How many of you hate hearing any insinuation of the phrase, “Are you on your period or something?” The causal shame associated with periods make them look like they are something so much more than just a natural phenomenon. From neighbouring aunties chiming in with “Auraton waali problem” to our male friends pissing us by saying, “Oh, you are PMsing,” we have to deal with both stereotypes and shame around periods.
Period shaming and related stigma are straight-up misogyny. The shame associated with periods comes from the stigma of this biological process being unhygienic, dirty and plain disgusting. But is a natural process that is necessary for human existence, so how could be that impure? Why must we talk about periods in code words?
Not only do people need to stop shaming, but also we need to understand the misogyny behind it. Having a period can be painful, uncomfortable, and hindering and so is the stigma behind it. Menstruation stigma is a form of misogyny, where negative taboos condition us to understand menstrual function as something to be hidden, something shameful. And by not naming a thing, we reinforce the idea that it is a matter of shame or a topic that shouldn’t be discussed openly.
Period talk gone wrong: Here are the 5 things we are tired of hearing
“No one wants to hear about that!”
If a woman happens to mention that she’s having periods, then you don’t have to react with a look of disgusted horror. Don’t pretend like you don’t know what she is talking about. This attitude, that the menstrual cycle is some kind of shameful secret that should be locked up deep inside without a key, is grotesquely unfair.
Suggested Reading: Everyday Sexism: Remarks Women Hear But Their Husbands Don’t
“You don’t have to be that emotional.”
Women are really tired of having everyone second-guess their lives because of their hormones. Being extra emotional or not isn’t under their control. Neither do they have to give you an explanation about it. Some people find it really hard to come to terms with the fact that women are voicing their emotions and feelings publicly. But what is wrong with doing that? Everyone should have the right to express themselves openly with or without being on periods.
“So you’re PMSing. What do you want, special treatment?”
Every woman who goes through PMS deserves to be treated with a modicum of respect. She should certainly not be made to feel embarrassed because her body is working through the mechanism that creates life. When women ask to be cut a little slack because they are PMSing, it’s not because they are too much to handle, but because men are taught very little about how to conduct themselves.
“You should be use t0 of the pain”
Like seriously? Is there a level upto which you can stretch your stupidity? Have you ever had a body part twist and turn to get rid of everything inside? NO? Then stop asking the girls to take a chill pill or any pill. No matter how many years girls might have experienced these cramps but the intensity of period cramps never ceases. So instead of that insensitive comment you passed on, how about giving her some comfort food?
“It must be that time of the month.”
Unless you’re their gynaecologist, no woman wants to hear anything about their period from you. This is such a messed-up way of using a woman’s biology against her, and all kinds of inaccurate. Voicing that she is on her period to dismiss anything you may have said or done wrong, is absolutely demeaning and inappropriate.
Views expressed are the author’s own.