Amy Schumer wants to end period shame and misinformation

wenn37714249

Amy Schumer has always been a sharer, for better or for worse. Over time, fortunately, much of Amy’s openness has been for the better. Amy has used her profile to discuss hyperemesis, her postpartum body and bodily functions, Autism, the reality of IV treatments and how employing a nanny has allowed her to resume her career. I, for one, love this new Amy. She’s shining a light on very normal realties that will hopefully go far to destigmatize them and allow those experiencing them to enter a larger discussion with questions and concerns. Amy’s latest topic: periods. Amy is partnering with Tampax to “normalize women having their periods and take away the stigma.”

Amy Schumer is committed to being everyone’s “older sister” when it comes to period talk.

“We want to … just take the shame away from this thing that is really strange that it’s still so secretive and that we’re made to feel bad about it,” says Schumer. “And just to get rid of some of the myths.”

“[Women and girls] have all these misconceptions and fears, and there really isn’t that much education out there,” she says. “Only 24 states have any sort of required sex education and only 13 of those states require any sort of upkeep of actual medical studies. So if you don’t have an older sister, or if your mom isn’t super up to date, you really have no one to rely on. So I’m hopefully gonna be people’s older sister, explaining the things that I’ve learned to them.”

While Schumer doesn’t “totally remember” her first conversation about menstruation with her own mother, she admits that a fifth-grade lesson when someone came into her classroom “with a model of a vagina” was something that “scared the s— out of” herself and her fellow students, and she didn’t learn much as a result.

As for how she handled her own cycle as an adolescent, Schumer says she “didn’t have period shame,” explaining that is what the Tampax campaign “is about,” at the end of the day: “Women have periods — that’s how we’re all alive, is that we get our periods. And then we don’t. We have to continue the human race, but we don’t talk about it.”

“I didn’t even know to be ashamed of it, so I would raise my hand and say, ‘Can I go to the bathroom?’ And if my teacher said no, I would say, ‘I have to change my tampon or my pad. I have my period.’ ” she recalls. “Then everyone would giggle and the teacher would be so embarrassed, and that’s kind of how I learned, ‘Oh, you’re supposed to be ashamed of this.’ But I would say, ‘I have my period’ like I would ask someone what time it is; it was very normalized to me. And I hope that’s what we’re working toward.”

[From People]

Amy said that her mother did talk to her about periods but left out some of the technical stuff, like what size tampons to use during what flow and how far it should be inserted. I’m trying to think if would categorize my adolescence as period shame. I would talk about it, but I wouldn’t mention it in mixed company and when I did talk about it I would keep my voice way down. I no longer have shame and my daughter is being raised without shame. She speaks freely around us and to their credit, the men in our home are a part of the discussion. She also has no problem purchasing her sanitary products. That was a big thing for some of my friends. Their mothers – I kid you not – purchased tampons and pads for these friends as they went away to college. Enough to last them until they came home at Thanksgiving! At least I’ve been buying my own stuff, shame free, my whole life.

Amy discussed dispelling fears and myths surrounding periods. That is so important. Women’s health can no longer be some hushed secret. It’s not fair and more so, it’s dangerous. My cramps were always something “women in our family just have to deal with.” My OB/GYN informs me now, the “women in my family” were probably suffering from issues that thankful, my daughter knows to speak up about. Periods may not be our favorite time of the month, but they are a very important part of our physiology. The more we talk to and educate each other, the less suffering we will have to endure. Plus, the more Amy, Tampax and women in general normalize period talk, the better chance we have of bettering medicine for women.

wenn37714254

Photo credit: WENN/Avalon and Instagram

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

47 Responses to “Amy Schumer wants to end period shame and misinformation”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. lola says:

    One of my friends bought her first own tampons when she was in her early 20s. We were at the drugstore together and she also confessed that she was embarrassed that the male cashier would see that she’s buying tampons. I assured her that the man wouldn’t care and he didn’t.

    I was so surprised that she’d never bought her own sanitary products before.
    So, while I’m not Amy’s biggest fan, I’m glad that she’s doing this. Having your period and buying tampons is nothing to be ashamed off. And I’m tired of society viewing it as “gross”

    • Laura says:

      Agreed. I personally don’t like Amy’s comedy but will absolutely support her trying to destigmatize women’s periods. We should not be ashamed of what is natural for half of the population.

      • Trillion says:

        I highly recommend Netflix “Amy Shumer Learns to Cook”. It’s so unscripted and normal and funny. And I actually want to make some of the stuff they cook. She’s relatable (to me).

