In the speech presented to ISB HS students during assemblies, I used various appeals, diction, simile, and tone to convince the audience that period shaming is a serious problem too often ignored. I appealed to ethos and pathos by sharing a personal anecdote “…Oooh Becky is on her lady days, no wonder why she is so moody.” I gained credibility because I have been shamed before and know what it feels like to be the victim. In fact, I was driven to write about this topic because the vivid, embarrassing memory allowed me to realize that a change is needed. Moreover, this anecdote stirred feelings of empathy by revealing the stigma in our society and how it is affecting girls. I appealed to logos when I implemented statistics, “In more than 190 countries, there are about 5,000 slang words for period,” identifying period as a global taboo and society’s unacceptance of it, because euphemisms are made so that people could avoid directly saying the word.
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Thus, by using slang words, it is easier for boys to joke at girls’ discomfort. Diction was used when I said, “…boys would finally realize that periods are not gross or dirty.” The negative, ugly adjectives emphasize the disgrace around periods and illustrate the unrespectful manner boys use when addressing the topic. I also used simile by comparing girls hiding their sanitary products to an FBI agent, referring to the secretive, adept actions, and the fear of getting mocked if someone finds out. Lastly, by developing a strong and almost imperative tone through a call-to-action conclusion, “Say no to period shaming; let us strive for gender equality by respecting girls and their bodies!” it convinced the audience to rectify their actions and stop period shaming. To summarize, I effectively persuaded the audience to respect girls and their bodies.
Once every month, I feel like a top-secret FBI agent. With quick and swift moves, I grabbed a pad tucked in the innermost layer of my backpack and hid it in my sleeve. Unluckily, I failed the “mission.” The pad slid down from my sleeve and landed effortlessly in front of a male classmate. I gulped, my heart raced, and the room suddenly became really hot. He came close and asked me, “What is this, a pad?” My mind told me to just say yes, but somehow, I struggled to say it out loud. The boy thought I did not hear him, so he repeated loud enough for everyone to hear, “Is this a pad that dropped out of your sleeve?” As if things could not get any worse, someone added, “Oooh Becky is on her lady days, no wonder why she is so moody…”
I remember the day when I first got my period, my mother told me four words, “Do not tell anyone.” With that incident, I was made fun off and I felt ashamed, but none of that would happen if nobody knew I was on my period, right? NO! 58% of girls feel embarrassed from just being on their period, and 42% have experienced period shaming (shethinx.com). Have you ever wondered why so many girls worldwide are affected by something their body does naturally? And have you thought of why boys tease and bully girls about it?
Here is the answer: periods are considered taboos. In more than 190 countries, there are about 5,000 slang words for period (clue.com). Boys have misconceptions about periods, and girls feel too uncomfortable to correct them. There is a lack of social transparency, resulting in period shaming.
Boys, in your life, you will encounter girls on their periods needing sanitary products and feeling cramps; shaming them is not the solution We can fix this by letting both genders have sex education together, because it provides them the opportunity to communicate sensitive topics together and learn from each other’s perspective. As classmates and friends, make an effort to ensure that the school environment makes the females around you feel safe. At home, provide support to your female family members. If both genders are willing to take the time to care and learn about this topic, it will significantly reduce the number of upsetting jokes made, and boys would finally realize that periods are not gross or dirty.
Period shaming leaves the impression that girls should keep their periods as a secret; however, if you think about it, periods are so important that our entire human reproduction relies on it. You and I would not even be here without girls menstruating every month! Having no period shaming means that understanding and empathy are developed. It would be a step towards gender equality and the establishment of a friendlier society because girls would no longer be marked with disgrace. Say no to period shaming; let us strive for gender equality by respecting girls and their bodies!
Brannagan, Toni. “How You Can Overcome Period Shame.” Thinx, Thinx Inc, 19 Sept. 2018, https://www.shethinx.com/blogs/thinx-womens-health/overcome-period-shame-swns-infographic
“Menstrual Euphemisms by Language.” Clue, Clue, 24 Feb. 2020, https://helloclue.com/articles/culture/top-euphemisms-for-period-by-language
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