When I say menstruation is taboo, I don’t mean that it’s being denied as a thing. Everyone knows what it is. There are coming of age celebratory functions all around diverse cultures of India. It is taboo in the sense that people don’t want to learn anything more about it. It makes them uncomfortable. Words like impure and dirty are attached to it to make it even more unpleasant to talk about. It is taboo in the sense that it is considered personal and not to be exposed.
When young girls of eleven must go through their first period, they must affiliate themselves to the idea that this will happen every month for half of their lives. It is unfair how we as a “modern” society expect little girls to accept it as a reality but let the universe move on after calling it a “girl issue”. Women’s bodies are only relevant when we are comfortable with it. From corsets to body shaming, we have subjected them to utter observation and judgement. But when it comes down to vaginas and blood, we look away like it’s an appalling truth meant to be kept undercover. Now this is where things take a turn for the worse.
Due to the frowned upon nature of talking about menstruation, every other issue related to it gets subjugated. Elephant problems like period poverty, menstrual cramps, period tax, reproductive health, early puberty, and many more are left unaddressed. What we need to do is start the conversation. Start with our friends, with our family like we do with other social issues. When it is being talked about in every room, it will get the limelight it deserves.
A personal experience proves my words true. Before I was selected to volunteer for TAD, I showed the website to my aunt. She asked me about the purpose of the organization. After I spoke the words “period poverty”, she asked me what it means. She’s a doctor who works in the gynecology department of a well-regarded hospital.
This is what happens when there is a lack of conversation in society regarding something so severe. Awareness doesn’t spread with just thoughts. Our knowledge does not matter if we don’t educate those around us. In a nutshell, it doesn’t take much effort to exchange a few words about menstrual issues with people. It will only make womanhood stronger and fiercer.