This incident happened in early 2000’s when I was attending secondary school. One day, when I returned home after school, I saw a lot of people gathered together which included my relatives and neighbours.
My younger sister was dressed up in new clothes, and many of the relatives were congratulating her and giving her gifts. It was as if she had come first in the civil service exam. I went up to my mother and asked her, “what happened here, why they are giving gifts to her?” and she sent me away, saying that I should not be involved.
After some days I realized that it was a function celebrating my sisters first period. I felt sad thinking that nobody even celebrated the day I started walking and speaking. After that, during some days when I approached her, she pushed me away and told not to come close.
Nobody told me that it is periods, but I was aware of that process and was able to understand. But at that age, when I too was in my puberty, it created a different impact on me. Thinking about periods began to provide sexual arousal to me. My entire notion about periods surrounded the vagina of girls and whenever I read or hear about, the vagina came into my mind and gave me a kind of sexual ecstasy. This also contributed a lot to my misunderstanding about girls and their body. I was starting to become a sexual pervert or someone who objectifies women solely based on these matters. I was keen to check whether any of my classmates were on her periods so that I could build various images in my mind about them for curbing my pleasure.
It took me years to change my attitude towards the opposite sex. The change occurred due to my constant exposure to knowledge about women, sex, periods and taboos related to that. As I was a voracious reader during my graduation and post graduation, I really thought about how wrong I was in my assumptions. I started investing more time on this and found that many taboos exist concerning periods, which are absurd and pathetic. Some doubts took birth in my mind those days and now am happy for those.
The doubts were:
Well, many of those who are reading would also know how absurd these practices are. When I look from the male point of view, these taboos surrounding periods have even affected the ladies who are born and brought up in a cosmopolitan environment. The buildup around periods is one of the earliest contributors of portraying women as a weaker sex.
It is high time to challenge the very foundation of this terrible situation, and for that, the only solution is to start speaking up. We need to create more and more awareness about menstruation, and it should start from the children. In my opinion, the reluctance of parents and teachers to openly talk about periods to the children and teenagers can be marked as the primary cause for period shaming and related taboos.