Menstrual taboo is the taboo pertaining to menstruation. It stems from menstruation being perceived as "unhygienic", "dirty", and "improper." The menstrual taboo extends to avoiding the mention of menstruation both in public (in the media and advertising) and in private (amongst friends, in the household, and with men).
With the recent FDA approval of menstrual suppression medications, researchers have begun to shift their focus to the attitudes of women toward their periods. One study in particular found that of the women they surveyed, 59% of them reported an interest in not menstruating every month. Of these women, 1/3 said they were interested in not menstruating at all anymore. Results indicate that the symbolism or meaning of menstruation to women has shifted. Women see their menstruation as a burden and an inconvenience. However, the attitudes of women towards their menstruation can be attributed to the values that the society they live in hold for a women's menstrual cycle. Different cultures and religions view menstruation in both positive and negative lights.
Other religions such as Hinduism also view menstruation in a negative light. In the Hindu faith, women are prohibited from participating in normal life while menstruating. Raphael, Melissa, "Menstruation" November 22, 2007. http://www.bookrags.com/research/menstruation-eorl-09/ . She must be "purified" before she is allowed to return to her family.
On the other side of the issue, some cultures continue to view menstruation, especially first menstruation or menarche, as a positive aspect of a girl's life. In South India, girls who experience their menstrual period for the first time are given presents and celebrations to mark this special occasion.
Movies and television also reflect the taboo nature of menstruation. Typically menstruation as a topic is avoided, except for scenes involving menarche or "first period." For example, as Elizabeth Arveda Kissling explains in her article, "On the Rag on Screen: Menarche in Film and Television," the early 1990s movie, My Girl contains a scene where the main character, Vada, experiences her first period. The explanation given to her by a female role model of what is happening to her is done off camera and the subject is never mentioned again. This shows that desire of society not to see or hear of the unpleasantness of menstruation in their movies. Also in one of the few films where menstruation is shown on screen (in Carrie) it seems to re-inforce the taboo of menstruation being somehow wrong by having Carrie's first period become the starting point for her telekinisis which then leads to murder.