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Myths and taboos about menstruation

Facts about menstruation

‘Half of the women’s life is spent bleeding but the cruel world still offers no legitimate heeding’

Woman’s monthly frenemy, periods in all these billions of years have not been able to set its place in normalcy. What is normalcy anyway? There is no definition of it. Every month a female body detoxes itself and becomes healthier but shame on this society that fails to address it. In recent years, beginning from the feminist wave, this taboo has started to bloom and has attracted many brains to actually come and talk about it. Dozens of myths and disgusts revolve around menstruation and menstruating woman who for some reason is considered impure. Let’s not shy away. Millennials and Gen-Z shall destroy the shackles and remove the bars which are put ahead of this everyday occurrence.

About 350 million women all over the world menstruate every day. This is not a recent happening which needs to be addressed, but it was present the day humans entered this world. Hence, the word needs no scientific definition per se as it is a part of human life as much as anything else. It is a beautiful process that takes place inside a female body. Females, being the nurturer every month produce eggs which if fertilized produce offspring, and when it does not fertilize, the female body releases blood from the vagina. Now, the process is not at all endurable on certain days but menstruating women or every woman is thus powerful who performs the function of nature and nurture.

Periods in Indian’s perspective

There is no surprise to say that in India from time immemorial, a menstruating girl or woman is considered to be ‘impure’. Little do we know the scientific reasons behind it. Impurity was not the term used by our aborigines, menstruation caused the female body stress and to avoid it they were spared household work for those few days. But as time passed the women were started to look down upon. This is entirely our miscreation concerning women.

In India, menstruation has been seen as a complete taboo and this is the way Indian males are brought-up to feel ashamed and disgusted to be around a bleeding woman. This ancient happening has created a lot of mental and emotional weakness which surrounds women and girls. The challenge further intensifies because the girls have less and less access to education to date when compared to their male counterparts and this makes them vulnerable to fall into socio-cultural labyrinths. This is passed on as a legacy to the coming generation and is an unhealthy virus for our developing society.

Girls in most rural and some urban areas are not allowed to enter the ‘puja’ room or touch holy idols and books. It is further believed that menstruating girls and women are unhealthy and unclean and thus the food they touch becomes impure and contaminated. Thus, they aren’t allowed to touch sour items too. Now, this last thing of not touching the food as it transfers female period odor may sound bizarre but it’s there.

Myths on menstruation

Some commonly heard menstrual myths are:

  1.  Many girls believe that exercising excruciates the pain but in reality a bit of yoga and exercise always charge the mind of young girls and it dwindles the pain to some extent.
  2. It is also in few places believed that these ‘impure’ women shall stay away from water and also not touch holy cow for it may become infertile but its not the case.
  3. Some people also believe that a woman cannot be pregnant during menstruation which is false. Menstruation is a 5-6 day process and the flow of blood decreases in the last days. So, sex in the last days is able to impregnate the woman.
  4. You cannot swim on your periods. Its true but now that menstrual cups and tampons are created so, a woman can easily swim even during her periods.

Facts about menstruation

Enough of the myths. There are a few fun facts that both men and women should be aware of as it is a biological process.

  1. On an average, a women bleeds 3500 days in her life from menarche to menopause.
  2. Usually, women witness an increased sex-drive during her periods. Sex releases a cocktail of chemicals which help women endure pain easily. But, it is seen that men usually feel absurd to have any sexual activity with women. This shan’t be the case. It is normal and beautiful.
  3. Human female egg is the largest cell of the human body and the only cell that can be seen through naked eyes.
  4. Woman only bleeds 2-3 tablespoons of blood at any given period cycle.

Men’s action on women’s menstruation

Women, in their entire life, go through immense pain be it period, childbirth, or other opportunities. This ‘weaker sex’ has always been dominated and their toils ignored. There are many things that men can do or many ways in which men can act around their partners in their time of the month just to be a supportive and loving person and partner. I’ll list out a few small things men can do to turn the tide of the period day.

  1. Act lovingly normal in front of bleeding woman, be it your mother, sister, girlfriend or wife. Women become extremely sensitive during periods and require the care and love they bestow altruistically every other time. This is a small but an adorable step to being a good human altogether.
  1. Do not shy away if she asks you to go out and get her pads, tampons or chocolates. Go and make her happy because that’s what she expects.
  2. If she is moody its because her hormones are fluctuating. Do not act up that time as you have to be supportive of her.
  3. Laugh around but don’t joke on her sufferings as ‘being that time of the month’ changes her so its better to know the periodical cycle of women concerned.

So, we have seen how menstruation which is so normal had been ostracized for their body and its occurrences. Taboos are always laid down on talking and acting in a certain manner for both males and females. The time has changed and no one is declining that these things have started to be treated as everyday normalcy but no one can deny this fact too that we have to tread a long path to achieve full normalcy.

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Jyoti Paudel
Jyoti is a student and a young, aspiring writer whose area of interest is writing on existing social issues to create awareness. Currently, she is pursuing her bachelor from the University of Delhi.

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