.
He’s A Big Fan Of His Stepdaughter
He spoke well of his stepdaughter, a 19-year-old, who gets along well with his own kids.
He called her a good influence and a very kind young woman, and he really does enjoy having her around.
However, There Was One Issue
All four of the step-siblings share one bathroom.
One week, one of the sons came to his father to say that the step-sister disposes of her used period products in the trashcan in the bathroom without disguising what they are.
The Boys Have Never Really Had A Woman In The House
This father has had pretty much full custody of his sons for most of their lives, them being aged 18, 16, and 15 respectively.
They’ve never lived with a woman, so they were uncomfortable with seeing period products around.
He Decided To Bring It Up
While the stepdaughter was doing schoolwork at the kitchen table with her mother nearby, the stepfather decided to speak up.
He told them both that his sons were uncomfortable with her disposing of her period items openly in the bathroom trash can.
Her Mother Came To Her Defense
Her mother immediately laughed it off, saying that the concern was “rich coming from a man who sheds like a gorilla.”
The mom proceeded to explain that menstrual products can’t be flushed and that it’s wasteful for her daughter to fully bag and hide each one she has to throw out.
The Stepfather Wasn’t Happy About It
In a later conversation with his wife, he said that it was unfair to her to make his sons uncomfortable.
In response, the wife said that her daughter has had her period of almost 10 years and knows how to handle it. Instead, she proposed that the sons “get a grip.”
The People Of The Internet Did Not Lean In His Favor, Though
Most of the people said that he was being the jerk in this situation.
Instead of asking his stepdaughter to change her behavior, many suggested that his sons instead should be more sympathetic to her and get over it.
Others Pointed To The Impracticality Of Worrying About The Boys’ Discomfort
People pointed out that he can’t shield his sons from the realities of a period for the rest of their lives: eventually, they might have to live with other women.
Others mentioned that it wasn’t like the stepdaughter was being messy. In fact, she was doing exactly what one is supposed to do with used period products: throwing them out.
Harmony Was Restored In The End
To fix the situation, the mother and daughter put together a presentation—slideshow and all—on periods and had the male members of the house sit down and listen.
The sons and stepfather ended up apologizing to the stepdaughter, and all was right in the family.
Mom Encourages Sons To Carry Period Products In Their Backpacks In Case Their Female Friends Ever Need One
When a girl is in middle school or high school, life is already really complicated, and everything seems like it’s going to make or break the rest of your life. On top of this, we are all having our hormones raging and puberty finally kicking in, and that means the glorious beginnings of periods.
While most of us have tried to block it out of our memories, I’m sure we can all remember a time when our periods showed up unexpectedly and we weren’t quite prepared for that to happen yet.
It Takes About Three Years For A Period To Regulate
From the time a girl has her first period, it will take about three years for her body to regulate to the normal cycle of an adult, which is 21–34 days, and that’s only if you’re in the lucky 60% who actually get there.
Until then, cycles can range from anywhere between 20 to 45 days, making it hard to know for certain when it would be coming, especially if you’re just figuring out your body. Periods are already awful and unpredictable, but puberty periods are that times 10.
On Top Of That, There Are Issues Like Period Poverty
Period poverty is the lack of access to period products and education because they either can’t afford it or because they’ve never been given the proper “talk” from their parents. For a lot of people, the subject is so taboo that it isn’t discussed, or it’s thought to be something that men and boys shouldn’t have to deal with, which isn’t right.
A study conducted in 2019 stated that 92% of high school students reported needing period products at school but only 42% of schools offered them, and at a charge.
Part Of The Problem Is The “Tampon Tax”
The “Tampon Tax” refers to menstrual hygiene products being subject to value-added or sales tax, unlike other necessities.
Tampons and pads should be considered a necessity, and the fact that we pay tax on them, for some people, could make the difference between being able to afford them or not.
There Is One Woman Who Is Trying To Make A Difference
Tara Ahrens wants to do what she can to help address some of these issues, even if it’s only in a small way. She’s the mother of a 10-year-old daughter and two teenage sons.
She knew that if she talked with her boys about periods and the female body without stigma, she’d be doing something to help.
Here Are Her Sons, Micah, 15, and Elijah, 16
She posted this picture on Facebook with the caption, “My teenage boys helped me shop today, which included buying their little sister’s first bras…because breasts happen. Both boys carry a tampon and a pad in their backpacks in case one of their friends needs one. Just a mom out here, trying to erase gender taboo!!”
In an article she wrote on the subject, she said: “‘Bleed-throughs happen,’ I’ve explained to my boys. ‘They are mortifying and can be traumatizing. Kindness and understanding from ANY friend goes a long way. Be that person.'”
Both Boys Were Happy To Start Carrying Period Products
They told their friends that they had pads and tampons if they ever found they needed one, and they even went so far as to keep an extra sweater in their lockers in case a bleed-through happened and she had nothing to change in to.
Their friends were receptive, and even suggested they start keeping some in their car, too!
The Story Was Greeted With A Lot Of Praise
There were many women agreeing with Ahrens that more people needed to adopt this attitude, and normalizing periods will go a long way to addressing the other issues like the tampon tax and period poverty.
Women should not be made to feel weird about something their bodies do that is natural.
Others Weren’t So Sure
There were a lot of people, both men and women, who thought that men and boys had no place in the world of periods and went so far as to call it “creepy.”
It shouldn’t be a weird thing for people to want to help other people, right? What do you think?