Girls Everywhere Are Being Taught To Be Ashamed Of Their Period, But Why??
Written By: Vaishnavi
Let’s begin with the obvious: Every woman in the history of humanity has or had a period. Each month, her uterus sheds its lining, sending blood flowing out through her vagina (unless she’s pregnant, in which case she gets a lengthy reprieve). This process is as natural as eating, drinking and sleeping, and it’s beautiful too: There’s no human race without it. Yet most of us loathe talking about it.
Women have 5,000 euphemisms for menstrual periods, but still can’t talk about it openly. Despite all the social and professional advancements for women, the monthly period is still treated as a taboo. It’s interesting that so much embarrassment, awkwardness, and shame surrounds a natural bodily function. Being a supreme truth we agree not to talk about it. Why?
When women are emotional, or tough, or in a bad mood it’s really common to hear the cliché “It must be her time of the month!” Blaming women’s behavior due to menstruation? Seriously?
Why should women feel awkward if a tampon or pad falls out of their bag in public? Why should women feel ashamed and uneasy while talking about their periods out loud? Why should women be treated as impure, polluted, filthy, cursed ??
When girls first start their periods, they embark on a decades-long journey of silence and dread. Periods hurt. They cause backaches and cramps, not to mention a cloud of emotional sickiness—and this goes on every month, for 30 to 40 years. In public, people discuss periods as often as they discuss diarrhea. Women shove pads or tampons up their sleeves on their way to the bathroom so no one knows it’s their “time of the month.” They get bloodstains on their clothes. They stick wads of toilet paper in their underwear when they’re caught without supplies. Meanwhile, ad campaigns sanitize this bloody mess with scenes of light blue liquids gently cascading onto fluffy white pads while women frolic in form-fitting white jeans.
The most recent example of prejudice towards periods occurred just a few weeks ago: a twelve per cent tax has been put on sanitary products, because they are considered luxuries (women have the option to use reusable cups, which aren’t taxed) but men’s disposable razors are not taxed even though they are also a luxury and also add to landfill.
If all this sounds unfair, try getting your period in the developing world. Taboos, poverty, inadequate sanitary facilities, meagre health education and an enduring culture of silence create an environment in which girls and women are denied what should be a basic right: clean, affordable menstrual materials and safe, private spaces to care for themselves. At least 500 million girls and women globally lack adequate facilities for managing their periods. In rural India, one in five girls drops out of school after they start menstruating and of the 355 million menstruating girls and women in the country, just 12 percent use sanitary napkins.
Menstruation wasn’t always so taboo. In ancient and matrilineal cultures, it was a mark of honor and power, a sacred time for women to rest and revive their bodies.
Today, no one is going to the spa or taking a few days off of work to celebrate her period.But it’s high time we realize that periods are nothing to be ashamed about. It is a completely natural thing that happens to every woman every month. It’s time we stop wrapping pads with shame and letting young girls know why they should bleed with pride.
With changing times, women’s role in the society changed, the stories where women have rebelled against it or find their own ways, it is really, really empowering.
Image Source: Menustrupedia.com
”It’s time we all realize that bleeding is what signifies our womanhood and gives us the complete joy of being a woman. It’s time to celebrate the only blood that is shed without violence and it’s time to bleed with pride.”