India

Menstruation, an inevitable biological process, yet a taboo

13 Jul 2018 | By Saloni Srivastava

Menstruation has been stigmatized since time immemorial. It is considered a taboo and women undergoing it called impure, in spite of menstruation being an inevitable monthly occurrence.

The question is why in this time and age, is menstruation a taboo topic to discuss or even name.

It needs to be familiarized and spoken about.

Let's dig deeper, and find out more about it.

In context: Why is menstruation a taboo?

13 Jul 2018Menstruation, an inevitable biological process, yet a taboo

Understand itFirst off, what really is menstruation?

Menstruation, also known as periods, is the regular discharge of blood and mucosal tissue from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina at a regular interval of 28 to 35 days.

Menstruation is as natural and necessary as breathing is for the human body.

A woman gets pregnant and gives birth because of menstruation. So no menstruation means, NO PEOPLE.

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How do people perceive menstruation?

People's PerceptionHow do people perceive menstruation?

Unsurprisingly, the taboo arises from an ingrained misogyny. Men consider it a "woman problem" and are hesitant to talk about it.

This mindset is propagated by men and older women alike, who teach young girls in India to refrain from going to temples, kitchen etc., terming them impure.

However, India is not an exception, prejudices regarding menstruation exist and are disseminated around the world.

ReasonsWhy people think, what they think about menstruation?

A woman's body is a mystery to boys/men.

Women are expected to keep this, completely natural and periodic process, a secret all their lives and men are expected and advised not to ask questions.

But, isn't asking questions a better way of understanding this? Much better than pretending no one knows when in reality everyone has their own ideas about it.

Skewed TerminologyThe-thing-that-must-not-be-named

Quite amusingly, people give various names to avoid saying "Menstruation". They call it periods, being down, monthly, etc.

But not saying it out loud or whispering at the drug store to buy a pack of sanitary napkins, only makes it worse.

The only way of fighting the stigma is by spreading awareness. Step 1: Quash the secrecy. Step 2: Spread proper education.

Educate themThe problem stems from our education system

Schools often conduct a "conversation" guarded by oaths of secrecy between a female teacher and girls of the class, while boys are asked to step out. Instances like these lead to misguided curiosity.

Boys, being intrigued, begin making assumptions, some misinformed peer passes his 'knowledge' to another and before we know, the assumption has become their reality.

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SolutionWhat can be done to remove this taboo of menstruation?

First off, one must stop making a woman's body the 'Da Vinci Code' that needs to be deciphered.

School kids, both boys and girls, should be made party to the 'Menstruation talk', to receive the right information.

Menstruation is completely natural, rather necessary. Let's make people understand this.