Written by: Angana Sen Gupta
“Dude why the hell is she shouting for no reason? Is she PMSing?”, “Why do you need a leave every month? How can you simply fall sick every month?”,”Dude, she is extremely cranky. I think it’s ‘that’ time of the month.”
I am sure, every girl has gone through these questions most of the times in their life, since men fail to understand that “that time of the month”, is called the menstrual cycle. And, the most important thing is that woman are taught not to speak out loud about it as it’s something that needs to be a hush-hush affair.
Periods, is an open secret that everyone is aware of because it’s the first step to bringing a new soul into this world. Women bleed because they have the capacity of holding, nurturing another human being in their womb and then giving birth to the new soul. According to the societal norms (no matter how modern is your society), a woman’s job is to give birth, but then this same society cannot accept the fact of her bleeding every month. Now, that is where the hypocrisy lies. Isn’t it?
Since a girl first gets her period, she is taught to act like a matured person, maintain a certain decency and to act normal. Now the question lies that how can you act normal by bleeding at least 4 days every month? When the pain is enormous and the blood loss is high, how can you expect someone to keep their mouth shut and not to even make the slightest of whispers, why? The society will come to know.
I remember when I first got my periods, my mother had asked me to stay away from my best friend, only because he was a guy. I was asked to be extra careful while wearing a white PT skirt because of the stains it might get. My friend was laughed on by all the boys in the class and shouted upon by a lady teacher only because she had stained her white skirt while playing basket ball. The humiliation was so much for her to take that since that day she has not touched the basket ball yet.
Well the question is very simple. Is it only the girls’ responsibility to maintain the decorum of the society? In a co-education school, the first lesson on reproduction is taught to both the genders isn’t it? Then why do we need to shy away from such a natural thing? Why can’t parents be more open about it with their children since education begins at home? The amount of rapes and molestation is increasing in our society all thanks to this open secrecy. Society blames a woman if she is raped the reason being even she has enjoyed it then how can that be rape? Oh yes! Why don’t we do something then? Let us also try inserting objects in your private parts and claim how come that be rape? Even you received pleasure out of it, isn’t that so?
Yes, during periods a woman or a girl does act cranky because that is when the hormones in the body change. For some, the pain increases so much that even using the toilet becomes a curse. And, mind you this is not once in a while, this is the story every month. That employee who takes leave every month once is because her stomach aches to an extent where she can’t even sit. According to doctors, this is the time when a woman’s body needs maximum rest. But, how can that happen? You are expected to come to work everyday. When you want to ask for a leave, you are asked questions to an extent that you are humiliated and oh at times you also get to listen: “This is so normal. Why are you even creating a fuss about it?”
But, thankfully a few companies are now changing this so called norms. Brands like Nike, have come up with menstrual leaves, where a woman can take a paid or an unpaid leave if she is unable to come to work due to menstruation. The labor laws of Asian countries like Japan, Indonesia, North Korea and Taiwan also state that woman are entitled to paid or unpaid leaves during their menstruation cycle for one or two days. Thankfully, even a Mumbai based company Culture Machine has come up with the first day leave for the woman to help them overcome the pain of periods.
Yes, leave for woman during “those days” is still a controversial topic and can affect their performance and also been seen as sexism. But, why can’t we just take an initiative for it. You never know this might help in improving the organisation in a better way and also save woman from such stupid remarks and comments. Let’s help our girls to be more confident, secured and happy. If, we can’t reduce the pain at least we can try reducing it and not humiliating a woman for the strength she has.