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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