For most of history, young women's perceptions of their periods—and how they manage them—have been almost solely influenced by their close environments and the generations before them. Menstruation has long been a topic only discussed privately at home or between close friends and otherwise portrayed as an embarrassing or even gross monthly affair.
And surprisingly, the process of menstruation is still viewed as a taboo topic in many societies and cultures throughout the world, leaving little room for open-mindedness around a bodily process that is, after all, completely natural. It's not uncommon for women to experience self-consciousness when buying menstrual products at the store or for young girls to have their first period without fully understanding what's happening because it's so seldom discussed.
When it comes to communication, technology changes everything.
But the millennial generation—unlike any in the past—has the opportunity to share and absorb views about their bodies in a new way. Since young women are now getting the majority of their information over the internet, through social media, blogs, and online forums, they are in the unique position to influence and connect with one another about their experiences like never before.
Growing up in a society where you can reach and communicate with people all over the world is an important position not available to previous generations. That means every thought and belief of young people today has the ability to reach a bigger audience and make a potentially larger impact on those around us. Topics such as menstruation that were "off limits" before can now be shared more freely with peers, creating new conversations.
Welcome to the new, unapologetic approach to menstruation.
As teens and young adults read and share information with one another outside of the home, we are now seeing an exciting move in female empowerment beginning with the millennial generation. At the forefront of this movement are people like Bree Farmer, an 18-year-old YouTuber who unapologetically approaches female body topics in a way that demonstrates the changing attitudes of modern young people. Bree encourages young women to stop worrying about what others think and embrace the current body they live in—and that includes having a great period. These types of influencers are inspiring women to have a better period and extending a sense of comfort and openness to women about their menstrual cycles.
This is a powerful social mission led by our younger generations.
This movement shouldn't be overlooked. It approaches menstruation as a conversation, an exploration, and with a focus on the well-being of women everywhere. As we become more informed and encouraged as young women to speak freely about our experiences and remove the fear of judgment, so begins a more powerful overall perception of the feminine in our culture.
Better access to external outlets for young women to be transparent about and comfortable with their bodies—and their natural bodily processes—is a great opportunity for change at a level we didn't have before.
By becoming more open about periods and how they're experienced, we can improve the world by finding out how we as women, can best support women—because periods have been a part of the female existence forever, and it's about time we break the silence and speak more publicly about a topic that never should have become taboo in the first place.