MENstruation – (Should) Start with Men
As a child I always wanted to grow up. Whenever anybody asked me about my ambitions in life, I replied saying -” I wanna grow up. I wanna grow big.”
Usually girls are scared,skeptical, worried when they start menstruating. But I was simply elated, with the fact, when one fine day my mom declared me a grown-up. She made me understand my responsibilities. She educated me about the good touch and the bad touch. She told me about how I need to behave like a lady now. And she also told me not to discuss this with anyone else. When I questioned her for the same she casually said “Just because they still need to grow up and understand all this”. Wow!!! That massaged my ego to the core and I was already on cloud 9, little realizing what she just understated. Four monthly cycles passed by smoothly and on the fifth one I had my birthday. My parents and friends have always made this one day of my life memorable.
But this time was different. This time the customary visit to the temple was not made and my grandma made sure that I don’t even sneak into the ‘Mandir’ at home. I was frowned. I didn’t understand the correlation between menstruation and the temple visit. My mind was flooded with queries and knowing me, my mom took me to the corner to put my worries at ease.
She explained that there are a lot of stories around these taboos and if we can’t change them, then we ought to accept them. In ancient times women didn’t have the luxury of leak proof, dry and soft sanitary napkins available today. They used to manage with a piece of rug and hence they preferred to stay indoors. Also the tradition of forbidding her entry into kitchen and temple was started to give the lady some rest in those 3 days full of pains, cramps, discomfort and mood swings. The customs never said that she is impure. On the contrary they were meant to support her, empower her and enable her to sail through life easily.
The customs were meant to support her, empower her and enable her to sail through life easily.
The customs, as we know them today, are a result of the misinterpretations. This is something that has been passed on to us through word of mouth. They are neither scripted nor documented. For ages, they have been passed on from the mother to the daughter only. The secrecy maintained by our mothers for discussing these topics itself ingrains the hesitation and shame in us. But I believe that secrecy is maintained because the sons of this society are not equally educated about the same. Discussing it openly and expressing resistance against the myths and stigmas associated with menstruation would only invite giggles and stares from the ones who don’t understand the intricacies of it. And hence we are bound to follow them blindly.
Just like we breathe and eat, so do girls bleed.
Little do we realize that we are living in a deadlock and to escape it, we need to educate our sons. The men of this society need to know this special law of nature as soon as the girls of their age get to know. It should be made a natural, effortless process for everyone alike. Just like we breathe and eat, so do girls bleed. Let us join hands together and make this society embrace menstruation as a natural phenomenon.
“This blogathon is supported by the Maya App, used by 6.5 million women worldwide to take charge of their periods and health.”