Codewords and hushed Whispers.
Another well written and necessary article.. I think we can all relate to the school experience. What made it worst for us is that the session was arranged by a sanitary napkin company and we were sent back to class with samples. And every girl had t9 find a way to surreptitiously take it back to class without tipping off the boys and their curiosity!!
This is so so relatable, especially the part where we were whisked away into some room while the boys were left wondering what the whole conspiracy is about. Most students in my schools lacked knowledge about menstruation to such an extent, that when they noticed that some of the boys had red stains on their pants, a rumour spread that men have periods too. My mother laughed really hard when I told her this, and I went on to explain to friends that this is not biologically possible. The mystery of red pants was solved when we realised that the boys had lately been sitting on fresh brick walls a school :/ The other issue that I faced with periods, is the disposal of sanitary napkins. There was such an elaborate system in my house to do this. First wrap it in newspaper, then find black coloured plastic bag and secure it tightly and then throw it in one specific dustbin. For years, till I found out about the wonders of the cup, I carried multiple plastic bags and newspaper with me every-time I traveled.
Loved this post. The current state of period education in India is pathetic. I once had a friend who thought ‘menstruation’ was the same as ‘mensuration’ 😑
Definitely something the society needs to hear. Thank you so much for putting this across so sensibly Mahima ❤️ and the two women who shared their traumatic experiences with the world. More power to you all and I hope this will atleast ensure some open discussion and a lot more thoughtful reflection on the readers. 😃
Like all your newsletters, this too was terrific. Sooo the first time I knew I had my period, even though it was disconcerting, i knew it wasn't the scariest cause I remembered a sequence in the old Zee TV show Hasratein. The daughter gets her period, comes running to the mum and tells her. And her mum takes her to the gynaec to learn more. It was all so well portrayed on hindsight. Of course, 13 year old me had to wait till 14 to learn about what was going on with my body in bio class. And I had a great science teacher. When I got my period my mum just told me this happens to women, handed me a pack of sanitary napkins, told me to count days between periods on a calendar and was done. Telugu folks perform a period ceremony when a girl hits puberty. She knew I'd not sit for it so she didn't bother doing on. Handed me a chocolate in congrats cause I was now a woman apparently. I learned much later she used rags washed and worn through her life, even though napkins were widely available. Only after I began using them she started too. My grandma would ensure my cousin would be in a separate room, with sep utensils etc. Thankfully she didn't live with us. And once she moved In she insisted on eating out of separate utensils, and tolerated having food cooked by a menstruating woman. And my mum was sufficiently liberal in the sense of not doing such stuff to me. Although she did tell me to not touch pickles on my period or it would go bad, but I'd go and do it anyway. I've had so many discriminatory episodes around having periods like being shouted at on a bus cause the engine hood on which I sat on after standing for two hours, is worshipped. So I stood for another hour till we reached the city while my male classmate sat on it happily.
Thank you for this, Mahima. Education is a must. Not just for women but for men as well. BTW I do remember being curious about the girls in my class being led to a different room and then returning back giggling away. :)
Such an important subject. Thanks for bringing this up. Ameya's story was a complete clusterfuck, and I have a feeling she isn't the only one.
Such a useful article. I'm sharing with my students.
Great post, as always, Mahima! Thank you for writing this.