Menstruation is a process in which a girl’s body undergoes a transformation in order to prepare her to bear a new life within herself. It is a period where a girl steps into womanhood, by assuming greater maturity.
So, it’s a process that should ideally be considered as something sacred, since the whole idea behind it is to bring a new life into this world. But unfortunately, there are a lot of social stigmas surrounding menstruation, not just in our country but also around the world. Many weird traditions are followed, and girls are even physically assaulted if they dare to inform anybody about their periods. Yes – you heard that right! It’s a way of letting girls know about the shame attached to the process.
In India too, we’ve got some of these ‘senselessly justifiable’ practices where women are looked upon with disgust and treated as untouchable during their periods. A girl is exposed to these kinds of negative notions right from her first period – and these attitudes persist throughout her life as a woman. Many girls do not prefer to disclose/talk about their periods and related issues as they fear the gawky responses from people, which can even put her health at risk. This is especially true when men encounter and try to address this issue. In fact, for many men and women, talking about menstruation is the most embarrassing of all embarrassments.
This notion of embarrassment is due to the shame that the society has developed regarding periods, by keeping this topic under wraps and not educating people about the same. Isn’t it ironical that we feel very happy when we come to know of a women’s pregnancy, but feel disgraceful when we are informed of a girl’s periods – a cycle which aids pregnancy. If the news of pregnancy can be celebrated, why can’t a girl’s coming-of-age be celebrated too?
However, in certain communities in India, a girl’s first periods is a huge affair. A big function is organised (nothing less than a wedding) and the girl is treated like a bride, and is showered with gifts. Even though this does not exactly resolve the problem of people following some orthodox faiths, beliefs and notions blindly, the fact that some people truly embrace this stage of womanhood must be wholly appreciated and emphasised.
Menstruation is a celebration of womanhood – and it can only become more meaningful when people celebrate it together. Being a woman reflects her ability to produce a new life. Hence, menstruation’s not something that should be suppressed. Instead, it must be treated like any other biological process.
So, to every women out there – celebrate your femininity because that’s your identity!
Featured image used for representative purposes only.