THE BLOG
11/02/2015 12:16 GMT | Updated 13/04/2015 06:59 BST

Menstruation in the Media

On Monday, The Expressreported that 82 year old Irene Ditcher was robbed as she lay dying in the road, after being hit by a lorry. A click away in Showbiz, model Laura Bailey dropped a tampon at the BAFTAs. The Express declared it: "Every woman's worst nightmare!"

The Star also referred to Bailey as suffering, "every woman's worst nightmare," despite a quick Google suggesting this might actually be rape, domestic violence or cancer. Casting the net wider, it might be FGM or something happening to their children. Probs not dropping a tampon, then.

Thankfully, the response to this, beneath the articles and on Twitter, was resoundingly along the lines of, "can't see the fuss, why is it embarrassing to carry tampax, non story," and, "wow she dropped a tampon, what are you, 5?" My particular favourite was, "She brought it for the media cos they [sic] a bunch of c***s."

This isn't the only instance of the media making a drama out of the decorators being in. The forthcoming Fifty Shades of Grey includes S&M but cuts a scene of perfectly ordinary intercourse, simply because Anastasia is on the blob. It's been referred to as, "particularly crude," and dropped rather than risk "the project being linked to porn." Because having sex while your body functions in a normal, healthy way is more deviant than bondage and blindfolds, right?

Varietydeclared, "Fifty Shades of Grey Won't Include Infamous Tampon Scene" and MTV called it, "The Book's Grossest Sex Scene." It's been described as "the notorious tampon incident," which, when faced with, "many men would run a mile."

Eurgh! Must be pretty gross, huh? Perhaps she bleeds all over his face? Actually no, he simply takes her tampon out and they have sex. Like people do, all the time.

I can categorically say that most men would not "run a mile." I've had sex with long term boyfriends when I've been on my period. I've had Christmas party sex with a colleague when I've been on my period. I've - simply sitting there - bled all over someone's sofa on a second date. He cleaned it up and asked if he could get me anything. I've done a photoshoot in which the photographer told me I needed to tuck my tampon string into my bikini bottoms.

None of these guys were grossed out and neither were they period fetishist "bloodhounds" - they were just normal guys who weren't fazed by a normal bodily function. And in the interest of driving the point home with a sledgehammer, guys have gone down on me while I've been on, and no one regarded it as a gross, infamous, notorious or pornographic sex act.

So it seems to me that most people are unperturbed by periods. Pointing the finger at celebrities dropping their tampons is just one more way in which the media body shames women, like red-circling spots, cellulite, arm pit hair and sweat patches: "Eurgh! Women - you're yucky!"

The family of Irene Ditcher remains devastated as police hunt for the man who robbed her. Laura Bailey's tampon "nightmare" ended when she simply put it back in her bag. So please, the media, stop being so melodramatic. I very much doubt if dropping a tampon is any woman's worst nightmare. To paraphrase Stonewall: Some people have periods. Get over it.