I Hereby Start the Game

Hey everyone and welcome to the Period Stories blog where you can follow the film's journey onto the big screen.

Today, I've taken the first step and published the video below, in which I share my most embarrassing period story. Have a look and I'll explain more...

I've always considered myself a fairly open person, even to the extent of over-sharing. After watching my video, this should be evident. But before I decided to make this documentary one taboo remained and that was my periods. It culminated in me referring to it as "my feminine problem" whenever I had to tell my boyfriend I was menstruating. "Feminine problem"?? Seriously?

Today that seems ridiculous to me. Last fall, when I decided that I wanted to make this documentary, I made a conscious decision to tell it like it is when it came to periods. Whenever I was in a situation where I normally would’ve worked my way around the subject, I straight up told that I was having my period – no matter who was listening.

What followed really surprised me. The embarrassment that I was used to feeling was in no way derived from reality. Most people, including guys, took the matter much like I had simply said that I had a headache. And that is exactly the way anyone should take it – after all headaches and periods are both completely normal, everyday things.

But there were haters too. I know some people aren’t abashed at all about periods. That's great. But I also know that for some people keeping menstruation somewhat a taboo is not a problem at all. To these people I want to say: First of all, no, menstruation is not comparable to defecating. Second of all, I honestly don't see why even pooping shouldn’t be a topic of discussion. And third of all, no, there are no "biological factors" that just force you to forever be made uncomfortable by periods or feces and whatnot.

I have come to believe that these attitudes are a product of culture and can be changed by talking. After I started discussing periods openly, the whole matter has become increasingly neutral to me. I was faced with a situation where I had to clean up someone else's gooey period blood from the bathroom wall (yes, wall...), and whilst I did feel mildly grossed out I was also somewhat amused. I'm not saying that talking about it will make someone else's blood not gross at all, and that is not the point. The point is that you can feel grossed out but you don't have to feel uncomfortable. Because this is something normal.

There's a really long history behind the menstrual taboo that I won't get into here, but I will say this: Menstrual taboo remains a tool in the oppression of menstruators in some cultures. Therefore talking about it is crucial – I for one refuse to be ashamed for menstruating.

I've now started the game by sharing my story, and I hope that you will join me in this, and send me your period story video to be included in the final documentary film. Let's take the social stigma out this subject together once and for all.

The documentary is produced by Metropolia University of Applied Sciences in cooperation with UN Women – Finland National Committee.