Being an elder sister has its advantages and disadvantages. However, while growing up, I never envisioned that being an elder sister would mean that your little brother (who isn’t that much younger to you) would ask you questions like, “Where exactly do you wear the pad?” or “What exactly does is soak?”
After the initial embarrassment and shame that I felt while answering his questions, I was able to tell him exactly what a period is in detail without much hesitation. He keeps telling me that if I wouldn’t have told him he would have tried to ask someone else.
So, would I rather let my brother get information about periods from some internet site or magazine? Definitely not!
Women can answer questions about menstruation better than anyone else as they experience it every month.
I feel that once we gradually open up the world of menstruation to men, they would be able to become more open. However, girls themselves are quite shy and talk in hushed tones when asking for a sanitary pad. While using the public toilet, girls take utmost care to hide the sanitary pad they are carrying. First, we need to deal with the shame we harbour in us about discussing menstruation. Charity begins at home!
The organs related to menstruation are obviously the reproductive organs. While talking to men about menstruation, the first barrier girls face is which words do they use. I myself used to think that talking about these organs was something vulgar. This shame is hardwired into us as we grow up. My solution to this problem was finding neutral words to talk about menstruation or simply say the words out loud several times when you are alone and get used to their sound. Once this first step is over, half the battle is won.
Another thing that crosses every girl’s mind is what would the other person think once they discuss menstruation openly. As soon as this thought arises, shout STOP loudly in your head. Tell yourself that it is a natural and normal phenomenon. As you cry and sweat, you bleed during the menstruation cycle.
Once we are able to broach the topic of menstruation ourselves, we have to show patience for our brothers, fathers, sons, husbands, boyfriends, friends to understand what we are talking about. Gradually, we would be able to converse about menstruation as we do about Bollywood movies, politics, cricket, fashion trends, inflation, and so on.
I would like to quote my beloved cartoon character, Captain Planet, with a slight change, “The power is yours, girls!”