Periods. A word that is often hushed in the living rooms of houses and is the source of constant shame that women face. It’s something that is not even in their control but something that they’re born with. The culture of period shaming has dug in its roots deep in our society and it’s time to change that.
In India period shaming takes everyday forms – from secretive nudges and giggles, to packaging pads in a ‘black packet’ or brown paper by chemists, families and even girls sometimes. The isolation of menstruators is unbelievable.
Traditional and conservative thinking shame a woman with period stains. Of India’s 450 million young girls, nearly all may report some form of period shaming in their lives. As a young college goer myself, here are my 10 reasons on why we need to stop period shaming:
- Myths as reality?
A major chunk of the period shaming culture originates from age-old myths and beliefs. Following the orthodox patterns in blindfolds, people forget to differentiate between myths and actual reality. Did these myths exist since always or was there a system of beliefs that eventually formulated them to establish their control? Women are central perpetrators of myths as they talk to girls first about periods. From moms to grandmothers, periods are a taboo topic when they needn’t be.
- The shame complex
Girls grow up in a society where they’re taught to not talk about periods openly. ‘Don’t sit on the bed, don’t sleep here, don’t enter the kitchen’ and the list goes on. Things like these often develop a shame complex in young minds and they grow up to be under-confident or constantly under the complexity of that shameful phenomenon.
- Breaking the toxic chain
When a young girl grows up in a world where she is constantly shamed for periods, she is conditioned to pass them to her next generation or current circle. And breaking the toxic chain of period shaming is priority for all of us.
- It is a natural phenomenon
Turn over to the pages of your biology book and you will find a whole section dedicated to this hushed word. It is the most natural thing that a woman’s body experiences which is essential for the existence of a new life in the world.
- Periods blood is the only blood which is not out of violence
Not born out of violence, period shaming is the outcome of conflicted patriarchal norms and taboos. Why frown upon the blood not out of violence but just a natural bodily function.
- Putting a halt to the patriarchy
- Embracing the idea
Addressing the elephant in the room is a herculean task when it comes to talking about ‘the packet in black’. But it’s important to normalise periods and discuss embracing ourselves. Periods are something that is very natural and they should be celebrated instead of shamed. We should be taught to be confident irrespective of what society says and love ourselves for who we are.
- This is a serious issue
The gravity of how periods impact women is reflected by the kind of incidents India sees. According to one report, a 12-year-old girl in Tamil Nadu killed herself after a teacher scolded her for staining her clothes with menstrual blood. She jumped off a 25-foot high building in her hometown of Tirunelvelli. Mishaps like these can be avoided by increasing the conversation about period shaming.
Views expressed are author’s own