Period stories have traditionally been relegated to the "most embarrassing moment" section of teen magazines. Now, a women's performance underwear brand is trying to change that.
Dear Kate's "First Time" video, directed by Process Media's Mary Harron, includes short interviews with over 20 women about the first time they got their periods. Instead of being shrouded in shame or the "ick" factor, the anecdotes are funny, honest and varied.
"It was definitely pink, it wasn't red like it is now -- and it looked kind of stickyish," says one woman. "And I thought, 'huh, how did melted candy get into my underwear?'"
"I sort of looked down and my immediate thought was, 'Oh shit! This is where I'm gonna die,'" quips another.
Dear Kate founder Julie Sygiel told The Huffington Post that the idea for the video was born out of personal experience. "It's surprising that even though I've had my period for 16 years and consider myself comfortable with the topic, I still find myself whispering at the office to ask if someone has a pad or tampon if I'm in need," she said. "Why is there an uncomfortableness surrounding periods? When we talked with friends, we realized that it started when we first got our period."
The discomfort about menstruation many women grow up with is furthered by the fact that honest depictions of menstruation in advertising, the media and pop culture are few and far between. Menstrual pad and tampon ads often use blue liquid to represent blood, and just last month artist Rupi Kaur's photograph of a fully-clothed woman bleeding through her sweatpants was removed from Instagram twice.
It's this stigma that the women behind Dear Kate hope their video can challenge.
"By sharing our stories, we can reframe the way periods are talked about and eliminate the shame that often accompanies them," said Sygiel.
Cheers to that.