I came across this video How Women Have Lived With Their Periods Since 1900 a few days back and I realized that India is still in the 18th century. Sorry to disappoint the tech savvy crowd of this nation but. How the hell did we manage to be CEOs at international companies when we are risking the hygiene of 50% of the nation’s population?
Menstruation covers nearly half of the life of a human female. Seven days a week, every single month. That is 84 days a year, which is basically three months of each year. Although we can predict the next bloody outbreak. It starts with an insecurity of getting a red spot on your lower wear a week before the predicted date. After going to the washroom to detect the false alarm in every 2 hours for a week. We want the periods to just come finally. And when it is there finally, ruining our underpants with its existence, there is an ironic relief that there will be no more false alarms. Abdomen cramps are the stars of the show. We are feeling that irritating wetness for 24 hours, one entire week. That discomfort to keep the napkin under position. And the flood, every time you stand up after sitting for a long time. Sneezing is a curse. The hormones make sure we are pissed off even at the most hilarious jokes.
Few creatures of our masculine community make us lose our senses when they say:
“This should feel like a daily thing, you should be habitual by now.” To which we internally reply with a nice kick below their belts and say “Sir, does that hurt? what you are feeling right now is exactly the pain spanning on a time period of seven days for us, rest alone you don’t have blood flowing like a hemophiliac. Sorry, but you should be habitual with that by now.”
And every time we are pissed off at something genuinely they say “Are you on your period?” To which we internally reply “Sir, if your mother was regularly pissed off with with your explanation in consideration, your existence is quite questionable.”
We are then free for just 20 days and this expected guest is on our doors all over again.
On a serious note, my attention is not towards the problems and pain we are going through. Through my above explanation, I just tried to prove that periods are as normal, simple and frequent as breathing air. Don’t be terrified when I say that ‘IT IS EVERYWHERE’.
Okay, most of the people know what are sanitary napkins and where they are applied. But there are things called TAMPONS and MENSTRUAL CUPS 95% of the nation’s population does not know about. I was attending pre-med coaching a year back and NONE of my hostel mates knew about TAMPONS. What? They are the future doctors.
Tampons are far more comfortable than sanitary napkins, you do not feel wet all the time, they do not show from your skinny jeans, no staining, no skin irritation and nobody knows about it. They carry the most advanced gadgets in their backpacks, and they are oblivious of the scope of comfort in their life. Huh?
It is such a hush-hush event, guys with no sisters in their families have a hard time accepting it.
The government has put sanitary napkins under the 12% GST slab. Where male contraceptives and female beauty products like sindoor and bangles are under the 0% GST slab. The excuse is that these are necessity products. Which makes sanitary napkins a luxury product in this case. What the hell are you trying to convey? Are you trying to challenge the scientific fact and say that period is under our control? That to look traditionally more accurate with the sindoor, bindi and bangles are MORE IMPORTANT than having a basic physical hygiene.
For God’s sake, a majority of women in India are suffering from ovarian cancer, genital infections, cervicitis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, PID, even ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages in some cases. Just because of the lack of menstrual sanitation. Only 5% of the female community uses sanitary napkins in India. The rest of them use pieces of cloth, rags, jute bags, ash, wood shavings, paper scrapings, used newspapers and the list of unimaginable items goes on. Guys, we are in an era where we have developed textile materials which guarantee us comfort throughout the year and we are placing wood shavings near the most sensitive areas of our body.
Men still feel awkward to buy a sanitary napkin from a medical store. And our sanitary napkins are still hidden in the most top secret pockets of our backpacks. Women are restricted from their daily routine just because they are considered impure or in some cases too pure to use a sanitary napkin.
I can not and I won’t discuss all the taboos alive in this country in this post. But if you dare to feel less ignorant you can visit the following web pages which have given an amazing explanation:
If one thinks we are not aware enough, here are few things, just for you :
There is an upcoming movie in India ‘PAD MAN’ based on a person who takes up the challenge to make affordable cotton sanitary pads for women, despite facing opposition from everyone around him.It is a biopic on Arunachalam Muruganatham, an entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu, who invented low-cost sanitary napkins to generate awareness in rural areas.
There is another film ‘PHULLU’ which captures a similar picture. Phullu is a man who is good for nothing so his mother gets him married thinking that he will become mature after marriage. After marriage, he comes to know about menstruation and how the women of his village use cloth etc. The film is about what he does after he understands their inconveniences.
The TEDx talks –
Menstruation consideration – A face-off with the situation
- The Menstrual Movement | Nadya Okamoto | TEDxPortland
- Men need to talk about menstruation | Pravin Nikam | TEDxDumas
- On the need to speak up about period pain | Carine El Boustani | TEDxLAU
- A period to period-shaming | Rupal Gupta, Apurva Kothari & Niharika Adwani | TEDxYouth@JPIS
- Can a comic book overcome India’s menstruation taboo? | Aditi Gupta & Tuhin Paul | TEDxBangalore
- Menstrual Health of India | Sinu Joseph | TEDxMSRIT
- Unwrapping the gifts of menstruation | Sinu Joseph | TEDxTughlaqRd
- What if periods were free? | Berkley Conner | TEDxBallStateUniversity
- The sanitary pad revolution | Muruganandam Arunachalam | TEDxGateway
And there are much more.
- Menstrual taboos at a glance – 14 Illogical Taboos About Menstruation That Still Exist In India
- The most amazing poem every woman and girl would relate to – Periods are nothing to hide. Aranya Johar for Menstrual Hygiene Day India
- Menstrual education revisited – Menstrupedia | Blush Originals | World Menstrual Hygiene Day
- A woman’s 28-day cycle in a pretty cool way – This is Your Period in 2 Minutes | Glamour
- And for some entertainment, no aim to offend anybody, a youtube mini series with 4 episodes, this is the link to the first one. Man’s World
So ladies and gentleman, don’t whisper it, shout it out in the streets that we no longer live in the 18th century. This is not a national issue. It is a worldwide issue.
The stereotypes NEED to break.
Menstruation is the reason we exist so why can’t we respect a phenomenon so close to our being. And it is not that menstruation just gave birth to women. Every gender is an integral part of this phenomenon. We have outrages about bloodshed on every border but the blood that is creating life is neglected.
Guys let them make fun about you and your concern. There is no manhood if the womanhood is not known.
Remember the Olympics?
You do not need to be a feminist to understand how grave this situation is. You just need to be a Human because apes don’t have the menstruation like one the humans do.
And stop shaming women because they are stronger than you.
Stop shaming women because they see more blood in their life than you do.
Stop shaming women because they are beside you in every field and you never realized they are going through this pain.
And stop shaming women because that girl turned into a woman when she was just 11 and you were still flipping the pages of the reproductive health chapter in the class and making childish jokes about it.
Please do not take it personally. It is not you who did it right?