A universal lack of clear-cut information and education makes menstruation a source of shame and embarrassment. The persistent taboos around menstruation means that only limited information is available to young women and men.
A woman knows that periods happen because they are supposed to. Many men, on the other hand, know almost nothing about it. Men and women often do not converse freely about menstruation, either. Most of my male friends don’t even know what exactly happen to a woman when she menstruates.
Just like other life processes, menstruation is a natural and biological process that most women experience at some point in their lives. But, in my experience, when men are asked if they know the biological details of the process, they say they know the basics but they cannot mention them at all. Some of them reply that they have no idea about these issues at all. Worst of all is the fact that some of them do not even care to have the information.
Many of them try to reason it with fact that they weren’t taught about the process – and therefore, it is ‘just different’ for them. In school too, the boys used to sit in one side of class and we the girls sat in the other side. We have attended lectures on the anatomy of boys and girls, but they didn’t deal with the intricacies of things like the menstrual cycle, etc.
So, the shame, the taboos and the myths associated with menstruation have almost silenced the conversation. Women suffering physically due to the unhygienic management of mensuration is just a direct consequence of it. But silencing conversations about menstruation have far more negative consequences. In my opinion, young boys often try to satisfy their curiosity about the anatomy of women by watching porn and other such content. In fact, almost all of my male friends reason that they started watching porn out of their curiosity to know more about the female body.
However, the way porn in which represents a woman have many negative impacts on how men view women. These include the objectification of women’s bodies, the stereotyping of women and viewing them as physically, morally and emotionally inferior to men – and in extreme cases, these may even lead to bullying, harassment and even rape.
On one hand, not addressing the issue of menstruation openly has devastating consequences on women; on the other hand, most men seem oblivious about what women face during menstruation. Therefore, it is important to engage in open dialogues on this issue, because such dialogues will not only empower women – it will also helps men understand the construction of societies at a deeper level.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.