So, we are in the 21st century, where women are prospering everyday, women are inspiring everyday.
But even in this era, menstruation is talked about with hesitation or the conversations take place within closed door, like women to women talk, you see? From whom are we hiding this fact that periods exist? Children? Men? Isn’t it a natural biological process? What’s with this shame that are we holding on to? Why is there a stigma around it? Let’s try to find its roots!
Remember lessons we were taught in primary school on body parts? How were we introduced to our bodies and organs? Head, face, neck, stomach, hands, legs and feet- that is it! Something was missing, wasn’t it? Something wasn’t right. We heard what our teachers said, assuming we will learn more as we get older. Did it really take place? Let’s find out.
Coming to the confused teenage days when we had a chapter on reproduction in biology and sex education. In biology, ‘that’ chapter was brushed without teaching. Funny, isn’t it? Same with sex education. Ask yourselves how many of you really got to know about reproductive organs and genital systems? How quickly our reproductive organs and genital systems got unnoticed and was given least importance; which gradually started getting rooted in to cultures and social norms; and finally became associated with stigma- especially when it is related to periods. Let’s see what the co-founder of The Red-cycle which is a volunteered program that conduct sessions on menstruation with teenagers between 15-18 years has to say, “In most cases teachers skip this portion, but we can’t simply blame the teacher for it, as students aren’t keen to know about the subject matter; but there are also situations where students bombard teachers with questions about the sexual and reproductive systems making them uncomfortable”. At the Red Cycle, awareness sessions are not conducted as women to women talk or behind the closed doors, on the contrary, these sessions are conducted out in open in the presence of both men and women. The amazing fact is that, session are not only taken by the female volunteers, but male volunteers also play an active role.
Motivated by Arjun’s work at the Red Cycle, I was curious to know what men at my workplace think about menstruation, having started my internship with Saral Designs, a social enterprise working in the menstrual health sector and these are the responses I received from my colleagues:
Well, I am quite happy that so many men are now talking about periods, working in women’s health start-ups and breaking the taboo. 21st century looks promising, but there is a long way to go! So, men! Let’s talk about periods.