I recently read an article on the @HuffPostWomen of the woman who ran the London Marathon while on her period without a tampon to create awareness and debunk the taboo associated with periods. I found her to be very brave. I wish I could congratulate her and well, I may not be as brave, I draw in her courage and hence we will talk of this ‘taboo’ periods.
In our side of the world, it is a taboo and most people even women shy from talking about our periods. Even girls who have their periods for the first time rely on their friends and the Home science lessons they learnt from their schools to know how to handle their ‘shame’. We are taught not to tell anyone of our ‘unclean’ period and when we go buy sanitary towels, you wait at the end of the counter and the sanitary towel packet is covered in very many layers of newspaper or black paper bags. If a young girl goes to a shop and finds a male attendant she will shy away , either go back home or go to the furthest shop where a woman will be the shopkeeper in order to buy the sanitary and not feel embarrassed.
It’s about time we stopped this backward trend. We as a society we have come a long way to accept women as equals but we are still viewing women’s health as a non-issue. Women’s health is considered as only pregnancy and bearing of children. This silence and shame we have put on our girls and women when it comes to periods has led to a lot of women being ignored of serious medical issues associated with periods. How many times have you gone to a doctor with pain during your periods and he/she has dismissed you with a few ibuprofens and told you that’s normal. You are made to feel like you are bothering the doctor and are wasting time for someone with a ‘real’ medical issue.
Year in, year out we have seen sanitary products increase in prices but who do we address the issue to without seeming gross? They are being taxed and priced as if they are luxury item. Sanitary product companies are coming up with ‘luxury’ towels that are even more costly. Now surely, why are they forgetting the daughters of our country who cannot afford such? Why can’t they make products that even those in the financial constraints can spare something to buy these products that they clearly need? We have seen the sad news of girls missing school because of their periods and others using unsanitary mattresses and old pieces of cloth during that time of the month. Have companies become so focused in making profits and have we women felt ashamed of talking about this that we let this trend go on?
I have heard of a menstrual cup (above image)- It is a reusable silicone cup type of feminine hygiene product which is usually made of medical grade silicone, shaped like a bell and is flexible. It is worn inside the vagina during menstruation to catch menstrual fluid (blood), and can be worn during the day and overnight. Now word here is REUSABLE. (See how much we don’t talk of such that I only know of this one,DivaCup if you know of another please enlighten me). Why aren’t we promoting these kind of products that are reusable especially for those who can’t afford the ever increasing in price sanitary products? Let us be our sisters keeper (PS: Not a message to just women but also men because this is something your mothers, sisters, spouses go through) and help promote such products. I’ve seen individuals and NGOs doing a noble cause of buying underwear and sanitary products for girls in need, kudos and God bless you for that, but shouldn’t we be donating sanitary reusable products so that the girl child and women can have a permanent solution to this natural and monthly occurring period?
We need to teach our boys and girls about periods and not just the science version of it. Teach them that it is NOT a taboo , neither is it unclean. Teach them what it entails and what is considered okay or normal and what should be a cause for alarm. Sit our daughters and sisters down and show them how to use these products and not be ashamed of having periods. Sanitary towel companies, make a point of making pocket friendly towels for all women. Gynaecologists, do not ignore women who seek your professional help and we women need to SPEAK OUT AND SPEAK LOUD till our voices can be heard by all and can no longer be ignored.