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Menstruation In The Third World Country

60By Ferdousi Kabir Helaly ::

When I started menstruating I wasn’t allowed to get out from the home that week because as I was bleeding, some bad souls would cast bad eyes on me and I would have heavy cramps and etc. It was not my mother’s fault though, she had been taught that way. Third world countries are full of these types of people. If you are bleeding, you are a dirty soul.
A month ago, during my cousin’s rural small wedding, I had blood flow. There are some traditions in rural areas for brides, e.g every woman bathes her and while doing so you need to hold a veil surrounding her. Since I told them beforehand that I was bleeding, they didn’t even let me stay near the bride as if I was a gene. They told me that I was not even allowed to collect water from the pond in a vase (ritual) because it had to be untouched by a menstruating lady. I couldn’t apply henna on her hand, even though as her closest cousin I was supposed to do everything. Even while dressing her up on the wedding day, I was almost ousted out from the dressing room if my mother hadn’t come on time. She was scolding everyone because she believes by then that these were superstitions and after that I did her makeup. I felt so horrible inside that day that I was almost crying. Everyone was mocking me as if it was my fault I was bleeding during the wedding.
Urban area people in Bangladesh are not less in any sense than that of rural area people. During Holy Ramadan, most of the girls cannot fast 30 days because of this fairy godmother. Boys know this fact, yet they ask if we, girls, have kept all of the fasts. When we say no, they ask shamelessly why even if they know the reason. What most of the girls reply is “I am sick”. I used to feel so embarrassed that I would go away from that place. One day, due to my regular mood swings, I got angry; I told that person that I was on my period, any problem? They might have been thinking how shameless I was to speak of this; “the day of doom is knocking on the door”. Since then I have never stepped back from answering such questions because I have understood that I need to deal with this these shameless people who like to mock about period.
We can tell our brother that I am suffering from diarrhea but we cannot say it is period. Is this a dirty thing to talk about? Aren’t we making sacrifices to bring newborn babies to the world? Half of the population bleed. Eve bled, Hilary Clinton and Queen of England did bleed.
Why do we then need to put a veil on face while buying sanitary napkins from pharmacy so that the pharmacist doesn’t get to know that this girl is on period? “Oh my God!” she thinks,” I cannot be a laughing stock”. I want to spit on their face. We all want to do so, but cannot because a menstruating lady is a witch who knows dark magic. At least Islam, Christianity and few other religions permit us to cook at that time, Hindu girls are prohibited to touch milk otherwise it will become curd (let alone cooking). Epic! I have got a new business scheme ‘curd business’. If we go by aisle of crops, crops die. Seriously! Even, blood coming out of your vagina has different religions.

Talking about menstruation, we women also mock our own kind if we are discharging. If a packet of tampon or pad falls from your bag mistakenly, we need to make sure that no one have seen it. I had gone through such a bad experience regarding this. Once I bought a packet of pad while going to college as I ran out of one. I was doing some computer thingies and left my bag in a corner and somehow the packet managed to fall on the ground and our young male teacher might have seen it . My classmates were laughing at me, I simply didn’t care. Later, anyhow I managed to learn that they were talking stuffs about me. I don’t blame them now. It is not their fault; it is the environment they were brought up. If educated ladies mock abut period and stuffs, what can we expect from uneducated ones?
We like to hide this natural process from people and which is why we call it in many pseudo names. But the ultimate question is why. Why is it a Social taboo? The idea of becoming a woman is not very welcomed, I guess .
The world needs woman but the process needs to be hidden, whereas circumcision is celebrated.
Period is a regular and natural thing. It is nothing to be ashamed of.
Maybe, the perspectives are changing nowadays. Male doctors are asking female patient about their monthlies in front of her spouse or parents. Male teachers are teaching students about menses and ovulation during biology co-ed class. Famiy members are watching Sanitary napkin Television advertisements with girls. The time for  change has come. I hope women rise and make period a perfectly discuss-able topic with everyone else.
Writer : Studying Law.