When ‘Period. End of Sentence’ won the Academy Award for the best short documentary, it came as a fair bit of a surprise, something evident even from its director Rayka Zehtabchi acceptance speech, “I can’t believe a film about menstruation just won an Oscar!”. But more importantly, it got the world talking about something that’s usually spoken about in hushed tones. The film sheds light on the stigma associated with periods and through a story from rural India, shows how a women’s group fought for menstrual equality by banding together to manufacture affordable menstrual pads.
The Impact Of Period Taboos On Women’s And Girls’ Lives
The taboos surrounding periods are many. From sleeping on the floor in seclusion to staying away from temples and pujas, not dipping your hands in the pickle, a menstruating woman faces discrimination on many levels. Thanks to period related taboos, many girls and women lack access to menstrual hygiene products, often forcing them to miss or drop out of school or work. They are also treated as ‘untouchables’ for the most part of the days that they bleed.
The Debate On Taboos
The taboos may originally have been customs put into place to help the ease burden on women whose lives were primarily confined to household spaces. But the problem began when this perpetrated into untouchability and ultimately a form of discrimination against women just because she was ‘impure’. However, with more women becoming educated and taking up roles on the work front, one thing is certain. Periods can no longer cause them to take a backseat in their lives or careers.
The Change Begins At Home
We may be a long way from removing all taboos surrounding periods, but collective little efforts can make a huge impact and there’s no better place than home to sow the seeds of change. If we could openly discuss the topic not just to our daughters, but also to our sons, it would help them approach and understand periods the way it should be. Encouraging children to ask questions about menses instead of diverting topics or shutting them up with angry responses is a third.
And Continues At Schools And Workplaces Too…
With more womenfolk taking up mainstream jobs, paid menstrual leaves need to be much more than PR gimmicks. Giving a menstruating woman the option to take a day off from work to cope up with period-related difficulties is liberating, to say the least. And here’s where schools can follow suit too. Acknowledging menstruation in the open may attract giggles, smirks, and scorns initially, but with the time, the attitude of all those involved will change for the better.
Women are busy conquering the world, yet, we often feel like the topic of menstruation and periods, a completely natural phenomenon that affects 50% of humanity, is still a taboo one. Being embarrassed about your period is so last century! We’re done acting like our periods don’t exist. We’re not saying you need to lay bare all the details to anyone who will listen, but trying to deny the existence of your period amounts to being ashamed of your body. Instead, be #periodproud! Whatever men can do, women can do on their period, and that is no small feat. Here’s our pick of the best period products out there at the moment. Happy Women’s Day to all you strong and lovely ladies!