Parents, take note: if you have a son like I do, you should do your best to raise him to reject toxic masculinity.
One mom blogger is doing just that, by talking to her sons about experiences such as menstruation, and now, thanks to their talks, her sons always carry tampons in case a friend needs one.
Tara Ahrens of Fort Wayne, Indiana said that when she first talked to her sons about how “traumatizing” bleeding through can be for menstruating people, they were mostly quiet. But now Micah, 16, and Elijah, 17 always keep tampons in their lockers in case someone gets their period and doesn’t have menstrual supplies on hand.
Ahrens wrote about the discussion she had with her sons on CafeMom.
Ahrens, a mother-of-four, said that she decided to talk to her sons about periods after reading about a man who stepped up to help a woman hiking the Appalachian Trail. The man had given a tampon to a fellow hiker, saying he always carried one because he grew up with moms and sisters and knew that these things happen.
“Like many public high schools, ours does not offer or sell period products. And with the student population being 60 percent female, you can see how that can present a problem,” Ahrens wrote on the blog.
“Bleed-throughs happen. I’ve explained to my boys. They are mortifying and can be traumatizing. Kindness and understanding from ANY friend goes a long way. Be that person.”
Later that year, one of Elijah’s friends had a bleed-through at school. This prompted both boys to take their mother’s advice. While some classmates made fun of Elijah, who told everyone he would be keeping menstrual products in case anyone needed one, others thought it was cool.
This isn’t the first time Ahrens has gone viral for showing people how to help de-stigmatize women’s experiences.
In 2019, she shared a photo of herself bra shopping at Target, explaining how her sons were helping her shop.
“My teenage boys helped me shop today, which included buying their little sister’s first bras…because breasts happen,” she wrote in the caption.
Ahrens is passionate about erasing stigma surrounding women’s bodies—and it sounds like her sons are learning to challenge that stigma as well.
“Raising teenage boys is basically a constant cycle of laundry piles, feeding voracious hunger, nagging, laughter, and little, quick, teachable moments — just like this one. Anything you can do to help them navigate the difference between things that are a big deal (like keeping your friends safe at parties, being aware of your surroundings, and the safety of others around you) and things that are NO big deal (like puberty, periods, and yes, bleed-throughs) can make a huge difference,” Ahrens said.
“The road to change includes erasing period taboos—maybe a couple of teenage boys at a time.”
Lead image: Tara Ahrens via The Daily Mail