Boss telling wife not to wear sanitary napkins sparks anger

A worker has sparked a heated debate online after sharing in a popular post that her boss asked her to stop taking sanitary napkins to the bathroom after co-workers complained.

The woman, who works in an office, posted her problem on the popular forum Mumsnet and received over 1,000 replies.

“This afternoon my manager called me into her office. Apparently a few people spoke to her because sometimes I go to the office restrooms with a sanitary napkin and they’re uncomfortable,” the anonymous woman wrote. “She suggested I take my bag instead.”

“I thought times had moved on and I refuse to be ashamed of my period. I think the people who have complained are ridiculous and need to get over it,” she added.

The clerk confirmed that the people who complained were all men.

Period shame is a global problem that still rages today, despite what many initially thought was a long-gone problem. A 2017 survey found that almost half of girls aged 14 to 21 in the UK are ashamed of their periods and that 82 per cent of girls admit they ‘hid’ to hide their toiletries.

A 2018 survey of 1,500 US women closer to home found that nearly 60 percent feel embarrassed about their periods, citing taboos and men’s attitudes as the cause.

The survey found that about three quarters of women hide their menstrual products when they go to the bathroom. About 42 percent said they have experienced menstrual abuse from men.

sanitary napkin
Stock image of a sanitary napkin.
Getty Images

With so many women involved in the subject at hand, the response to the Mumsnet post was strong. Users raged at colleagues for complaints and at the boss for her apparent indulgence.

“She makes it [toilet] to change it privately. Anyone who only feels uncomfortable at the sight of hygiene protection does not belong in the workplace, they are too sensitive,” wrote one user.

“I would respond to their complaints with a counter-complaint that you have been ashamed of a normal female bodily function and that they have invaded your privacy. That they don’t have pockets (it’s difficult to get work clothes with pockets) and that by suggesting you hide it in a pocket they shame you (and all women) for being female and having your period,” added another.

“Obviously men shouldn’t have to see a piece of clean absorbent material in a pack, how do they cope with that?”

Another counter argued that noticing the towels in the first place is more likely to blame those watching them in the office. “Why is carrying something small in your hand considered ‘display, advertise, blow around, display’ because it is used for menstruation and is therefore unprofessional, uncouth, to the point and therefore wrong”, they asked.

sanitary napkin
Stock image of sanitary napkins in packaging.
Getty Images

“But watching a colleague so closely that you can see and further identify the small object in their hand, so much so that you have to complain about it, is it perfectly fine? Especially when you have to work? Why does he feel this? do other employees have to watch closely enough to see what they’re holding and then decide if it’s something they don’t think should be seen?”

Although the reaction was overwhelmingly in defense of the original poster, some rushed to defend the peers by trying to argue their side.

“I would be ashamed to do this in a professional setting and I would cringe at anyone who would do the same thing in my office – (this would also apply to a man wearing loo roll) – it’s just unsightly and inappropriate in a work environment,” one user complained.

“There are many ways to be discreet and hide it. It’s not about being ashamed of having a period, but about showcasing intimate products that should belong in the toilet in an environment where people are trying to work. No one needs to know what you’re doing on the loo because it’s private, and I’m not sure why you would either.”

But others argued that other personal care products didn’t elicit such violent reactions: “Would you complain if a man took a razor and shaving cream into the bathroom? Or a toothbrush and toothpaste after lunch?” one person asked. Boss telling wife not to wear sanitary napkins sparks anger

Rick Schindler

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