When it comes to buying cigarettes with health warnings printed on packets, people don’t hesitate to ask for them. We have never seen people hesitating while buying cigarettes – with thousands of toxic chemicals.
But why do people hesitate to buy sanitary pads – which girls need every month. If cigarettes are not wrapped perfectly in a newspaper or wrapper, is sanitary pad something to hide? Why do shopkeepers wrap sanitary napkins perfectly, and buyers too?
In Nepal, period is considered as ‘impure and dirty’ and it is associated with social taboos in different parts of the country.
Even in this 21st century, purchase of sanitary pads remains a “real mission” for both shopkeepers and buyers. Needless to write that women bleed every month – from adolescence till menopause. We must understand it as a natural process and happens every month. Let’s understand, every girl bleeds.
Period or menstruation is a natural process. Many girls and women experience painful periods. The pain is most often menstrual cramps. During periods, it feels like being a girl is a great ‘nuisance’ itself.
Even in this modern society, women get isolated from family members during periods in the name of tradition.
But, is getting period a matter of being impure? We bleed. We all bleed. Then why are there restrictions during periods? Seclusion of women during period is against humanity and humiliation.
In my opinion, the problem lies in our education system. Students must be taught sexual and menstrual education. This should not be “skipped” in the classes. Why are sex and menstrual education considered a matter of shame to be taught? This is a soul-searching question. Even when girls talk about menstruation in schools or colleges, boys start to whisper and giggle. This tradition should be ended and there should be an open discussion about period.
I don’t understand why boys do not feel comfortable when girls talk about their periods. After all, it is a natural process that cannot be avoided. Thus, role of family to normalize taboos surrounding period and break the traditional thoughts is very important.
The more we talk about periods, the further we move towards equity.
(Ezee studies at Kathmandu University School of Management)