What Indian women want to say about Menstruation but never speak out!
What Indian women want to say about Menstruation but never speak out! | Credit: Npr

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What Indian women want to say about Menstruation but never speak out!

Aug 17, 2018

Isn’t it high time we ended the taboo around menstruation? Simply put, women menstruate regularly and it is as natural as something like digestion. But, the way it is perceived in the society today is like it is some sort of a deadly epidemic. Even though we belong to a country that had openly documented about sex even before the rest of the world got fully civilised, why are there still misconceptions about menstruation?

Indian society has been hundreds of years old and has gone through various transformations. Somewhere along that, we seem to have become a confused group of people that has complicated even simple day-to-day things like menstruation, breastfeeding, safe sex, etc. 

We have made essential topics taboo and have worsened the already confused state that the youth of the country is in.

Menstruation is the very biological phenomenon that enables a woman to conceive another life. If anything, it has to be revered. At the least, it has to be accepted as part of life. Girls who are about to start menstruating should be able to have an open dialogue with parents and friends. But, instead of that, most parents tell girls not to talk about it and keep it secretive. Young boys need to be made aware of the process as well so that they understand the opposite gender and become more sensitive. This kind of an ideal situation is still a far-away dream for us.

While one part of society suffers from a lack of proper facilities to go through a hygienic menstrual cycle, another part of the society ends up feeling ashamed of menstruating, all due to lack of awareness. So, here are 5 statements that every self-aware grown woman in India wants to make as she asks the society to cut the pretence out and get real. 

Menstruating does not make us dirty. Lack of hygiene does.

In the name of tradition, women are not ‘allowed’ to enter temples and other ‘holy’ places when they are on their period. This is downright illogical. Bodily fluids are not ‘unholy’. Maintaining hygiene for personal and public health is a must and we women are well aware of that. Staying clean and hygienic is something that is independent of whether we are on our period or not. So, please let your common sense do the math and stop restricting us. We have the right to choose where we want to go and when we want to go.

Sanitary napkins are not illegal goods that need to be smuggled.

Sanitary napkins are just cotton bundles that come in fancy packaging, aren’t they? Then why do you stare at us when we carry a packet of sanitary napkins or a single napkin in our hands? So, dear men, if you are so curious about what it is then please buy one and see for yourself. Don’t worry it is not a bomb. It won’t explode. As for the women who stare, you use it regularly too so why the look of disapproval/shock?

PMS is not an excuse, neither is it a disease.

A lot is assumed about Pre Menstrual Stress (PMS). It is misunderstood a lot of times and it is made fun of many times. The truth is that PMS refers to the effects of hormonal changes in a woman’s body just before she gets her period in every menstrual cycle. It can cause elevated stress and various other emotions in some women. But, every person on the planet goes through human emotions and how the person deals with these emotions is based on his/her personality. In the same way, a woman deals with her PMS in her own way. Understand what it is before you generalise it and share jokes about it on social media.

A woman’s needs during periods may differ on a case-by-case basis.

As an extension of the previous statement, every woman is different and not all of us have the same menstrual cycle. For some, it is monthly, for some it is shorter and for some, it is longer. The degree of pain that a woman goes through during her period also differs. Some women [G1] [G2] barely feel any different while some women go through a whole rollercoaster when they are on their period. It is important to be aware of this and understand this.

We need an open dialogue about menstruation. Right now.

When a woman's reproductive health is affected, it is literally the end of the world. There are many issues that have cropped up due to the lack of open talk about menstruation in our society.

Often, young girls have many doubts and they are never clarified. Girls adopt the same approach towards menstruation as their mothers and this is not always good. Best practices need to be discussed. Women should be educated about what is right and what is not. Guarding menstruation like a secret is something that needs to end now. Women in our country should be aware of how to maintain good menstrual hygiene and reproductive health. A healthy future is what we need and the way towards that is to do away with regressive attitudes.