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Is Menstruation a taboo in Korea?


Menstruation is a natural biological process that every woman goes through, yet in many cultures, it is still considered a taboo subject. In Korea, menstruation has been surrounded by stigma and shame for centuries, with many women feeling embarrassed to talk about their periods openly. This article will explore the cultural and social factors that contribute to menstruation being perceived as a taboo in Korea.

The history of menstruation in Korea

To understand why menstruation is still a taboo in Korea, it is essential to look at the country’s history. Historically, menstruation was considered unclean and impure in Korean culture. Women were expected to keep their periods a secret and remain isolated during their menstrual cycle. This belief has persisted for generations, causing shame and embarrassment among women.

Religious beliefs

Religion has played a significant role in shaping attitudes towards menstruation in Korea. In traditional Korean shamanism, menstruation was seen as a time when women were more vulnerable to evil spirits. This belief has carried over into modern-day Korea, where many people still hold superstitious beliefs about menstruation.

Gender roles and expectations

Korean society has strict gender roles and expectations, which often contribute to the negative perceptions surrounding menstruation. Women are expected to be modest and reserved, which can make discussing periods feel uncomfortable or embarrassing. Additionally, many men in Korea are not educated about menstruation and may feel uncomfortable discussing it.

Education and awareness

Lack of education and awareness regarding menstruation is also a significant factor contributing to the taboo around it in Korea. Many young girls receive little to no education about menstruation before experiencing it themselves. Without proper education and support, girls may feel scared or ashamed of their periods.

The impact of media

Media representation of menstruation in Korea is often negative, perpetuating the stigma surrounding it. Advertisements for period products tend to be discreet and euphemistic, furthering the idea that menstruation is something shameful that should not be discussed openly.

Period poverty

Period poverty, or the inability to access menstrual products due to financial constraints, is also a significant issue in Korea. Many girls and women cannot afford basic period products such as pads or tampons, leading to feelings of shame and embarrassment.

Changing attitudes

Despite the deeply ingrained cultural beliefs surrounding menstruation in Korea, attitudes are slowly starting to shift. Organizations and individuals are working to raise awareness about the importance of menstrual hygiene and break down the stigma surrounding periods.

The role of education

Education is crucial in changing attitudes towards menstruation in Korea. By providing young girls with comprehensive sex education and breaking down the taboo around periods, we can help create a more open and accepting society.

Breaking down barriers

Breaking down the barriers surrounding menstruation in Korea requires a collective effort from individuals, organizations, and the government. By working together to promote awareness and acceptance, we can create a more equitable society for all.


In conclusion, menstruation remains a taboo subject in Korea due to a variety of cultural and social factors. However, with education and awareness, attitudes are slowly starting to shift towards greater acceptance and understanding. It is essential to continue this work so that future generations of women can feel comfortable discussing their periods openly without fear of shame or stigma.

Are periods taboo in South Korea?

The topic of menstruation is often avoided in public spaces in South Korea because it is seen as a private matter for women. Women in South Korea are expected to keep their private life separate from their public image.

In which country menstruation is a taboo?

In places like Malawi and Vanuatu, menstruation is a taboo topic and girls are expected to keep it a secret. This can lead to feelings of horror and shock when they experience the flow of their menstrual blood.

What do Koreans use during periods?

Disposable menstrual pads are the most commonly used menstrual hygiene product, accounting for 89% of usage. Cloth menstrual pads and tampons followed behind at 4.5% and 4.2% respectively. Only 1.6% of participants reported using a menstrual cup, which was only recently approved for use in South Korea in December 2017.

What do Koreans call periods?

Choi provided insight that in Korea, periods are commonly referred to as “saengri” which directly translates to “physiological phenomenon,” while there is an actual word for menstruation, “wolgyeong,” that is not often used.

Do Koreans use tampons?

Tampons are not widely used or popular in many Asian countries, including Korea. A survey conducted by Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in May found that 81% of women use sanitary napkins, while only 11% use tampons.

How does Kpop deal with periods?

K-Pop idols handle their menstrual cycles like any other non-idol female, using pads or tampons and experiencing cramps. However, due to their high levels of physical activity, their periods may be less severe or even cease altogether, similar to gymnasts.

One way to break down the stigma surrounding menstruation in Korea is to provide more resources and support for those who experience it. This can include access to affordable menstrual products, as well as education about menstrual hygiene and healthcare. Additionally, creating safe spaces where women can openly discuss their periods without fear of judgment can help normalize the conversation and break down the taboo.

Another important step towards greater acceptance of menstruation in Korea is to challenge gender roles and expectations. By promoting gender equality and breaking down traditional stereotypes, we can create a society where women feel comfortable discussing their periods openly without fear of being judged or ostracized. This can be done through education and advocacy, as well as through cultural events and media representation.

It is also important for the government to play a role in breaking down the stigma surrounding menstruation in Korea. This can include implementing policies that provide free or affordable menstrual products in schools, public bathrooms, and other public spaces. Additionally, the government can work with organizations to promote awareness and education about menstrual hygiene and health.

Ultimately, breaking down the taboo surrounding menstruation in Korea requires a collective effort from everyone in society. By working together to promote awareness, acceptance, and support for those who experience menstruation, we can create a more equitable and open society for all.

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