If men had periods…

3 min read
Manpons pack from WaterAid's If Men Had Periods video
Image: WaterAid

Around half the population will never know what it's like to have a period. Our If Men Had Periods videos imagine what the world would be like if they did. Film-maker Tadg O'Keeffe lists just some of the ways certain stigmas would be turned on their heads.

Periods. There it is, right there on the screen! How does it make you feel? Awkward? Embarrassed? Like you'd want to run from the room screaming if someone started talking about their monthly bleed?

Now imagine how you'd be feeling if men had periods instead of women. We think it would be pretty different – in six significant ways.

1. The monthly bleed would be a sign of manliness!

If men menstruated, periods wouldn't be awkward or embarrassing – they'd be equated with power and virility. Men would boast about theirs around the water cooler, and pat each other on the back for overcoming another gruelling, monthly battle against nature – just like this:

2. Coming on would be celebrated

Unlike women, menstruating men wouldn't be barred from places of worship. Instead, periods would be celebrated by religions around the world, with special ceremonies to mark a boy’s first period and welcome him into manhood, and prayers dedicated to relieving cramps.

3. Periods would be called… periods!

In Belgium, 'Mary is visiting'. In France, it's 'strawberry season'. In Finland, it's 'jam week', while in the UK, we get a visit from 'Aunt Flo' – all so we don’t have to use the word 'period'. But if men menstruated, the euphemisms would be out the door and a period would be, well, a period.

4. Sportsmen would take their periods seriously – very seriously

No patronising eye-rolls here. Instead, sportsmen and their periods would become nothing short of a science, with trainers getting teammates to live together to coordinate their cycles before a big match and bookies factoring monthly bleeds into their odds on players' performances. You can just imagine it, can't you…

5. Sanitary items would be a human right

Forget taxing sanitary products as luxury items. They’d be available on the NHS and included in international aid packages alongside food, water and medicine, because 'no man should have to suffer the indignity of being denied proper menstrual hygiene support'.

6. Tampon adverts would be turbo-charged

Say goodbye to strange blue liquids. Instead, men would be queuing up to try the latest, extra-strength, triple-moulded tampons, designed by top scientists and guaranteed to get you straight out of the starting blocks. Don't believe us? Let us help you picture it:

An end to stigma and taboo?

These might have made you smile – but the reality is that, around the world, millions of girls and women lack the water and toilets they need to manage their periods. And it’s costing them their health, their education and their dignity.

Just check out this incredible photo series from young women in Nepal whose lives change radically every time their period comes around.

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