Periods and shame are interchangeable for many people. In fact, there is even a whole term – period shame – to denote the experience! Many girls are raised to believe that they are impure during their periods and that they should be ashamed of anything that has to do with periods. But do you need to put up with this period shame? Are there things you can do to challenge this period shame and end it? In this article, we share with you a few pointers you can put in use to end the period shame.
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Mothers & daughters:
Start normalizing periods! That is the first thing you can do. How do you go about this? Well, for starters do not shrink into a shell when you have your periods. At home, take it up with your mother that you should not be made to feel any lesser just because you have your periods. Now, if your mom is the type who holds religion, rituals and everything that has got to do with it as sacrosanct, and you are pretty confident that you can explain to your mom and have her understand that these impurity notions surrounding periods are really a lot of B.S, then, by all means, go for it.
However, if you think that your mom will respond to you with her version of “WTF” and she will not hear any of what you have to say, then stop right there. You just pretend to follow whatever restrictions she puts on you when you have your periods but always remember you are doing these to maintain peace with her and not because you are impure! But any day, we would say: be a rebel and refuse to be discriminated against because of your periods.
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Let’s talk it as it is:
No more code words for periods with your gang! When you have your periods, say it as it is: “hey girl, I got my periods.” This whole Shark week, Chum, Code red etc are not cuteness but shame re-enforcing words!
At home, start having conversations about periods openly. Period talks are not just a matter between mothers and daughters. Fathers and brothers should also be made part of such conversations. Well, it is not like you have to freak them out one fine day with a declaration about “let’s talk about periods today.” (But yes, it will be a hilarious moment if you do so!) You can start small: if your folks change the channel on TV when a sanitary napkin advertisement comes, then ask them why they changed the channel and then use that as a conversation starter. Basically create an atmosphere at home through such open questions and ensuing conversations, so that you feel there is nothing you need to feel uncomfortable or ashamed about when you have your periods.
When your brother comes up to you with any question about periods, think of it as him wanting to understand, help and support you during your periods. So, take it in the right stride and not as a “This is girl’s matter. None of your business.” Talk to him and give him age-appropriate information on periods. Also, tell him about how he can help and support a woman during her periods. Trust us, he will thank you for educating him about periods when he turns out to be a helping and supporting guy who understands what it is like for a woman when she is on her periods.
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Don’t leave behind the schools/colleges :
If your school/ college still has not got a sanitary napkin vending machine, you must push for it for sure! Approach the school/ college council and have them take up the matter as a top priority. More the people, the better! So round up a group of students and make it happen. However, if there is nothing much the council can do, then have the group power approach the school/college authorities such as the Principal. If you also can get the support of the PTA (Parents Teacher Association) then things can move faster for the vending machine to be installed in your school/ college. No more of this “hide and seek” game to get a sanitary napkin from the “top secret” school/college staff! If you get your periods while in school/college, you have nothing to be secretive about getting a sanitary napkin when the school/ college has the vending machine.
Stains on clothes/ sheets: No big deal
Invariably there will be times when you will have a stained cloth or sheets while on your periods. Well, as long as you have a strong detergent at home, why worry? Period stain is just like any other stain that you can get: a spilled coffee or a ketchup stain. Then, why the stress, girl? If you are worried about the “log kya sochenge” about your stain, then show a middle finger to that thought line and tell yourself “Period happens. Stain happens. No big idea.” If someone reacts strongly about your period stain, then it surely is their problem, not yours! There is nothing to be ashamed of having a stain. Just like any other stain, it can be cleaned up.
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