10 Taboo Subjects We Really Need To Start Talking About More

The world has, obviously, changed tremendously since the beginning of time, even in the last 100 years. There are things we do and talk about today that would never be done or discussed years and years ago. Society as a whole has become much more woke. We’re attuned to issues that were once swept under the carpet, many of us accept and embrace different sexualities and gender identities, and thousands of people confront uncomfortable issues like sexism, racism, and gender norms, among other things, every single day. Humans have come a long way! Unfortunately, we still have a very long way to go. There are still a lot of taboo subjects out there that aren’t touched upon often enough, and we really need to start talking about them more.

I was inspired to write this after reading an Ask Reddit thread on taboo subjects that need to be discussed more. I wish I could say we discuss every single one of these things all the time on Gurl.com, but I won’t be hypocritical. We do talk about a lot of these on Gurl – mental illness, sexism, female sexuality, to name a few – but we’re not perfect, and we don’t cover everything every single day. These issues deserve more conversation, but more than that, they deserve more understanding. Yes, it might be awkward to discuss these things with friends, and it might feel uncomfortable to argue with someone about what you believe in. But we can’t grow as humans and as society if we ignore this stuff. Here are 10 taboo subjects we really need to start talking about more – this list doesn’t include everything by any means, but it’s a good start.


theresaname: Disability, ableism, disability rights, accessibility, the fact that invisible disabilities exist. When disability is talked about, it's talked about in terms of who is 'inspiring' or who 'doesn't let their disability' do x, y, or z. Or, most commonly, it's talked about in groups of able people with no input from actual disabled people. Disabled people are allowed into conversations as highly positive, inspirational people - or not at all, in my experience.

Everything about this is correct. There's so much to say about this issue that I don't even know where to begin. No one knows how to confront this topic, no one knows how to talk about it correctly, and everyone is scared to start. Disabled people deal with so many unfair social stigmas, stereotypes, and more. We need to try to better understand this topic, for the good of everyone.

Source: iStock

Mental Illness

bleach_stains: Mental illness is still largely taboo. Attempts to destigmatize it have been baby steps in the right direction. All discussion pertaining to suicide is still too taboo to discuss, whether it's physician assisted suicide or providing some sort or suicide prevention. No one wants to touch this topic.

So much yes here. The discussion about mental illness has been started several times, but never came close to being productive. Again, there are so many things to say about it that I don't even know where to begin! I don't quite know how we all function in this society while ignoring the fact that mental illness affects everyone and ignoring the fact that getting help is nothing to be ashamed of.

Source: iStock

Being Overweight

bakedgoodslover: Obesity/overweight issue. I'm totally with the idea a person can look beautiful at any weight and just because someone is at a healthy weight does not necessarily mean they are healthy, or just because someone looks overweight it's because they eat a lot, some people are overweight due to health issues/slow metabolism. I also of course believe everybody deserves respect and criticism can be delivered in a kind way. But I don't like that some people think it's unacceptable to talk about overeating in a critical way. Nobody says we shouldn't criticize someone using cocaine when we say "they are doing something bad for their health and it's also bad influence for the society", nobody says "it's not your business", but when it's overeating, with all the health risks it has people make that kind of comments and get angry.

I have to agree with this statement. Like this girl said, I too believe that everyone can be beautiful no matter what their weight is - but I still think conversations about obesity are very important and haven't been happening enough in a serious way. The body positivity movement is wonderful and amazing and I'm so happy it's here - but I think it has overpowered everything and made people afraid to talk about being healthy. Yes, of course you can weigh a lot and still be healthy - but that is not the case for everyone. We have to learn to be body positive AND make being healthy a priority.

Source: iStock

Stomach Issues/Poop

Throwawayjame: I think bowel health and bowel movements. It's the main indicator of health and a lot of women are told to hold it in when they're in public which causes big problems anyway. I think people think that's it's just disgusting despite the fact that everyone does it.

As someone who deals with a chronic stomach illness, I have to agree with this. I know so many people who have bowel issues but are too embarrassed to go to the doctor. It's crazy!

Source: iStock

Female Sexuality

projectbadasss: Female sexuality and sexual pleasure. Society often treats women as receptacles for male sexuality, but we never talk about female pleasure. Like, sex should be fun for everyone involved, but we treat female sexual pleasure as secondary or even non existent. Sex ends when a man orgasms. Blow jobs are expected but rarely reciprocated. That kind of shit.

