“Am I A Jerk For Telling My Wife That Leaving Her Used Pad In My Brother’s Place Was Inappropriate?”
By now, you’d think that pads, tampons, and periods should be normal things to talk about in today’s society. But it’s 2022 and, sadly, menstruation stigma is still a thing.
Most often, the menstrual taboo manifests in sophisticated and subtle ways that look seemingly innocent and are quite difficult to pick up on. But sometimes, there is genuine disgust, shame, and fear attached to it, where women and girls feel embarrassed for having periods in the first place. Speaking of the latter, one story on the AITA subreddit is a perfect example of that.
A man is facing backlash after he accused his wife of being “highly inappropriate” for leaving a used pad in his brother’s bathroom. In the trash. Where it’s supposed to be.
It all started when the Redditor shared a post on the AITA subreddit and detailed how his 31-year-old single brother felt disrespected after he explained what the woman did. “I was shocked and didn’t know what to say,” the user recounted. But the internet had plenty. Read on to find out how the situation evolved, the verdict readers were quick to deem, and be sure to weigh in on the discussion in the comments.
A man recently faced backlash online for saying it was “highly inappropriate” of his wife to throw away a used pad in his brother’s bathroom
Image source: Sora Shimazaki (not the actual photo)
As the situation sparked tension in the family, he reached out to the internet for advice
Image source: 99.films (not the actual photo)
Image source: Jason_Barret1029
It comes as no surprise that the vast majority of Redditors have deemed both the husband and his brother extremely in the wrong in this situation. Looking at the comments, many people believed the story reeks of misogyny and female bodily shame, and immediately called out the grossed-out men for their behavior.
But unfortunately, this is not an isolated case. There’s a long history of menstrual taboos across many cultures, and education about periods is still woefully lacking worldwide. Given the common misconception that menstruation should be secret women’s business, women are taught from a young age they must manage it discreetly.
Of course, there has been a positive shift in attitudes toward menstruation, but many women still feel ashamed. Because through harmful messages about women’s cycles and appalled responses to any mention of it, it’s what society tells us to feel. But it’s time we destigmatize it.
According to Jane Ussher, a professor of Women’s Health Psychology at Western Sydney University, periods have long been associated with “dirt, and disgust, and shame, and some might say fear.” However, she argues that menstruation stigma is in fact a form of misogyny: “it’s a sign of positioning something that is essentially feminine as other, dirty and disgusting.”
“If you talk to young women across a whole range of different cultural groups about their major concern about menstruation, it’s concealment. It’s about not knowing you’re menstruating — the worst idea being blood been seen, which leads to menstrual shame,” Professor Ussher added.
If left unaddressed, this shame can affect how women feel about this completely normal bodily function. And, alarmingly, it can also damage their well-being and how they perceive their bodies. So better understanding of menstruation is key to improving health outcomes for women.
But when these situations occur in real life, it may be difficult to know how to react in a way that wouldn’t spark tension between you and your loved ones. So to gain more insight from an expert, Bored Panda reached out to Eileen Head, a transformational coach who aims to help people to shift their mindset and release old beliefs, blocks, and patterns to create the love they desire.
“The first question is if this woman had known this was going to be an issue, would she have handled this differently?” Head asked.
The coach mentioned that it appears there already has been friction between the wife and brother-in-law, which is likely to trigger any issue that comes up. “As always, what we are fighting about is not what we are fighting about!”
“These situations always morph into other things,” Head added. “The wife is thinking her husband ‘should’ agree with her and now is upset with him. Her husband has his own opinion and feels wronged.”
Unfortunately, the woman is likely to be feeling embarrassed. Head argues that when that happens, many of us tend to go into justification “which is one of the biggest causes of disconnection in relationships. Then everyone gets entrenched with right/wrong leaving each person stuck with bad feelings.”
However, the key element in this dispute is disrespect. “The brother-in-law feels disrespected in his own house, the wife feels disrespected because her husband is not siding with her, and her husband feels disrespected that she won’t acknowledge others’ feelings,” Head noted. “It may make no sense to us so we might not have the awareness that others feel differently.”
Relationship coach Head noted that to get out of this situation in a way that would make the wife feel good about it, she should consider taking the high road. “Even if you still believe that you did nothing wrong, by taking responsibility in any situation with others, this will earn you respect…and if not from others, you will feel better as being the more evolved person. Being able to do this and using this as a skill will benefit you in all your relationships,” Head concluded.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about the incident. What do you think about the husband’s and his brother’s actions? How would you have handled the situation? Feel free to share your opinions, as well as personal experiences, with us in the comments down below.