    • ME says:

      @ Trillion

      I watch that show too ! She is actually so quick on her toes with the comebacks and jokes. She also has a 3 part series about her pregnancy on Showtime I think.

  2. Scal says:

    My mom gave me a good talk about the basics, but the how to insert tampons what size how often to change etc was up to me.

    And my dad always bought products for me and my mom with no shame-so it was bewildering to me when I dated guys who refused to. It’s somehow ‘less manly?’ Okay bro.

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      My husband isn’t ashamed of buying tampons, he hates it in the same manner he hates buying macaroni:
      - there’s like a millio of them, which ones?
      - there’s a million of them of this brand too.
      - ok, the green, the blue ones, the one with the smiley face?
      - the big, the small, the whatever this is?
      It’s a process.
      :D

      • whatWHAT? says:

        ha! this is how my bf is. it’s gotten to the point that I just take a picture and send it to him while he shops. lol

        I think part of the reason he’s not embarrassed to buy them is because it’s like “HEY LOOK! I HAVE A WOMAN! SO THERE!” LOLOLOL

  3. ME says:

    I think just recently I saw an Always commercial where they actually used red liquid instead of blue !

    I remember being a kid and my mom saying you can’t go to the Temple when you’re on your period because you’re considered “dirty” during that time. Such bullsh*t. She’s changed a lot since then but still it’s insane some women even think this way.

  4. Sarah says:

    This is important. Menstruation needs to be normalized in the mainstream. The luxury tax has got to go. Products need to be made accessible for all people who menstruate – period poverty is very real. The suffering some folks go through with comorbid issues need to be taken seriously by the medical community. I’m glad she’s bringing attention to this.

    • ME says:

      I live in Canada, and my province just a few years ago stopped taxing feminine products. There should be no damn tax on something that is a necessity ! It’s also ridiculous how expensive feminine products are. If it was men, they’d be free !

    • Nanny to the Rescue says:

      Why are menstrual products even considered luxury?
      What’s the proposed non-luxurious alternative, since just not having a period isn’t really an option?

      • Sarah says:

        Misogyny. The alternative they want is for us to remove ourselves from public life.

  5. teehee says:

    What always comes to my mind is: Men’s emissions are glorified. And its not like they asked us what WE think about it– they made this up for themselves.

    So WT absolute F.

    Same applied to everything on this earth.

    Nobody asks us.

  6. Heather says:

    I don’t understand why tampons and pads aren’t supplied in schools and public restrooms. It’s no dffferent from needing toilet paper! Separate urinals for men are certainly not necessary, but no one bats an eye at that expense. It’s a sexism holdover. Maybe Amy will take up that part of the cause, too!

    • Mrs. Peel says:

      Canadian here – in Victoria, BC they are providing FREE feminine products in their schools. Awesome and welcomed move.

  7. Ash says:

    Everyone! Jump on the menstrual cup bandwagon! It’s the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself, your wallet, the planet etc etc etc.!

    Ok, stepping off my soapbox now.

    • Slowdown says:

      Hi @Ash. I’m so glad you can use it. I tried loads of brands and they leak. 4 kids might have something to do with it? 🧐
      I use fabric, te-washable pads and period panties. It’s far more absorbent than the disposable ones (I have a huge flow) and waste free.

    • Chaine says:

      Sorry, I tried it and it was a disaster. Doesn’t work for everyone, and the one I bought was expensive and of course not returnable or refundable.

    • Arpeggi says:

      I use a cup, but it still leaks on heavy days and have to use period panties to absorb it. I wish there were more brands readily available to test because I guess some shapes are better fits with our vagina than others but that would also turn out to be fairly expensive to try.

      Cups are fine and certainly better than tampons/pads for the environment, but they sadly aren’t ideal for everyone

    • Nottoday says:

      Yes 100%! I get that they don’t work for everyone, but just want to insert my voice to say the cup worked GREAT for me. I was 40 before I discovered it, and so wish I had used one much earlier. They are so much easier and more comfortable to deal with, not to mention eco-friendly.

  8. Astrid says:

    I too like the New Amy, the Big Sister some of us didn’t have back in the day.

  9. Slowdown says:

    I am all for normalizing periods and including them in the list of social health covered products and obviously de-taxing. I am not for normalizing non-biodegradable or re-usable period gear. Tampax would be the last brand I would associate myself with for this kind of cause. And I don’t buy what Amy Schumer is selling even though she’s done the remarkable deed of flipping everyone on this site. The overexposure of her kid is appalling. Oh well.

