“No one else sees it
No one else wants to
Only she can see
The beauty in her blood.”
Humans are complicated, they are hungry for attention and for appreciation; they strive hard for that but when they are placed in that limelight it has two outcomes, either they get used to it and want more of it or they scare away.
The same is the case with the issues in our life, till the point they are not highlighted to the mass population; people are talking about them in hushed voices like it is something whose name cannot be taken in open. Most of these topics are considered as a taboo, what is weird is those topics are fine to talk about if they are spoken between the people who are designated by society or their norms.
One such issue is menstruation; a certain percentage of girls and women might feel it odd to address it as an issue because it is now normal for them but a majority of females still feel awkward talking about it. Why ? when they talk about bearing a child why not menstruation?
People feel happy when their child is born, bathed in the same blood of their mother which she bleeded out in the menstruation.A woman when bleeding is an issue and when not bleeding is a major issue.
Why can’t we accept the process when we accept the outcome of it?
What exactly is menstruation? It is normal vaginal bleeding, occurring as a part of the monthly cycle in women. According to another definition it is the regular discharge of blood and menses due to shedding off of the inner lining of the uterus through vagina.
A menstruating woman is considered as impure, from not doing puja in hindu religion to several dietary restrictions to not allowed to entering the kitchen to not touching the sour food like pickles as women are believed to contaminate because they are unhygienic and unclean as it is reported that during menstruation their body emits some specific smell or light that turns the food non consumable.
Other religion are not very far behind in these activities, Islam deems women unfit to perform there daily prayers and in Judaism, women are barred from performing certain activities during those days. These norms are also associated with certain evil practices like a woman with menstrual blood can force her will on man or the clothes worn during menstruation possess evil spirit; so they need to be disposed off.
With the prevalent thought process and the symptoms during periods which are seen even before the woman starts menstruating which is also known as premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Premenstrual syndrome occurs in 20-30% women and is severe in 3-8%.
It starts one or two weeks prior to beginning of menstruation and consists of dysmenorrhea, mental tension, mood swings, irritability, and crying spells. These symptoms affect everyday life, performance at work, college etc.
Focusing on the laws, there are some laws that need to be made that can help normalise talking about menstruation and to be not considered as a taboo. There are certain countries who are trying hard to make it better for women to go through the process of menstruation every month like the government of New Zealand made all the sanitary products free for women.
In countries like ours, women still use cloth or some unhygienic measures which can cause several issues. Period poverty is a major issue as women and girls do not have access to sanitary products which are safe and hygienic.
People should be educated about menstruation and even men should be made aware of it because help is required more than the awkward glances if there is a stain on the clothes.
A menstruation benefits bill is also passed to provide working women a two days leave in addition to better facilities to rest at the workplace. Various laws are made and are to be made to ensure a better environment along with some cooperation and better understanding rather than being made fun of for having PMS.
As a woman and for women, even we need to initiate measures to make the situation better for everyone. Working for the same cause the woman activist Kiran Gandhi said;
“The goal was not to impose views or advocate free bleeding, the goal was to get people talking about the issue and break the silence.”
Menstruation is not a curse, it is a process of your body assuring you that one day you’ll be able to make a beautiful creation out of it. With the changing world, there are many things such as PCOD etc, which makes things even worse for us.
Asking for support or help is normal but will people be able to help you if you are not helping yourselves. Laws are being made and will be made, but will we be able to leave our habits of hushed tones, bullying in the name of menstruation, considering it as a taboo and telling our closed ones like daughters and sisters etc. to not talk about it in open.
What we need to understand is it is the responsibility to everyone to make the world a better place for us and our closed ones.
“While woman sheds the blood of life each moon at menstruation, man can only shed the blood of death through warfare and killing.”- Katha Pollitt