Thoughts on Periods and Free-bleeding

Recently, a lot of stories have been cropping up about women who choose to free-bleed. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this term, it basically does what it says on the tin and refers to women who bleed freely whilst on their period.
The Urban Dictionary describes free-bleeding as ‘[w]hen a woman is menstruating and chooses not to wear a tampon because it’s made by men. This is done by extreme feminists who think this furthers their cause.’ This definition is false. Yes, some feminists may well choose to free-bleed because of this reason, however, this is not the only reason women choose to do so. In fact, a huge amount of women don’t even have the luxury of being able to ‘choose’ to free-bleed. They have no choice.
There are so many articles and comments circulating at the minute which kick up a fuss and brand Western women who free-bleed as disgusting and unclean feminists. However, I have to wonder where are the articles about the women who cannot afford to buy sanitary products? Where are the articles about the women who do not live in places that sell sanitary products, therefore cannot gain access to them? In our ‘forward thinking’ Western society that is so quick to judge others, we women are forgetting that we have it made. We are forgetting to be grateful that we have that £3 to spend on a box of regular scented tampax whenever our period hits. We are forgetting about the millions of women living in third world countries that struggle to access clean water, never mind frigging tampons.
There are some countries where women are ostracized when they are on their period. They aren’t allowed to enter temples to pray and they aren’t allowed to eat dinner with their family or even socialise with them. They are banished for one week each month because their culture believes that their period makes them impure. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it, could you imagine believing that someone is disgusting and unclean simply because their body does something that they have no control of? Oh wait, we do.
Even in the UK, periods are viewed with the same stigma that surrounds most things involving the female body and its natural functions. Many people label the act of free-bleeding as ‘dirty’ or ‘unclean,’ however, I’m pretty sure that unless the blood actually got into an open wound then you wouldn’t be at risk of catching any diseases, therefore this argument is invalid. We need to realise that, actually, a period is just blood and the only difference between your monthly flow and say, a nosebleed, is where the blood comes from. To me, society’s incredibly negative reaction to free-bleeding only demonstrates how we have been conditioned to believe that the female body and its sexual organs are offensive.

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