5 Things Men (And Society) Should Know About Periods

Posted by Dipsita Dhar in #IAmNotDown
May 12, 2017
This story is a part of Youth Ki Awaaz’s campaign #IAmNotDown to spread awareness on menstrual hygiene and start a conversation on how sanitary pads can be made more affordable. If you have an opinion on how we can improve access to menstrual hygiene products, write to us here.

The Modi Government has decided that it is going to tax sanitary pads as a luxury item from now. Well, it is a luxury indeed. As only 12% of the woman of my country have the “privilege” to use a sanitary napkin on their bleeding days. The remaining 88% are still managing with old clothes, ashes and husk sand to cover up their “impure” blood flow. So like adequate health care, education and freedom of speech and religion, tampons too should be considered as a “luxury”, which definitely not everyone can access. Now in a country where 30% of young girls in the north stop going to the school after they hit puberty and 83% of these girls points to the inadequacy of menstrual kits as a reason, and still the government decides to tax menstrual products, and privileged people like us have to write posts and articles to make my government realize pads are necessity, it’s quite a hard job.

So let us start with the basics and tell the world a ‘period’ actually is.

  1. “Period is not a choice and it is painful”

Ok, so I am not bleeding as i got a cut or hurt there, it is happening naturally. just like you got beard due to reactions of a chemical popularly known as hormone inside your body, i am bleeding because i need to shed some unfertilized eggs which get dissolved in blood and flushed through my vagina. Hormones like estrogen,progesterone, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone(LH) are responsible for this whole mess. Now this process is not as smooth as it sounds here, the majority of the woman experience different intensities of menstrual cramp during their period. John Guillebaud, professor reproductive health at University College London says the pain can be as bad as heart attack, but most of the time it is treated as “normal” and sent off with mere painkillers. A lot of researchers who are working in this fields think there had not been much research on specific women’s health issue as”Men”do not suffer from them. Even the Pharmaceuticals too show less interest in manufacturing the already existing steroids. The recent viral video of men experiencing artificial period pain can give you a little insight what the   girl next to you feel every month. for those who still didn’t see it here is the link.

2. Bleeding women are not “impure”, even the non bleeding men are also not.

Please chuck this whole notion of purity and pollution from your head before jumping about period blood. you are no one to distribute judgments here, so please keep your casteist mind aside before reading this. there had been taboos regarding women in their periods, they should not enter the temple, they should not touch the food, now please don’t give me the stupid logic of “these rules are made as they can take rest”, there are thousand other household work you make her do on that very time and never felt she needed rest then. Little girls will be made traumatized, by repeated warning of “don’t go near your father”, “don’t play outside”, “gosh you are stained go change before anybody sees”.

I mean why? what is so unnatural about it? doesn’t my father know his wife bleeds, why my brother should not know about what pain his little sister is going through. why you will make a natural process look so mysterious that even i will start hating my body for bringing all this unnecessary restriction on me. i can still understand about less physical activity but my vagina doesn’t carry contagious germs that will fly away and infect you, you who piss in public everyday are more dangerous for the human health than anyone else.

In our religion we can Celebrate Kamakhya as the symbol of fertility but a 12 year old has to bear the burden of being impure!

3. Sanitary Napkins are no secret witchcraft, they’re just cotton and clothes.

As a child we all get super curious what is that thing inside the black plastic what mom wants to hide from every one. I remember i have ripped off a napkin to see what is so special inside and yes i was heartbroken as i could not find anything rip-worthy. So dear Men please pull down your expectations and curiosity, that black plastic is unnecessary and the reason girls get little shy asking it openly in the shop has nothing to do with the napkin itself but the social construction that your hetero patriarchy had built in centuries . There are different measures to hold/absorb the blood flow during these days.

  • Disposable Pads: your childhood fantasy names Whisper, Stayfree are the brands which manufacture them.

  • Reusable Pads: This a new initiative in India, not yet very mainstream but getting good feedback. And they look so happy, much better than her white counterparts.

  • Menstruation Cups: This your television has not advertised yet but this condom looking stuff is a real cool thing. it doesn’t absorb but collect and best part it is reusable also.

  • Tampons: Aha! don’t get panicked its not to substitute of Penis, but to absorb the flow from inside. Pretty ha?

so from next time you see a girl carrying a black plastic and get all curious, console yourself with this piece of hard hitting reality.

4. PMS is real!

Premenstrual Symptoms are nothing but  just the reflation of what goes inside during periodical cycle. During your menstrual cycle, levels of hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone rise and fall. Hormone changes are thought to be the biggest contributing factor to many of the symptoms of PMS. This also leads to the chemical changes in brain, Serotonin which is known to help regulate mood and make you feel happier, a reduction in the level of serotonin caused by changes in hormone levels may explain the mood changes often associated with PMS. This is the time when she needs to be understood and taken care of most. As friend lover or family you cannot blame her for PMSing and leave, imagine a blotting bag down there in your brief and sudden cramps on  your pelvic if you cannot follow the little biology lesson given above.

5.”Menstruation is the primary biological process for a potential child birth”

I know this must encourage to all those Sadhwis and Yogis who had been encouraging Hindu woman for becoming a child producing machine for the sake of women’s own good. But the reality is that an unhygienic way of handling menstruation can lead to a severe Reproductive Track Infection (RTI),  the consequences of RTIs are numerous and potentially devastating. These include postabortal and puerperal-sepsis, ectopic pregnancy, fetal and perinatal death, cervical cancer, infertility, chronic physical pain and emotional distress. In India more than 50% of woman suffer from RTI and 65% of them are it the age group of 25 to 35. A survey by A C  Nielsen shows the RTIs are 70% more common among the people who don’t use a sanitary pad than those who have access to it. So my dear government if you want a healthy baby to born make sure all the mothers get to avail them.

Sanitary pads, period bloods are still a taboo in India, in far away villages one may not even find a shop with sanitary napkins in it, even in cities pads are wrapped in some three layer protection cover to hide it from others, after that also if you inflate their price you will make this NECESSARY HEALTH PRODUCTS inaccessible for chunk of girls and woman of my country . Condoms and contraceptives are tax free as the government understands that they are health necessary, Sanitary pads are not only to be made tax free but should be provided to the people below poverty line free of cost or in minimum prices. Dear Men aka Society stop taxing woman for being woman. Thank you.

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