Newsweek's latest cover makes a bold statement about periods — and how talking about them shouldn't be considered bold at all, since they are a normal and necessary bodily function for half of the world's population.
It's about time.
The stigma and shame that surrounds women's periods, as Abigail Jones's cover story notes, has a pervasive negative impact on women's lives. That ranges from everyday embarrassments and indignities like lousy tampon machines that don't work in women's restrooms, to more severe consequences like girls in the developing world dropping out of school once they start menstruating. Women's periods are routinely used as a weapon to mock them as emotionally unstable, as we saw with Donald Trump's "blood coming out of her wherever" comments about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
All of this is why more feminists are speaking out and conducting activism around periods, from bloody Instagram photos and marathon runs to pushing to repeal sales taxes on tampons. The fight against period stigma has also intersected with the fight against abortion stigma, with women calling Indiana Gov. Mike Pence to talk about their periods in protest over a bizarre new anti-abortion law that would require them to bury or cremate the results of a miscarriage.
"When girls first start their periods, they embark on a decades-long journey of silence and dread," Jones writes. But as feminist icon Gloria Steinem famously satirized, the opposite would probably be true if men could menstruate — they'd "brag about how long and how much," and generally use it as an excuse to justify their dominance.
For women, though, period stigma is used to justify discrimination against them. Kudos to Newsweek for drawing more attention to that.