While we're getting better at discussing female sexuality, we still aren't where we need to be. Many students learning sex ed still aren't learning the basics about a vagina. Female sexuality is still seen as much more inappropriate than male sexuality. Girls who have a lot of sex are still being called sluts. We need to acknowledge and accept that females are sexual beings too rather than shame them for that.

Source: iStock


kishbish: Honestly I think institutionalized sexism is still a big issue that no one wants to really face or talk about, and the moment you mention it, you're jumped on.

People who don't want to talk about sexism make the argument that we've come a long way. And we certainly have! But sexism is still alive and well, and it's unfortunate that so many people don't want to admit that. Whenever I try to point out sexism, someone around me rolls their eyes or argues with me - men and women. It's something we need to talk about without making it seem like people who talk about it are annoying.


tomato_water: Racism. Even on reddit, on the liberal as hell subs I frequent (r/askwomen, r/trollx, /r/vegan, etc) I noticed that white people just never want to listen to PoC. They never want to admit they are wrong, or that behavior they've participated in is harmful, or anything

If you can't admit that racism still exists, I don't know what to say to you. We're in the midst of a big race discussion right now, but I would still call it taboo, because so many people do not want to get involved - they want to sit on the sidelines and pretend it isn't happening. That's ridiculous. We need to openly discuss race without someone attacking someone else for doing so.


Jemmeny: DRUGS. We need to talk to our kids and well the world about Drugs, Alcohol and Addiction. We need to talk about Harm Reduction. We need to talk about The Origins of Addiction and Concurrent Mental Health Disorders. We need to educate EVERYONE on addiction prevention. We need to talk about fentanyl, herion, cocaine and ALCOHOL.

I've written about addiction before because it's very important to me. I've watched friends die from overdoses or let drug addictions destroy their lives. There is so much stigma surrounding drug use. A person who is addicted to drugs is automatically seen as a dirtbag and they are usually immediately dismissed. It ties into our issue with discussing mental illness, and none of it should be acceptable in 2016.

Source: iStock


h0lmium: I'm not sure if someone mentioned this already, but menstruation is highly taboo. Women are treated like their bodies are disgusting even though menstruation is highly natural and signals that the woman is healthy and everything is working like it should.

Don't believe me that this is a taboo? Just think about the fact that in tampon and pad commercials, they use blue liquid instead of red liquid to signify blood. Why? Because periods are taboo. Can we stop, please? It's getting ridiculous.

Source: iStock

Unpopular Opinions

abqkat: one thing I notice is just that: expressing something that's not popular is very often dismissed as 'phobic' or ignorant or ill-informed. I call it being "narrow within your open-mindedness" and, IME, it happens a lot and it can be a tough thing to navigate.

I have to agree with this. No one knows what to say when someone says something like, "I don't agree with homosexuality." When I hear someone say that, I feel angry and upset and confused, because I would never say anything like that, and it upsets me that someone would. But the uncomfortable truth is that that person has a right to their opinion. I can call them names or shame them for it, but they still have a right to feel that way. In the last few years, we've all become more aware of things that should be accepted instead of ashamed... but in doing so, we've decided that anyone who doesn't agree with those things can be ridiculed. You might not like what they think or say, but just like you don't want them calling you names for your opinion, you can't do the same to them.

Source: iStock

What do you think about these taboo subjects? What did I forget to include? What do you disagree with? Let me know in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

Why Are Periods Still Taboo On Teen Shows?

Follow Gurl, Pretty Please!
Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram

Posted in: Discuss
Tags: , , ,
  • Ileri Jaiyeoba

    I agree big time when it comes to female sexuality, disabilities and periods. Sometimes in certain countries when young girls with disabilities start their period mothers often take them to get sterilized in order to suppress their menstruation. This is taking away their rights to their own body and sexuality. Sterilization is a dangerous practice as well as forbidding a girl to a cave when she menstruates which is also done in certain countries. Code Red recently wrote a blog post about the taboo on periods check it out @ Coderedco.squarespace.com

  • Moni

    Definitely agree with disability not being a well discussed topic.Many ramps I’ve encountered, I took the time to measure the angle of the incline(I’m an engineering student) and many of them seemed pretty steep in my opinion.

    • Ash Rose

      I agree- I’ve got Asperger’s Syndrome, and I get all sorts of crazy comments: “But you don’t look Asperger’s!” “You’re a girl, you can’t have Asperger’s!” “You’re great at sport, you can walk, you can’t have Asperger’s” “I didn’t realize there was something wrong with you!” “You’re weak! Just man up, you attention-seeking baby!” I think that the media- or the lack of it- contributes to this astonishing general ignorance.