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Why the shame towards menstruation?

Why the shame towards menstruation?

Why the shame towards menstruation?


From time immemorial, menstruation has been regarded as a taboo topic in Indian society. It is the blood flow from the inner lining of the uterus and happens once every month from the puberty stage till menopause except during pregnancy. While menstruation is something every woman in her life goes through, there are a lot many myths associated with it.

During this period, even today many women are not allowed to pray or enter the kitchen in their homes. In some cases, they are not even allowed to come out of their rooms lest they make their homes and the individuals around ‘impure’. Menstruation is regarded as something dirty and awful rather than a natural occurrence which is part of the reproductive cycle. Is it a woman’s fault that she is menstruating?

In a lot many cultures, excretion of fluids including blood from the body is considered as polluting the surroundings. And the purification of this pollution and the polluting individual can only happen through water. But during the menstrual period many women are not even allowed to take bath since they may dirty everything. Both sexes are generally shy (similar to buying condoms) to buy sanitary napkins from stores.

As is the case with most such things, the fact that menstruation is still discussed in secrecy plays a big part in the lack of awareness of individuals regarding reproductive health issues.

It results in issues like reproductive tract infections, compromise of the hygiene of a girl and more. A large number of women even today end up using newspapers, cardboard boxes, bags etc. and more to stop their blood flow. During this period, women are also made to eat only specific food products.

The need of the hour is for parents to make their children aware of menstruation without its misconceptions and also teach them safe health practices. It shouldn’t be regarded as a cultural and social taboo.

The Government of India’s initiative to distribute low cost sanitary napkins is praiseworthy and needs to be seen through to it’s logical finish. Last but not the least, public and private toilet facilities for women need to be improved sooner rather than later so that the shame associated with menstruation can be done away with.

We all need to make an effort to be the change we want to be.

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  1. So true, society needs to change its mindset first!

  2. True Aseem..what we teach our children when they are quite young is what makes or breaks their very character. Speaking about Menstruation is always seen as a has to be broken n children..both boys n girls have to be told how natural it is for women to bleed for a few days.

    • aseemrastogi2

      Yes Menaka. I have never understood why such things aren’t spoken about openly. This is anything but shameful and I believe that we all can be the change we want to see.

  3. Good to see this post from you.

    And sad to read the newspaper cardboard things .

    • aseemrastogi2

      Yeah it’s sad that even today so many women don’t have access to sanitary napkins and end up using anything and everything to stop the blood flow.

  4. Newspaper and cardboard is new for me -yes things are apalling when it comes to menstruation in India. thanks for sharing

    • aseemrastogi2

      Sadly it’s not only menstruation but talking about sex, condoms and more which are all considered as taboo topics. And I guess that is the source of a lot of problems. We need to talk about these things as they are natural things in life. Not speaking about them has instead made them some kind of weird topics which everyone starts treating as something out of the ordinary.

      Thanks for stopping by :).

  5. Seriously, it’s natural, then why the taboo and secrecy?

    • aseemrastogi2

      And this is where I am sure we can start being the change want to see by bteaking the taboos associated with this :).

  6. Good to see a post on this topic! Our society seriously needs a push to break the taboo. Keep writing! 🙂

  7. Mel

    So true. It’s a natural act of the human body.

  8. The WHY remains unanswered …mostly because none of us really have an answer. Both, fathers and mothers need to take steps to ensure that the girl grows with pride. She needs to feel that menstruation is part of growing up. I hope to ensure that I give my daughter a secure environment when she grows up. Thank you for raising such a pertinent issue.

    • aseemrastogi2

      Yeah the daughters need to understand that menstruation is a normal thing and part of life. And there’s nothing wrong or to be ashamed about it. Thanks for stopping by :).

  9. Completely agree with you..its time for a change and its needed..I also wrote about the same here-

    • aseemrastogi2

      As they say, we need to be the change we want to see. Thanks for stopping by :).

  10. Much needed post
    amazing topic
    very well framed
    No doubt its human nature

    • aseemrastogi2

      Thanks for stopping by :). Yeah only when we start talking about such topics can we actually bring the change we want to see.

  11. Some of the traditional rules aren’t without reason. An ayurvedic doctor recently advised me not to wash my hair during the first four days & also not to use cold water. I have always heard my grandma say that we have to take hairwash on the fourth day. The doctor told me it has something to do with our body temperature.

    Similarly using Indian style toilets would reduce infections & similar issues because our posture ensures that all the human waste including menstrual blood is flushed out well.

    That being said, there are many unnecessary taboos that could be avoided because we are all stuck in this rat race & it isn’t possible to follow every bit of it like earlier.

    • aseemrastogi2

      Thanks Ranjini for pointing out the thing about not washing your hair. Wasn’t aware of that. Yeah regarding the point about the Indian style toilets, I quite agree since I have myself heard of that from others around.

      Yeah the taboos is something I am sure we can break bit by bit by ourselves being the change we want to see.

  12. Free sanitary napkin dispenser in schools are long awaited.Better late than never.A very insightful post

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