A menstrual stigma is a social taboo deeply ingrained in our beliefs, cultures and histories. It involves menstruation being perceived as unclean or embarrassing.
Girls have been taught since a very young age to hush about it in public spaces or in front of men, even if they are family members.
Tracing back to the religious beliefs, in Hinduism, women are not allowed to go to temples because they aren’t considered ‘pure’ at that time of the month.
In Islam, women are considered unfit to pray during their cycle. Menstrual taboos are found in the Quran as: ‘go apart from women during the monthly course, do not approach them until they are clean‘ Quran 2:222.
…the Bible: ‘…in her menstrual impurity; she is unclean… whoever touches…shall be unclean and shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening.’ Leviticus 15
Menstruation being a shared experience among all assigned females at birth and yet being such a stigmatized topic has many consequences. In many parts of the world there is a lack of educational resources around it, thus fuelling the myths which humiliate women during their monthly cycles included limited access to menstrual hygiene products including sanitary napkins, tampons etc.
With increasing education and female empowerment, let’s hope menstruation will be celebrated as a natural experience.
Here’s a poem I wrote about it:
Wrapped in black, covered with sheets of paper,
They protect me
Like I was precious a diamond
They don’t think of me as precious,
Shame and stigma the red brings in,
Hiding me into darkness,
Undermining the abilities of those who wear me
While being covered in red,
Limiting her to four walls,
When all she was meant to do is fly,
And for the same,
I provide her with my wings.