• The Feminist Times

IT’S ABOUT TIME TO SMASH PERIOD TABOO AND IMPROVE OUR MENSTRUAL HEALTH



Do you remember the first time you got periods? I was 10 years old;

fortunately, it was summer vacation and a few days before my 10 the

birthday. But HORRIFYING! To see my undies all bloody red and

scared to tell my Mom. But why do we feel it’s okay to talk about

period with our mothers and female friends but not fathers, brothers

and male friends? The taboo. The moment we get our first period,

we are taught to ‘hide’ this ‘problem’ from everyone, to keep it a

secret.

Last year, I came across these two books on Period: “It’s About

Bloody Time. Period.” by Emma Barnett and “Period Power.” by

Maisie Hill. (I actually loved the usage of period as pun in both the

titles!) The former is shattering the period taboos across the world

while the latter is an attempt to educate us more about our bodies,

menstrual cycle and health. We women already feel uncomfortable

during periods followed by cramps, cravings and mood swings, etc.

But at schools, colleges or workplaces, it is next to visiting Hell for us.

Why? Because of our reluctancy and hesitation to talk about periods

with friends and co-workers most of the time and the backlash filled

with misogynist comments.

In her book, Emma Barnett shares what saddened her the most

during her research. She talked about the Sabarimala temple

protests in Kerala by Hindu women in 2018. Hindu women of the

menstruating age were banned from entering the sacred temple

because they were considered “impure”. While most women are still

fighting against the phobia and hatred for menstruating, many

women who don’t have medical access to health and hygiene

problems struggle as well.

Barnett says, “Periods need to come out of the darkness because of

the potential benefits to women’s health around the world. But the

cultural benefits of smashing the period taboo would be major and

just as important.”

In her Introduction, Masie Hill talks about the necessity to make

conversations about our period experiences, “the more we talk

about our experiences and issues, the less they can be ignored.” She

also said why Sex Education should talk more about period where we

are told that we have a right to know about our bodies. This is a

“sure-fire way to eradicate the shame that many of us have been

made to feel about our-usually very healthy and very normal-bodily

functions.” I believe this taboo can be permanently eradicated if we

women talk about it with everyone around us, once they see how

normal we are to talk about it and do not consider it shameful, they

will also eventually understand why it is absolutely normal and

natural.

There’s a native American saying that,

At her first bleed a woman meets her power

During her bleeding years she practices it

At menopause she becomes it

Recently, I read that Zomato introduced Period Leaves of 10 days a

year for women. This is the kind of changes that conversations bring.

And for that, I will suggest these books to be read one after the

other; first understand how your body works during period by

reading “Period Power.” and then exterminate the cultural period

taboos by reading “It’s About Bloody Time. Period.”

-Aayushi Jain

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