Menstrual taboos are norms, cultural and religious beliefs about the subject menstruation. Menstrual taboos differs from country to country, While some see it as toxic and dirty, others see it as a subject that shouldn’t be discussed in public. However, menstruation is a natural biological process, experienced by women of reproductive age around the world.
There’s no gainsaying the fact that menstruation has been a subject rarely discussed. You rarely hear people discuss it freely on newspapers or TV . Most girls have been thought right from childhood to always keep that part of their lives private and not to discuss the subject with anyone most especially men. Hence, most women grow to shred themselves which resort to lack of confidence due to the myth they’ve been accustomed to.
Often times, menstrual taboos shape the way women see themselves and how they are viewed in the society. Most women approach menstruation with shame and fear. For example, if a sanitary pad or tampon fall from a woman’s bag in Nigeria, she feels a shame to pick it up because of the norms and beliefs surrounding menstruation. Recently, a Kenyan school girl committed suicide because she was body shammed during menstruation. What if we have a society of well informed boys and girls who sees menstruation as a natural process, and not a subject of ridicule and shame?
How can it be broken
Menstruation should be a popular topic that should be discussed more in public, by so doing, It’s a way of erasing the taboo that menstruation is a topic that should be discussed in secrecy. Silence about menstruation has increased women vulnulrability and discrimination, if the silence is not broken ignorance will continue. Hence conversation about the topic should be raised Nanotale Kriti Sen said “ The red paan stain all over the temple wall did not bother anyone but the red stain on her skirt does” This is the extent to which menstruation is seen as unclean.
According to Gabby Edin, founder of period poverty project bloody good period, says “that laughing about periods can relax people and encourage healthy conversations” She adds that not being able to afford tampons and pads is not the only problem – a lack of discussion can be damaging. Laughing at the subject to a large extent helps ease the tension and talking about it is a way of erasing the taboo.
From childhood, Boys and girls should be taught in various platforms of learning biological fact about menstruation. The subject should be freely discussed in schools, homes and other social gatherings. This to a greater extent will erase taboos in our societies and encourage girls to be more confident during menstruation.
Menstruation taboos can be erased if menstruation is made a human right. It should be seen as right to human dignity, right to non discrimination and gender equality. By so doing, women will be able to approach the subject without fear and shyness especially with men or in public.
Other ways and places people are breaking down menstrual taboos