Bengaluru, (Aryavarth) I’m a girl, a lady, a female. And my life is based on bleeding. It’s called Menstruation. Okay, you don’t want to believe that women’s lives are built around bleeding. So, here is the story. I was born, I made my mother bleed for hours while I came to this Earth. And there started my wait to attain the age when I would start bleeding. And one fine day during my class sixth finally that auspicious moment arrived. My welcome to the bleeding league happened with a small red dot on my all white skirt. I’ve reached Puberty.
That day I knew finally I’ve got something that I must hide from everyone at least from the opposite gender. I’ve started suffering from a “Gender specific problem”. There started my preparations for the lifetime mission to hide and deal with the problem. The stains, the awkward walking pattern, the lies in front of everyone, the whisper, the sighs, the gender specific nods, protection and sympathies, everything was trained to me very diligently to deal with the Great Girl’s Problem.
There are many taboos still prevailing in India surrounding Menstruation. Like, Menstruation is dirty and impure. So, every menstruating woman needs to purify before entering a temple or cook food in the kitchen or else everything they touch will get contaminated. Women stay in a separate room away from all family members. They bury or burn the clothes they were during their periods. These thoughts are very ancient and don’t have any scientific explanation, but still women practice these.
Many women shy away from talking about periods, buy pads or even use them. According to a National Family Health Survey (NFHS) report published in 2017, only 58 percent of women in India aged 15 to 24 use a hygienic method of menstrual protection, the Hindu daily reported. One study by WaterAid and UNICEF found that more than a third of girls in South Asia missed school during their periods.
These statistics are depressing. But, what’s more depressing is why are we doing this to ourselves? We women of India walk in space, fly fighter planes, but why can’t we come out of this taboo of Menstruation?? Someway down the time lane as I matured I found out my own way of dealing. I don’t feel awkward about it anymore or I don’t shy away from it. I don’t feel bad when I go to buy a sanitary napkin. I don’t feel bad to ask my male boss half day leaves when I have menstrual pangs. I know it’s a part of me. It gives me identity.
But, this story is not about how I came to accept Menstruation. Because, no female has a choice not to accept it or related problems. You know what this bleeding is our ticking clock.
As long as it doesn’t start we are immature. And once it starts our lives revolve round it. Our months go from one cycle to another. We females don’t have a choice to mistake any date. If it is too early it’s a problem, if it’s late it’s a headache. Sometimes I feel it’s a special type of time bomb. You know what, we decide many crucial programs according to it. Funniest thing is marriage.
Menstruation has the power to postpone or in some cases cancel the marriage date in our country or we can say in many countries in the world.
It doesn’t end here. Many women are facing grave health problems because of improper menstrual hygiene. According to BBC Magazine, around 70 % of the reproductive infections in Indian women are caused by poor menstrual hygiene. Infection of reproductive organs, urinary tract infection, Hepatitis-B even increases the risk of cervical cancer. These diseases can even cause death if not treated properly as well as timely.
Today as I sit here bleeding and writing a story about Menstruation, trillion other girls and ladies are bleeding right now and dealing with this Great Women Problem.
But, what I truly think is we must break this Jinx and stop teaching pubescent girls to treat it as a problem or shame. Talk freely, spread more awareness about menstrual hygiene and use of sanitary products. Let’s find out some better ways be it medicine or equipment to deal with the problems related to it. Above all we need to support each other to erase this Taboo. Let the Bleeding unite us as a gender and species.
Because, it has got the biological as well as the cosmic power of creating a race called Human. So, let’s be safe, be proud and be a part of this “RED LEAGUE”.
Blog written by : Aradhana Nayak