What was your first time like?
We're not talking about sex — we're talking about periods. So is the clothing brand Dear Kate. The company, originally named "Sexy Period," released the video "First Time," directed by Process' Mary Harron, on Monday, featuring 20 women describing the moment they got their first period, in an effort to encourage more open discussion about our bodies.
From hilarity to horror, the experience of getting your period for the first time is unique for each woman. Yet Julie Sygiel, the company's founder and chief creative officer, told Mic that a common thread is a feeling of embarrassment. "The women we spoke with expressed shame about their period, particularly during their first time," she said.
Dear Kate got women "to talk about periods in an authentic way that eliminates the weirdness and shame that so many of us feel," Sygiel said.
Some of us just had no clue how to handle it:
"I remember the exact date," one woman says in the video. Her story is followed by a handful of women reciting the exact day they got their first period, and then multiple stories about what the experience was like.
As every period is unique, so were these women's reactions: One expressed confusion ("Huh? How did melted candy get into my underwear?"), and another mentioned sadness ("I felt kind of sad about becoming a woman, in a way. Like, I'm still a kid, like, I don't want to deal with this!").
For others, skipping womanhood altogether was an attractive idea:
"At Dear Kate we have a lot of feelings about periods," Sygiel said. "They can be hilarious, stressful, victorious and sometimes the absolute worst."
"While many experiences resonate with one another, there's no right or wrong way to feel about your period."
And a few of us had multiple issues of pre-teen awkwardness going on:
Erasing period shame: "First Time" is the most recent of a slew of campaigns fighting against the stigma of menstruation. From the moment they first get their period, women are taught menstruation is not fit for public discourse.
"Let's be honest. Sometimes it's messy. Sometimes it's stressful. More often than not, it takes some getting used to," Sygiel said. "Regardless of what your relationship is with your period — whether you hate it or embrace it, whether you're 10 or 50 years old — the experience is worth talking about so we can reframe the conversation and normalize an experience that so many of us go through."
Periods happen, but shame doesn't have to.
Want to participate?
Share the story of your first time with #FirstTimeFilm stories, just like these women did for Dear Kate: