In India, Menstruation is a taboo. It is still considered dirty and impure. Do these people know what is menstruation exactly? Even educated people have the same beliefs! So I thought of sharing this blog about menstruation on this Menstrual Hygiene Day!
What is Menstruation?
Scientifically it is known that the actual cause of menstruation is ovulation followed by a missed chance of pregnancy that results in bleeding from the endometrial vessels and is supported by preparation of the next cycle. Therefore, there seems no reason for this notion to persist that menstruating women are “impure.” (taken from a trusted site).
Myths Related to Menstruation in India
During this time, Women are prohibited from participating from living normally. There are different beliefs in different regions of India.
Many of us have heard-
- Don’t touch statues or pictures of god
- Take a bath before entering the kitchen
- Don’t enter the kitchen
- Wash your clothes in the morning
- Don’t enter pooja room
- Don’t participate in any religious functions
- Don’t pray
- Don’t touch holy books
- Don’t touch drinking water
- blah blah blah!
According to a study by Kumar and Srivastava in 2011, participating women also reported that during menstruation, the body emits some specific smell or ray, which turns preserved food bad. And, therefore, they are not allowed to touch sour foods like pickles. However, no scientific test has shown menstruation as the reason for the spoilage of any food in the making.
Studies also say that some of the parts in India have a belief that women cannot interact with or touch men because men will become sick by contacting or touching an “unclean” woman. You can only enter a holy place once you’ve washed your hair on or after the seventh day.
There are tons of different myths and beliefs in India. Well, not only India some other countries have some traditional views and myths!
What girls go through this time?
When I got my first period and heard about these beliefs, I was shocked, thinking what all this nonsense is! I don’t believe in all this! But luckily my mom is very open-minded and doesn’t have these strict rules and regulations!
I spoke to some married and unmarried girls about their experience! Trust me, most of them had the same thought! These myths totally take over girls’/women’s lives for seven days! It disturbs the schedule of their lives!
These beliefs impact their mental and emotional state.
According to the studies, almost 77% of menstruating women in India use old cloth, which is reused. Further, 88% of women in India sometimes resort to using ashes, newspapers, dried leaves, and husk sand to aid absorption. So this is even worst it affects their health too. (source mentioned below)
Few more facts,
- Only 15%of India’s menstruating women use sanitary napkins.
- 66% of girls are unaware of menstruation before their first period.
- 70% of women think menstrual blood is dirty.
- 66% of girls and women manage periods without toilets.
- Over 23% of girls drop out of school completely after reaching puberty. (As per the study conducted by Dasra and Forbes Marshall)
(source mentioned below)
And above all these, many women suffer the following
- Breast swelling and tenderness
- Acne breakouts
- Leg, back, or stomach cramping
- Premenstrual syndrome: rapid changes in mood, insomnia, dizziness, social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, tiredness
- PMS: depression, mood swings, anger, anxiety, feelings of being overwhelmed, irritability, tension
How can we all help?
We need to educate people around us, our kids about the exact meaning of the menstrual cycle, what should be done about the myths Indians have been following!
Schools should also begin educating students about the menstrual cycles. They should teach them that it’s not a “haw-haw” thing, it’s NATURAL!
- Girls/women should take a bath in the morning not because they are impure but because it is hygienic for them.
- They should wash their clothes daily while menstruating not because evil spirits will follow them but because it is good to keep cleanliness.
- Menstruating girls/women should not enter the kitchen not because they are impure and the food will get spoilt but because they should take rest.
We can have a solution to everything and with the right education!
We need to be more open about it, why to give names like chums, pp, that time of the month, moon time, lady business, aunt flo, shark week, red code, etc. to it when it is easy to pronounce “Periods”. It is a simple word, and we should not be ashamed of using it!
RED DOT CHALLENGE TRENDING
Members of UNICEF and some social activists took the “red dot Challenge” this Menstrual Hygiene Day. The red dot challenge aims at educating the people about the facts and busting the myths about menstruation.
So this Menstrual Hygiene Day you can also take an extra step by donating pads and educating people about it?
You can make donations here:
Please try to educate at least ten people.
I would request all the readers, try to donate some sanitary napkins/pads for the need (link above). It will not make any difference to us except it would cost just one dinner at a restaurant, but it will definitely make a difference for them!
NOTE: The facts and numbers are taken from different sources
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