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‘Shh! You’re On Your Periods.’ My Take On The Need To Speak About Menstruation

Posted: December 30, 2019
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From using code words about periods to wrapping sanitary napkins like a bomb, we keep periods a secret. It’s time we changed that, says the author.

We live in a country, where obscenity and illicit language is used in public but speaking about a biological process is unacceptable. Yes, I’m talking about menstruation.

And if you want to stop reading this right here, you can. I just wrote about a natural phenomenon and I believe I have every right to do so.

You may wonder where I got the guts to speak so blatantly about something I was supposed to whisper. It all comes from my mom.

My mom was this rebellious woman, who went to the temple and participated in festival celebrations despite being on periods. She made sure she taught me the same. During the days when a woman, on her periods, was considered untouchable, mom did everything from extreme sports to kitchen chores. She insisted on me doing the same. I too had my share of brainwash from the narrow-minded people who brought ‘culture’ into this.

I get it from my mom!

When you are on your period, you don’t go here, you don’t go there,” and the blabber goes on. And when you ask why, they brush it off saying that it is what the elders taught them. I wonder how they wish to remain unvarying, when everything else is changing drastically.

Those were the times when people knew nothing about science, when every absurd thing was given the name of religion and believed by the masses. But if you wish to continue the same taboos and myths about periods even today, you need to buy a brain at the earliest.

Another thing my mom passed on to me was to talk about menstruation unabashedly. There is no shame in men knowing about menstruation. It is not easy to ignore PMS, cramps and mood swings. When it actually takes a toll on you, ask for help from anyone who can.

Put aside talking to men. Even in a room full of women, we tend to hesitate talking about menstruation. I wonder what is so secretive about this. Every adolescent girl gets her periods and every human knows this. Then what are you even hiding? God alone knows.

“But, how do we tell boys?”

“With your mouth?”

Growing up, I saw my aunts and their friend circle using code words and sign language to speak about periods. Believe me that’s more hilarious than any comedy show. Someone please tell me why I should call it ‘that time of the month,’ ‘not doing well,’ ‘girls problem,‘ rather than just saying ‘I am on my period?’

The way we speak of it, as if it was a crime or a downcast thing would terrify a girl who is having her first or second period. She would feel that these five days of the month are a humiliation. That is the worst thing, ever. I pity those girls, who, when they had their first period, were told about the restrictions and not about the biological process.

I have cousins who would list you out all the curtailments of those five days and are unaware of why we get our periods.

Shall I tell you a hilarious experience? It happened when I went to buy sanitary napkins. I just told the shopkeeper that I wanted sanitary napkins and the men around gave me looks of shock and wonder.

The shopkeeper took them out and wrapped it in almost hundred newspapers and hid it in a black cover, before he finally gave me. I wonder if drug dealers and gun smugglers also hide the illegal material in the same way.

We need to understand it better

One fine day, I really lost my cool and insisted on the shopkeeper giving it to me in a normal, white cover. Like he would give any other things I purchased. Because sanitary napkins are like any other things I purchase.

I think it is important for every girl to understand menstruation properly. The understanding they get at home, what they should or shouldn’t touch, where they can or cannot go is imprisoning them. They do not need to publicise this, but they should be able to speak about this when required. These girls must grow up to be ladies with a voice of their own.

It is the female uterus that lies at the apex of the creation of every life form. So, when it bleeds once in a month, don’t take it as a taboo. Express yourself and take pride in being a female.

Picture credits: Pexels

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