Whenever a girl steps into a shop the people present stares her as an alluring angel but as soon as she asks for sanitary pads, the stares turn to a ‘queer’ glare!
In other words, one can say that a girl asking for sanitary pads openly is considered as some sort of sin and it draws so much of disgust that one starts giggling just at the drop of a hat.
In many cultures, especially here in Assam, the first blood that a girl bleeds is celebrated with pomp and glory and she is honoured by a coming-of-age ritual.
Periods are the most natural, normal process that a girl’s body is capable of; yet our culture, society continues to fall into the unholy category.
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However, what’s most confusing is that after celebrating the first bloat with such extravaganza, why does it become embarrassing issue later? Only because periods are a monthly affair or are there something else?
A survey by Flexx, a company that makes disposable tampon replacements discs, found that 73 per cent women across the world hide their periods from others and 68 per cent are afraid to talk about it with men.
In her book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, Dr Christiane Northup says, “Nothing in our society- with the exception of violence and fear- has been more effective in keeping women in their place than the degradation of the menstrual cycle.”
The period shame struggle is real; a girl can’t ask her mother regarding menstruation in front of her father.
Why do we have to wrap our sanitary pads under the layers of newspaper and black polythene bags, as if we are buying drugs?
At the same time when men buy a packet of cigarette, it’s sold openly without any hesitation.
“Character of a girl should always be covered,” replied a shopkeeper bluntly when asked as to why he uses black polythene or newspaper for wrapping sanitary pads?
Now the question is, how are character and menstruation even distantly related to the character of a woman?
For men, showing going shirtless is manhood and for a woman, buying sanitary pads without any wraps is an exhibition of character?
In other words, every month a piece of newspaper and a black polythene bag act as a saviour and a protector of a ‘girl’s character’!
Studies have revealed that the pain that a girl goes through during menstruation is 100 times more severe than the labour pain.
On top of that, menstruation comes with its own shares of infections and possible contamination if not cared properly.
However, a girl is unable to talk about these serious infections as no one feel comfortable to talk about and at the end, she has to suffer alone.
One such case actually lead a 13-year-old having to undergo surgery to remove her uterus- a procedure that will deny motherhood forever!
If an injured person, lying on the streets in a pool of blood, asks for help people my overlook that but no one fails to notice the stains on a girl’s skirt when she is in her periods.
In fact to get clothes stained with period blood is considered shameful.
It’s high time that people are imparted with menstrual education and a woman on her periods is considered as a normal human being by the society.
It’s time that the barriers are broken and menstruation and its issues can be talked and discussed about freely where both men and women participate equally.
It is time that we do away with the newspaper and the back polythene bags and no one feels shame while buying sanitary pads.
Celebrities like Lena Dunham, Emily Ratajikowski, Meghan Markle and many more have spoken out against menstrual stigma and opened up their own experience period shaming to shed any shame.
Men should also support menstruation by buying the pads, taking care of the ladies in their life and not by secluding them when they are on periods.
Let the revolution usher in and change the scenario which has been dominating women since ages.
Be proud to bleed, because it is a blessing, which enables the women to bring in a new life