I remember I was in the 10th grade when I had stained my school uniform on the second day of my periods. My best friend came up to me running with a stunned look on his face and mumbled something into my ears. After a few tries, he managed to come up with exactly two words – bloody skirt. When realisation dawned on me, I rushed to the bathroom, wore a pad, and went to the school nurse to ask for a spare skirt.
This incident probably left an impact on him because he did not talk to me for a few days. I even gave him a few more days before I could confront him. Because he felt awkward and had no idea how he was supposed to approach me, he had been avoiding me (like I hadn’t figured that out). I had to give him the period talk, explain the whole process to make him feel comfortable about it. Although it did take some time, he finally eased up when he understood that menstruation was something that all women go through. That day he wasn’t the only one who realised there was an awkwardness when it came to talking about one the most natural things women face.
Fast forwarding to ten years later, when movies like ‘PadMan’ and ‘Period. End of Sentence.’ have brought a wave of change with them. How many of you can say that you have witnessed the change?
Can you walk up to the shopkeeper and ask for a sanitary pad without him looking at you weird? Do you still think twice about asking a classmate or colleague for a pad?
Can you pull out a sanitary napkin or a tampon from your handbag and walk towards the washroom without perfectly hiding it in your back pocket?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then I would ask myself how much have things changed.
Although I can understand how men would feel ashamed of talking about menstruation, even though I don’t agree with the reasons, why women would refrain from talking about it is something that baffles me. If girls can go through the whole menstruation cycle, I would think that there is nothing that they would need to keep hidden from others.
With all the whispers (pun intended) going around when a girl gets her first period, it makes it seem like a mystery novel waiting to unfold. These drugstore shopkeepers bring the social stigma while they give us the sanitary napkins wrapped in the black polythene bag. Some of these girls do not even go to the stores and be thankful if their mothers bring them the pads. Menstrual products like tampons are considered as the virginity breakers, and thus, girls have to deal with pads even if they are not comfortable or believe in such myth. Only if we could talk, there would be time with no menstrual hygiene concerns in the country.
Menstrual myths are haunting women for centuries now. There is “stay indoors on those days” and “don’t enter the temple” instructions, “don’t clean your vagina on those days otherwise you will be infertile” instructions and many other instructions which follow-up women irrespective of logic and scientific reasons’ absence or presence.
Girlies, It is high time to start bashing the men who refer it to as, “Ladies Problem”.
The unsung hero of menstruation, Sirona India says, “Menstrual diseases are of two kinds – Amenorrhea in which no menstrual bleeding takes place and Dysmenorrhea in which you bleed till you turn pale. Besides, there are other menstrual disorders as well. Until the time a woman that she is diagnosed with such disorder, they had been called infertile and gone through enough mental trauma.
Movies have shown various menstrual concerns that the country is dealing with. There is menstrual hygiene, girls education, employment to girls and menstrual stigma. All of these subjects are related to each other. Period. End of sentence, a short documentary by Guneet Monga showed how menstruation had become a barrier to the education of girls in village Hapur and other rural areas. It discussed how women use everything they find at first sight during menstruation instead of actual menstrual product, even ashes!
But for how long the entertainment industry will run towards resolving the menstrual stigma. One solution can lead to a better life.
That solution is ‘women coming out of the cocoon to taking a bold step and talk about menstruation.
We should be calling out the word for the fuck of it!
I’m having a nice day, Period!
I wanna have a coffee, Period!
It’s been a long day, Period!
Karma is a bitch, Period!
Period… Period… Period… Period…. ♪♫♪
Since I mentioned in my previous blog that I’m on a spree to talking about ‘Period as a taboo word’, I’ve written a few more interesting topics that you must read. One of these being, Weird Questions Men ask Women about Tampons. This one’s for my fellow male colleagues. Go ahead, enjoy it!
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