Gul Bhatia, a class 10th student and Martha Farrell Foundation’s Summer Intern, reflects on her experience with menstruation after a session on the stigma around menstruation.
It’s a normal day in school till now but then you go to the washroom and see that your period has started. You go back to class to grab your pad from the pouch, but just them it dawns upon you that OH No! What if a boy sees me sneaking in a pad? So you call a girlfriend “Hey could you please stand here so that no one sees me pulling out a pad?” Then you whisper to your teacher “Ma’am I am down” so that she lets you go to the washroom.
Times have changed but have we? What will happen if I carry my pad in my hand without hiding it? Humility! Embarrassment! These are the thoughts that tend to float in our minds. I used to dread my period because I thought that it was disgusting and gross. It was only when I let myself understand that menstruation is a natural biological process that I realized how narrow minded and constrained we are in our thinking.
The other day a friend of mine was experiencing period pain. She was not feeling too good. When I asked her what had happened, the boy sitting next to her very casually said that was on her period. All the guys around him did not raise a brow. They were so very normal about this topic that it surprised me.
It made me realize that sometimes we as girls are more period conscious. Every mother must speak to her son about mensuration and entertain his questions because one day if he is a husband or a father he must not shy away from it or leave it up to his partner to speak about periods.
Kiran Gandhi is an electronic music producer, drummer, artist and activist. The 26 year old ran 26 miles on the first day of her period bleeding freely, staining her running pants. Kiran Gandhi had to face so many comments from people all over the world. She was shamed for her “disgusting act”. From her I learn that I too have a choice to bleed freely if I want to.
I feel very lucky that I have the opportunity to speak about such issues and actually make a change in society. I am proud to be a woman. I have been given this body for a reason. I possess the power to bring life on Earth. This EMPOWERS ME. Period.