Menstruation is Not a Dirty Word
There are approximately 3.8 billion women in this world and its safe to say that many of them are menstruating this very moment. So why is it that even today, we still carry shame over something we have no control over. Even today, women have to be ashamed to talk about their periods. Hiding the pad while passing it on to a friend just so the boy standing next to you doesn’t see it. Or whispering about it so no would hear you. Even menstruation as a topic is not discussed outside of your close friends and family. So what is the reason behind all the shame?
This is a talk not only for girls but for everyone in society including men. From ages, menstruation is looked at as unholy or disgusting. It has said to be ‘unclean’ but why is it that even in the year 2020 we stick to this stigma. There has been a time in every girl’s life where they have had to be ashamed to talk about their periods. At first, when I didn’t know any better I was just another girl who tried to keep her voice down so no one would hear me talk about my period. When I had cramps I would simply just exercise because my couch was male. I was extremely embarrassed to tell him that I had cramps because I was on my periods. I would suffer in silence because it was what I had seen people do around me. I would see girls hide their pads and lead the way to the washroom. I had seen them make an excuse about having cramps but never actually using the word periods. I had become familiar with the world full of shame and disgust. Periods had become something that I wanted to get rid of.
I come from a conservative family and though we have been able to move past many differences we still have some things we consider as a taboo. Unfortunately menstrual has been one of them. In my earlier stage of periods in my Grandparents’ house, I was asked not to enter the kitchen of the temple. We have some set rules for everyone menstruating which includes having to wash your hair on the third day of the period to purify yourself. I never understood it and truthfully I didn’t try to but with all this I realized something. I kept thinking that things were bad for me that I forgot that they must have been so much worse for the generations before me. At least with the help of the internet, I know so much more about my health but others didn’t have the same luxuries. I felt bad for my mother, my grandmothers. Being taunted about your periods is not a good feeling for anybody. This problem has been going on for ages now. What started as a way to help women has become a daily reminder that 7 days of a month they are ‘disgusting.’
The reason why women didn’t enter kitchens, cook, or do any other household work was that when a female is menstruating she is losing a lot of blood from her body. They may even have cramps which would not be good for their health. They were given three days off from the work to make sure they are in good health and that they receive a good amount of rest before they start working again. But what started as something good has changed its meaning over the years. Today, all menstrual brings to a woman is a shame.
All fathers, brothers, and boys when a girl tells you about her periods don’t be disgusted. Learn how to handle these things. Educate yourself so next time she tells you she needs pads or she needs something you won’t have to be embarrassed. I might be one of the luckiest people when it comes to having an understanding father. While all my friends talked about how uncomfortable it was for them to talk to their father about there periods I couldn’t complain. My dad always made me feel comfortable to talk about it with him. I didn’t have to feel ashamed or embarrassed when I was telling him. He knows the medicines I need when I am in pain and I know that if I need him to he will drive down to the last open store to find me a pad. So all boys, don’t help make women feel bad about their bodies. You know it. They know it so what is so hard. I am sure that everyone has learned about menstrual in their biology class and I see no reason to create an uncomfortable atmosphere regarding this.
I remember I had gone one rafting trip and I was on my periods. I was so scared that someone will push me in the water that I had warned everyone, boys and girls. I had told them I was on my periods and that was enough to scare some of them off. It wasn’t until that trip that I realized that I had nothing to be ashamed of. I was just another girl who was menstruating. After I had said it I didn’t feel embarrassed anymore. Like everyone else, I didn’t have to whisper the word period or hide the pad when I go to the washroom. It wasn’t something I was proud of but it certainly was not something I was ashamed of. It just was like everything else in my life, normal.
Instead of telling a woman to talk softly when talking about her periods, we should learn to normalize it. Every woman has periods. It’s not new information. Learn to understand what a period is and how that might affect a girl. Having dealt with the cramps and the mood swings are enough for you to have to make us feel ashamed of something we can’t control. It’s a part of my gender. Learn to accept it. This goes for all women, stop being embarrassed by your periods. Learn to say the words out loud. Learn to tell people about it if you are in pain. Learn to share your experience. We cannot learn to normalize periods if you are still ashamed of your gender. Get used it to. It’s about time don’t you think?
P.S. Just because I’m mad does not mean I am on my periods. Also, stop making jokes about periods, it just as normal as your life.