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Parents educating their children about menstruation is the first step towards breaking the taboo surrounding periods.
Women, sometimes euphemistically referred to as the ‘fairer sex’, but unfortunately, society has not been very fair to us. Time and again, women have been bound by traditions and have become victim of social practices. Ironically, few of the practices which were intended for the betterment and well-being of a woman, have instead caused her agony.
Periods – an absolutely natural phenomenon, which marks the metamorphoses of a girl into a woman, has become a ‘hush-hush’ topic. ‘Shh… don’t talk about it in front of your dad’, ‘Hide your pads well, your brother might find them and ask questions.’ Haven’t we all grown up listening to such instructions?
In some households even today a menstruating person is asked to stay away from the kitchen and place of worship in the house. The reason being that they are considered impure for those few days! Seriously? The tradition said, let the menstruating girl or woman rest during her periods. The household chores back then like grinding spices on mortar and pestle or drawing water from well were quite tedious. Plus, there were no pads then. Women used cloth, which was very uncomfortable. So if we look at this practice of keeping women away from the household chores during their periods, it’s evident that it was for their wellbeing and had nothing to do with ‘purity’.
But as the tradition was passed down generations, patriarchal mentality twisted and reformed it against women. The power of reproduction, which nature has bestowed upon women, probably threatened the male chauvinists and they turned the biggest boon of a woman into a burden. Women started to consider themselves to be dirty for ‘that time of the month’.
Puberty hits both genders. Just like boys start getting facial hair and their voice changes when they come of age, similarly girls start menstruating. It’s just nature, simple.
I urge all parents, especially fathers, to have open conversations with your daughters about periods. Make them feel comfortable. And to the parents of boys, educate your son about menstruation. There are various resources available online and offline these days to help you. A proper knowledge about periods will not only prevent him from learning from half cooked information from his peers, but he will also respect women and understand what they go through. So the next time a girl has her periods in the classroom, she should feel supported and not humiliated.
Image Source- Canva
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Noopur Joshi Bapat, Software engineer by profession, discovered her love for writing very early in
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