The Taboo Around Menstruation: When Will it Stop?

Treading softly, Maya made her way to the other room. She peeked inside cautiously. With great stealth, Maya entered, and headed straight towards the girl sitting in the corner, isolated from the rest. Warily, she whispered in to the girl’s ear; loud enough for her to hear, but soft enough for the others to ignore. The girl sitting in the corner shook her head promptly and signaled the girl sitting near the wall. After giving a grim nod she gestured Maya to come closer. Maya rushed towards her, while at the same time maintained her low key presence. The girl carefully crept her hand into her bag and slowly retrieved the item. Maya instructed her to wrap the item before handing it over to her, in an effort to hide it from the prying eyes of the world. Showing no expression, Maya calmly left the room and paced her way to the washroom. She ran into the stall, slammed the door, and finally gave out a sigh of relief. Maya was on her period and had desperately needed a pad.

Menstruation is a biological process. Half of the population menstruates and the other half is no stranger to this fact. Then why on Earth are people so “shy” when it comes to talking about it? Engaging in an open conversation about periods will not cause the world as we know it to end nor will it mark the rise of the dead. What it will do is make way for a course of action through which issues faced by millions of girls can be discussed in an undaunted manner.

All around the world there are various misconceptions and apprehensions regarding menstruation, which continue to make things difficult for so many women and girls when they are on their periods. From being forced to live in isolation, not having access to hygiene products (and contracting infections), being forced to miss school, to living in stealth mode every month, with some girls maintaining the secrecy with their families. In many cases it ends up bringing a standstill to their daily lives. With so many problems, a “shy” attitude towards menstruation is the last thing needed.

The attitude that has been created towards this normal biological process is mainly a result of a narrow minded attitude and blatant misogyny, resulting in the ill treatment of women and illogical restrictions being placed upon them. What is needed is awareness, education, and acceptance; not myths, taboos or narrow mindedness. There is nothing disgusting, peculiar, or shameful about menstruation. An inability to address issues associated with it will only result in the continued mistreatment and discrimination so many women face on a regular basis.

No one should face any sort of discrimination or maltreatment just because their bodies are undergoing a natural process. By ridding our minds of taboos, misconceptions, and delusions related to menstruation, we can help in improving the situation for millions of women and girls across the globe. A change in attitude is the dire need of the hour, and what better way is there to begin than with ourselves?

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