The Clue Ambassador Program is a community of people from all over the world using their voices to open the conversation around menstrual health.
We caught up with a few of our ambassadors about period taboos. Here's what they had to say:
Where are you from? Sydney, Australia
What's your profession? Student
What's your favorite thing to track in Clue? Bleeding
What are period taboos in your culture/country, and how have they affected your life? It's common to feel uncomfortable buying pads and tampons in stores, even though menstrual cycles are nothing to be ashamed of. This used to affect me when I first got my period and led to me ask someone else to buy pads and tampons for me. When I started buying them for myself, I would put them at the bottom of my shopping basket and hide them from view because I was worried about people knowing I was on my period. I also spent the least amount of time possible picking out pads and tampons in the store because I felt uncomfortable.
During high school when my friends and I had our periods, we would give each other what we call "spot checks." This involved standing up from our seats at the end of class and having our friend walk directly behind us to check if we had a period stain on the back of our school dresses. The plan was that if we did, we would discreetly let the other person know and walk very closely behind them to the bathroom to get rid of the stain. The thought of having a period stain on the back of our school dresses was mortifying and very anxiety-inducing.
What can be done to break down period taboos? Education is paramount. The more people know that menstrual cycles are an integral part of everyday life, and that periods aren't gross and shameful, the more we can break down period taboos. Clue helps to educate people by providing referenced information about menstrual cycles, PMS, contraceptive methods, and heaps more. Clue also has a men's guide to menstruation to include men in the conversation and further break down the taboo.
Where are you from? Las Vegas, NV
What's your profession? Application Systems Analyst
What's your favorite thing to track in Clue? My favorite things to track are the various vitality options, particularly energy and motivation. Tracking helps me identify how fluctuations in my mentality and productivity correlate to my period and other activities. This is endlessly useful in helping me predict and prepare for bouts of fatigue or stress.
What are period taboos in your culture/country, and how have they affected your life? My first experience with the female reproductive cycle came from a movie in elementary school because my mom never had the "period" talk. By the time I began to menstruate, I was discouraged from using tampons because of the myth that it "steals" virginity. It wasn't until I was 16 that I learned my urethra and vagina were not the same thing. All of this resulted in me not having a clear understanding of my body, proper menstrual hygiene, or alternate collection methods.
What can be done to break down period taboos? We can encourage adults to speak openly and honestly with adolescents (both male and female) about the female reproductive system. Telling kids that it's inappropriate to call genitals by their true name only teaches them that they're not supposed to talk about it, and the cycle will never break.
Where are you from? Cambridge, Canada
What's your profession? Student
What's your favorite thing to track in Clue? I really like that I can track PMS as well as other symptoms like skin, bowel movements, etc. It's really helpful for me to look at any new patterns that come up and to know whether I should be concerned about my health or just need to change an aspect of my lifestyle.
What are period taboos in your culture/country, and how have they affected your life? People are very secretive and hush hush about menstrual health or pretty much anything related to reproductive organs or sex. I would love if we could be more open about these topics and recognize that everyone has the same parts. We shouldn't feel embarrassed to ask questions about it when we get the chance. This has actually encouraged me to pursue a career in which I can provide counseling to people struggling with sexuality. I would like to set an example by openly discussing more sensitive topics and educating others who struggle with these types of issues.
What can be done to break down period taboos? What can Clue do to help? People simply need to talk about it more. When people hear others say words like "period", "menstruation" and "vagina", then they will feel more comfortable saying them out loud too. Clue can help with this by encouraging discussion amongst people on the internet. People always feel more comfortable sharing online so that would be a good starting point.