    • Nottoday says:

      Well, we should definitely wait for someone to show up and do it EXACTLY CORRECTLY because that is bound to happen any moment now…

  10. Laalaa says:

    She (and everyone) should check out Hannah Witton on youtube and her Hormone diaries on IG and YT. SHE IS AMAZING, I am older than her and she taught me a lot about this stuff!

  11. Rachel says:

    My mother bought my pads for me well into my mid-20′s. Not because I was ashamed to buy them but bc she would see them on sale and buy me a package for me and for herself. I lived about 2 hrs from home at this time and ran out of pads, I hadn’t been home for a bit to get re-stocked by Mom. I remember going to the pharmacy to buy some and hiding them under stuff in my arms. That’s when I realized was mid 20′s and had never bought pads for myself. LOL And btw I work with all men, IT field, and I will shout I have to pee and I’m on my period stop bugging me to the whole office.

  12. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    There’s only one glorious thing about partial hysterectomies and menopause. And it’s glorious. Decades of… And then…

    • Chrissy says:

      No kidding. It’s one less thing to worry about. When I look back and think of all the money spent on pads and tampons over 40 years, I’m just appalled. Oh, well.

    • Chaine says:

      Exactly. Yes, hot flashes are annoying, but oh man, the freedom of no cycle… I love it.

    • Trillion says:

      I don’t miss my uterus one single bit. It enabled my son to exist and it also very nearly killed me 11 years later (while on a transatlantic flight from Keflavik to SFO, but that’s another very bloody story…)

  13. Jenilee says:

    I love this! Every woman bleeds, let’s talk about it. I learned about tampons from my camp counselor when one of the campers woke up to her first period. Kelly, the counselor, took all twelve of us in the bathroom and explained tampons, how to use them and what the sizes meant. I even think that companies should offer female employees one day a month of paid leave to privately deal with their period woes.

  14. Lively says:

    I imagine celebs gathered by their teams discussing causes they can take on their brands 😂
    I don’t get the shame, my dad would go out and buy it for me when needed. I remember one time I was asking my 14 yrs old brother to help me with carrying heavy backs because I was on my period then realised 2 of his friends were at the door steps waiting for him. So I sort of said to my brother, sorry I didn’t see your friends and his response was if they every diss anyone over their period, they’re idiots that should go back to their wombs so they can learn about the reproductive system. His a savage.lol

  15. Summergirl says:

    I’m so hopeful that periods will start to be de-stigmatized. I’ve always had heavy bleeding, which I thought was normal, probably because my mom and sister experienced it too. I thought a 7-8 day period was normal, and because periods were so little discussed, I didn’t know that 4-5 days was the norm. Now that I’m in my 40s, my period is even heavier, often 8-9 days, and it seriously affects my ability to do certain activities on certain days. (I take a drug called tranexamic acid to help control bleeding, but it doesn’t help that much.) I recently discovered that I have a bleeding disorder called von Willebrand’s, which means I don’t clot well (my sister has it too, in addition to severe endometriosis, which is a whole other story), so it is partly to blame for my heavy periods. Anyway, I have two sons and I talk about my period constantly–how I can not?! My husband is very chill about it (he has two sisters and a very open mother). So there is no stigma in this house. My son, who is 12, has a good female friend who even showed him a tampon, which I thought was fantastic. So I’m hoping this generation of girls doesn’t feel as embarrassed as so many of us did. And that boys understand it’s totally normal and not gross!

    • J says:

      Not sure if you’d be eligible for this with the von Willebrands, but I too always had heavy periods (like my mother) and they got worse around 40. I would have to time things out like, OK, change tampon immediately before leaving house, drop my daughter off at school, then go to the Target nearby to use their bathroom, and then I can head home. I finally got endometrial ablation done, and it is THE BOMB.

      I figured that I would be one of the people who it only works a little bit for, but was pleased that it worked 100%. I’ll have a little bit of spotting once in a while, and that’s it.

  16. onerous says:

    My youngest just got her period and – hand to God – you’ve never seen someone so excited. She’s telling EVERYBODY and is all, “Oh… excuse me… I need to use the restroom… I HAVE MY PERIOD.” It’s been the best thing to witness, lol!

    And I ask my son and husband to pick up tampons/pads at the store regularly – everyone can get comfortable with bodily functions, if you ask me! It’s just normal and I hope someday everyone sees it that way. Especially because so many women suffer in silence out of fear or embarrassment around period issues. I know women who’ve not gone to the doctor after bleeding for like 50 days straight because of the stigma… it’s tragic actually.

  17. Keira says:

    I like calling it “period supplies.” “Sanitary” and “feminine hygiene” are euphemisms bordering on insults. We don’t call Kleenex, toilet paper and c*m rags “sanitary products,” do we?

