#RedDotChallenge: Let’s Bust These Period Myths

How many times have you wondered why your female classmate was sitting at the steps during Physical Education period or why your co-worker was feeling low with pain in her stomach? How many times, as a woman, have you not been able to talk to people about what you are going through because it is a topic that people normally don’t talk about?

Menstrual hygiene and the topic of menstruation itself has been a big taboo in our society. Even though it is completely natural and has been a part of women since the beginning of time, people still consider it to be impure.

May 28 is celebrated as Menstrual hygiene day but many girls, especially in communities that don’t have access to sanitary pads or education, still follow some myths. As an initiative to deal with this and to encourage safe menstrual hygiene practices and increase information, UNICEF has initiated a hashtag that is trending on Instagram and Facebook. To participate in the #reddotchallenge one simply has to take a picture of their palm with a red dot on it and tag UNICEF. Through this, people on social media are sending in many pictures to UNICEF, hoping that it will make menstruation a topic that people can talk about because it is a natural process that women go through.

So, what are some of the taboos related to periods that people still believe in:

  1. Menstruating women are considered dirty and cursed: Periods are a result of the egg in women’s womb not getting fertilized. The female body produces this egg in order to fertilize and create new life but when the egg is not fertilized it flows out in the form of blood.
  2. Menstruating women should not enter the temple
  3. Menstruating women should not enter the kitchen or cook: Bleeding is a natural process that every woman goes through every month, it is a process that does not in any way affect the things she touches.
  4. Virgins should not use tampons or menstrual cups: First of all, more than half of the women in India have no idea of what a tampon is. A virgin is someone who has not had sexual intercourse. The hymen of a woman could break even with sports or other activities, and the presence of a hymen is not a measure of her “virginity”. Using a tampon is not related to virginity at all.
  5. Girls who get their periods should drop out of school: In many places, girls have to drop out of school when they get their periods because according to the family, it is very difficult to afford sanitary napkins for the girl to go to school.
  6. Buying sanitary napkins is embarrassing: Not just in India but many countries tend to wrap napkins in a black or brown bag so that women don’t feel embarrassed while buying them publicly.
  7. Women’s cannot wash their hair during periods

Some taboos may not affect a woman’s life but many of them do. While experiencing the embarrassment of going through the most natural thing, a woman feels isolated and dirty. She starts hating her body and everything related to it. Women often suffer from cramps and body ache during periods and on top of that isolation and hatred within themselves. Together we can create an impact and make it a comfortable topic that women can naturally talk about and support UNICEF with their #reddotchallenge to make the Impact possible.

UNICEF INSTAGRAM SIT : https://www.instagram.com/unicefindia/?hl=en

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