Menstruation – What Is So “Gross” About It?

Photo credits: Flickr/CC/estherase

Photo credits: Flickr/CC/estherase

In almost all our stories, the ‘expected stains’ showed up at an unexpected moment. Most of us were hushed into our rooms pretty hideously. Then we were instructed and guided as if there had been a terrorist attack right outside the front door. One of my friends even thought her body was in some serious trouble and might have to call in an ambulance. All thanks to her mother’s melodrama of explaining her about the ‘forbidden thing.’

Do you remember all those times when the shopkeeper wrapped the pack of sanitary napkins in a black packet as if it were some bomb? Do you remember those times when you or a female friend of yours was refrained from entering a religious place of worship or attend a religious ceremony? Do you remember those awful days where the boys at school would bully you at the very sight of some accidental blood stains on your white skirt?

Well an exemplary woman who didn’t shun away from the taboo revolving periods is Kiran Gandhi. After a year’s preparations for the event this MIA drummer boldly participated in the London Marathon with a friend to raise funds for Breast Cancer Care. She ran an entire stretch of 26 miles on the first day of her period. Brace yourselves – She did it without even wearing a tampon!!

Yes her period blood was freely flowing between her thighs and there were obvious stains on her pants. Many called it “gross” and many praised her act. She did it on purpose as the tampon not only would have made the run uncomfortable but she also wanted to generate a ripple of awareness about women who don’t have access to sanitary napkins or tampons.

The Harvard MBA feminist further states in her blog, “If there’s one way to transcend oppression, it’s to run a marathon in whatever way you want. On the marathon course, sexism can be beaten. Where the stigma of a woman’s period is irrelevant, and we can re-write the rules as we choose. I ran with blood dripping down my legs for sisters who don’t have access to tampons and sisters who, despite cramping and pain, hide it away and pretend like it doesn’t exist. I ran to say, it does exist, and we overcome it every day. The marathon was radical and absurd and bloody in ways I couldn’t have imagined until the day of the race.”

Food for thought: We, as a nation, celebrate childbirth as a woman’s domain. Then why do we fail to embrace the fact women menstruate? We rejoice and celebrate the nine months of pregnancy but fail to comprehend the importance of life flowing from her. There are many myths and taboos associated with periods and as always women are its victims. Why?

For people who call it ‘unhealthy and impure’ let us remind them periods is very much a natural monthly biological process over which we women have no control. Periods are not unhealthy and our bodies are not our curse. What is unhealthy is associating the female reproductive system with toxicity and poison. What’s unhealthy is ignoring the prejudice and fear of menstruation from the discussion of women empowerment and acknowledging it as a part of womanhood.

Let us talk about periods. Let us think of periods as a method of cleansing rather than of soiling. Let us not hide it. Let us talk about how healthy periods are than unhealthy. Let us talk about how periods mean that a woman’s body is ready to give the most beautiful gift in the world, the gift of life.

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