April 27 2019

What girls and women say instead of periods!


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Menstruation- a biological process of the female body. That’s how precisely and scientifically one can define the monthly cycle. But periods, as it is known colloquially, has been existent since the evolution of mankind and the reason why women can reproduce. But sadly, this natural course of the body has always been regarded with shame, filth, and disgust.

For centuries in India, women have been shunned and shamed when they undergo periods. The word ‘period’ and its regional translations have been considered a taboo to be even mentioned. Parents, teachers, friends, and society members have influenced women over generations to shield it from people, because “it’s a bad thing to announce your menstruation to the world’.

As societies evolved, women resorted to using code words and pseudo names to describe and discuss their menstrual cycle with friends and families, like some ‘dirty secret’. And surprisingly, a majority of females around the world, irrespective of their culture and status, use cryptic codes when they cannot say ‘periods’ out loud, to state that they are undergoing menstruation, without being stigmatized.

Here are a few common terms and phrases (and English translations of their respective regional terms) used to define ‘periods’ by women. And here’s what we think about each of them:

 

  1. It is that time of the month- This is probably the most popular one across the country and even around the rest of the world.
  2. I have ‘the’ girl’s problem- As if, this is a ‘problem’ that you have to deal with. And of course, it’s only for women to deal with.
  3. My ‘time of the month’ is here- Like something big and extraordinary is supposed to happen at that time.
  4. I am sick- This is not a sickness. Rather, if you have periods regularly, that means you are in great health.
  5. My ‘Bloody buddy’ is here- This sounds like a bad friend you don’t want to hang out with.
  6. My monkey is bleeding- How fair is it to associate your body with an innocent animal?
  7. I’m experiencing technical difficulties- First of all, you are not a machine to face ‘technical problems’. And, technically, this is a ‘technical maintenance’ process of your body.
  8. I am ‘out of order’- Ask yourself if your motor functions or brain is working fine. Because that could be actually termed as ‘out of order’. Periods are rather something you need to be ‘in order’.
  9. I have a visitor- That sounds like you have some mysterious person visiting you and you don’t like it.
  10. My girl has started a monthly job- Of course, this is a job that your body needs to do.
  11. My Aunt Flo is here- Why does your period have to be a person? Or an animal? It’s just a biological activity.
  12. I am chumming- This is like the classic phrase used by Indian women across generations. The only known meaning of ‘chum’ is ‘friend’. So yes, periods can be your friend but it doesn’t need a synonym.
  13. I am down- This sounds like you are down with some illness or something.

 

 As humorous as these phrases may sound, they are harmful in a way to the entire female community and their psyche. On the contrary, women need to be encouraged more to talk about periods and their menstrual health in the open. By hiding period discussions behind code words, women are not only leading themselves to more darkness about their own health but also further stigmatizing a natural order of our biology.

Even today, millions of women are unaware of menstrual health and hygiene, leading to numerous diseases, some leading to death or the inability to bear a child. that is where organizations like NIINE strive to make women, young, and adolescent girls aware and educate them on menstrual hygiene so that they can stay healthy and enjoy their womanhood.

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