  18. Eribra says:

    I work in a middle school- 7th/8th graders. it’s insane some of the things I hear from parents mainly. i keep a crate of pads/ tampons in the bathroom. at the beginning if the year as girls come in needing supplies- some are embarrassed some are matter of fact, some are pissed (they’re the funniest! ) i tell them to tell their friends the supply is there and to just come in and get what they need- we don’t have to wait for all the boys to leave etc. I’ve had mothers call and complain that these girls should not have access to tampons- only pads. my administration backed me up on that one. some years tampax will donate tampons, some years I purchase them. I have a lady who donates pads every year- no children at my school cause she remembers being mortified sitting in a pool of her own blood waiting for her mom when her school had nothing. I had a girl one year who I basically supplied as her mom did not want her at school if she was menstruating. I have low income girls who know if they need to take some home then they are welcome to take them home. I’ve had dads call and ask if I could tell him what I’ve been supplying cause the daughter really preferred them but she didn’t know there brand/ size. I’ve explained ti boys who question what that crate is full of and even had one girl come down who told me one of those boys told her I had a supply. I do try to normalize the situation for both boys and girls.

    • Peri says:

      This was so nice to read — you sound like such a good, considerate teacher. Your students (both girls and boys) are so lucky to have you.

  19. Jensays says:

    Yeah – that whole “don’t let anyone see your pad/tampon” thing because heaven forbid someone knows you’re on your period … was a big thing in my youth. I have mostly gotten over that but I was at an airport with a friend like 6/7 years ago and she asked me for a pad. After rummaging through my bag for a few seconds I found a pad and put it on top of the table we were at and she literally froze before asking me very calmly to “put it back in my bag so no one would see it”. I shit you not. This is a convo two 20 something year olds had. Like why does it matter – the fact that my friends brain even went there… disgusting. I also had a friend who was orthodox Christian growing up and she/her mother told me that during your period you can’t sit up front because you are “unclean” – I have not been able to confirm if this was a specific to their church or broader across all orthodox Christian churches but that whole idea just disgusts me.

  20. JillyBean says:

    Well if every woman just boycotted tampons and pads and committed to just bleeding every where public, offices, malls, airports just absolutely everywhere…. maybe the powers that be would consider cutting the tax on them and considering them frigging essential products.

  21. Jess says:

    This is great. I do the same thing, especially when talking about work, because I’ve had to worry about bleeding through my pants during a court hearing and once did have to give a speech with bloody pants. So I like to tell both men and women about the bleeding – plus the times I’ve had to deal with my job and horrendous cramps – so that men realize the extra crap women have to deal with on a daily (or monthly basis) and so that other women don’t feel bad for speaking up if necessary. My daughter doesn’t have her period yet but some of her friends do and they said I’ve already talked to my daughter more about her period then their moms have to them. Oh, and I talk about all of this in front of my son too so he knows what women have to deal with and he’ll be supportive of any women in his life later on who have to deal with these issues.

  22. Murphy says:

    It would be nice if we could teach old men about this too.

  23. Meg says:

    Our bodies dont seem to be acceptable to many unless theyre in a sexualized context.
    Menstruating, breast feeding etc are shamed

  24. Lunasf17 says:

    About damn time! My mother never said much about periods and everything I learned mostly came from friends/ school and early internet sites and chat rooms oh and teen magazines too. My daughter is going to be raised with no shame about her period. Also I’ve switched to reusable cloth pads and cups and want to try period underwear. Disposable pads and tampons are so bad for the environment and not very healthy for our bodies either. Glad to see women switching to reusable options.

  25. Züri says:

    Wasn’t a fan of Amy before, either, but she’s been doing some pretty amazing information campaigns that I fully support. I find this menstruation campaign, in particular, really amazing. Also, her son is adorable!

  26. Haapa says:

    This is great, but can we stop conflating menstruation with womanhood? There are women who will never menstruate, and there are men and nonbinary individuals who menstruate.

  27. Elizabeth says:

    Fewer than 50% of states have sex education — this is so beyond unacceptable! Grateful for everyone working to educate people on their health and bodies.

    There is so much my parents didn’t teach me. For example… it is not medically necessary for anyone to have a period, and you can (for example) take birth control pills continuously and go period-free. I did this for some years when I found out about it (I don’t remember even how I learned of it), my doctor was somewhat surprised but approved it, and it was such a freedom and relief to have that control over my own body. Obviously I was under my doctor’s supervision the entire time and she prescribed the pills and I’m very thankful for her support. But that should be taught to more women. I did not miss periods AT ALL. Lol.