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We are okay with cracking jokes on women being harassed and abused but aren’t comfortable talking about periods! Isn’t it time this changed?
We talk about everything but periods.
Catcall a woman on the road, nobody stops you. Threaten to stalk a girl or attack her with acid or sexually assault her, but no one stops you! Shame a woman, her family and friends simply because she is wearing a crop top, nobody says anything to you. Publicly declare that someone sexually assaulted a woman because she went out at night and no one stops you!
But if a woman tells you she’s on her period, she is immediately asked to shut up. And if she doesn’t she is labelled an attention seeker, a pseudo-feminist and a badly-raised brat.
Our conversations have a hundred wrong things that we let go of, normalise and even justify. But we can’t accept conversations about a normal, biological process. There are a hundred voices that need to be silenced which aren’t. Only the people talking about menstruation are silenced.
When a girl reports someone touching her inappropriately, we tell her, ‘yeh toh sabke saath hota hai.’ (this happens to everyone). Instead, we should actually use this dialogue about menstruation. But no, menstruation is apparently a crime! Sexual harassment is normal! (Please note the sarcasm here).
As soon as the conversation around periods begins, most people turn away. Everyone knows what happens during menstruation. We don’t need to act like the conversation is something that is illicit. I wish we worried more about stained characters and consciences of people than about stained skirts.
Now I remember reading a news article about the suicide of a 12-year-old girl in 2017 because she was humiliated about her periods. This only reflects how we have collectively failed in the sphere of menstrual wellness. It is a clear depiction of our apathy and impudence toward something that is in none of our control. I hope this incident keeps reminding us why we need to talk about menstruation.
Social media is full of jokes on rapes, wife bashing and on how women get richer after their divorces and on men who have extra-marital affairs and even on feminism. A number of us share and reshare these jokes till they go viral. But I wish we shared posts on menstrual hygiene as much as we share any of these jokes.
People will literally share jokes that demean women rather than sharing something about periods. If you can show me even one WhatsApp group that talks about periods, you would make my day, for sure! But majorly all we talk about is the prejudices and superstitions.
We are okay with women being hit, harassed and teased during a movie. But we can’t see the blood in period advertisements being red, we want that to be blue! We glorify a hero stalking the heroine and going to her house ‘suddenly’ at 12 am among other things. But movies and short films about menstruation are never a part of the discussion. They don’t deserve to be spoken about, right?
We have adapted to a number of things that go wrong with women, but we still can’t talk openly about this one thing that is normal.
So, let’s start today. Tell people that there are a hundred crimes happening around us but talking about menstruation isn’t one of them!
Picture credits: Still from Whisper’s Break The Silence Campaign on Youtube
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