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July 16, 2018 | by  | in The F Word | [ssba]

The “F” Word

Periods are part of the female reproductive system. They are vital for the beautiful and natural miracle of life to occur, however they have consistently been a taboo topic within our society. It is dangerous when topics become taboo, as it halts much needed conversations, and creates a stigma.
So how do we avoid this stigma and disgust people feel over something so important? We must start the discourse by actually talking about menstruation. Does this mean we must force menstruation into everyone’s faces, so we have no choice but to talk about it?

In May earlier this year, the University of Otago Students Magazine Critic published a menstruation issue with a close-up, cartoon image of a menstruating woman’s vagina. The night of the release of the issue, all copies were removed by University campus watch staff. There are claims that there was public backlash against the issue because it was “objectionable” and young children may see it. Because one of the natural processes that lead to their existence is so offensive, right?
The illustrator of the image, Saskia Rushton-Green, hoped some people would “find it empowering”. The removal of the issue is not only disrespectful to the team that worked hard to produce the issue, but it is detrimental to anyone who menstruates, as it encourages the social stigma around female menstruation.
It begs the question as to whether Victoria University staff would respond any differently if Salient released a similar issue. The more we are exposed to forbidden things, the more we can start talking about them to remove the taboo.


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