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It’s time to talk about that time of the month7 min read

May 28, 2021 5 min read

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It’s time to talk about that time of the month7 min read

Reading Time: 5 minutes

It’s the 28th of May, and that means that we need to have a chat. It is time to talk about that icky, gross, disgusting, unclean, vile,

totally natural and clean occurrence

Bleeding Grace Mandeville Sticker

known as menstruation. Yup, once every month, a huge chunk of the world’s population bleeds for a few days. And yet, so many of us know nothing about it, and even when we do, we’ve got all the wrong ideas.

So, Owliver is here to celebrate

Menstruation Periods Sticker by WASH United

What is that?

Menstrual Hygiene Day or MHDay celebrates a movement that was started in 2014. The German NGO, WASH, has collaborated with organisations around the globe to achieve by 2030 “a world where no woman or girl is held back because she menstruates.”

So, why does menstruation hold some women back? Let’s find out.

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When women get their periods they often bleed a little through the day and night. This means they need something to soak up the blood, as they carry on going about their business. There are several products that can do this soaking very efficiently but unfortunately a lot of women can’t access those products. This is either because these products are too expensive or entirely unavailable.

Janaushadhi Suvidha scheme: A look at the challenges it faces a year after  its launch | Lifestyle News,The Indian Express
Some products that are used to soak up menstrual blood. Image: Hindustan Times

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Thanks to the work of organisations such as the ones involved in MH Day, women don’t have to pay taxes for menstrual products any longer. This is true for several countries, including India and New Zealand.

Did you know that you pay the government a little bit of money every time you buy something? Click here to learn more about taxes and how they work.

Suvidha Sanitary Napkins

Janaushadhi Suvidha Sanitary Napkins Scheme 2021 - Sanitary Pads at Rs. 1  at Jan Aushadhi Stores

The Indian government has also started something called the Suvidha scheme. Through this scheme, women who can’t afford menstrual products that are available in stores get sanitary pads for just two rupees and 50 paise. Moreover, these pads are completely biodegradable! Unfortunately, this program is yet to reach millions of Indian women who still can’t manage their periods with safe menstrual products.

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More people than you could imagine don’t have access to clean water, soap, proper waste disposal and other systems that help us stay hygienic. Due to this lack, people are forced to use dirty and unclean methods to manage their menstrual blood. This leads to troubling diseases and infections for menstruating women.

This inability to care for oneself during one’s menstrual period is known as period poverty.

ActionAid UK period tampon period poverty on my period Sticker
Learn more about period poverty by clicking on the image above.

In several societies, periods are a big taboo. That means people aren’t allowed to even talk about their menstrual periods. This is because people are either uninformed about menstruation or fed misinformation. Menstruating women are often told that they are unclean or even evil. This leads to women having to hide and compromise their health to save themselves from embarrassment.

But Menstruation isn’t embarrassing at all. In fact, it’s natural and just as clean as your saliva, sweat or any other bodily fluid.

Blue Blood?

Kotex's New Commercial Uses Red Fluid to Represent Period Blood | PEOPLE.com
A Kotex sanitary pad advertisement. Image: People.com

Are you looking at that blue liquid and wondering, what on Earth is that? That blue liquid is supposed to be menstrual blood. While a band-aid advertisement may show blood dripping from a wound or prick, commercials for sanitary products usually don’t. Instead, when they want to indicate just how absorbant their product really is, they show us a strange blue or purple alien juice.

Why not just use blood, you ask? Well, as a result of social stigmas and a lack of awareness around menstruation, people believe that menstrual blood would be too unclean or disturbing to show on TV.

Again, as we know, menstrual blood is perfectly natural and is just as clean as any other body fluid.

Libresse/Bodyform #Bloodnormal — NICK & NADJA
The first ever advertisement to show blood in a a menstrual pad commercial. Image: NICK AND NADJA

Can you believe that the first time that a company showed us menstrual blood in their commercial for sanitary products was only in 2017!!! And even now, many large brands continue to depict menstrual blood with a strange blue liquid that could only be linked to a body if it belonged to an alien.

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You Got This Mental Health GIF by YouTube

Let’s break the stigma

What are we to do about all this? Well, quite simply, we can talk about it. The problem of period poverty can be forked into two. On the one hand, we have the issue of no access to hygiene systems and products. On the other hand, we have the social stigma that surrounds menstruation.

While issues like period tax and costly menstrual products have been taken up by many organisations, we can play our part by staying informed. Moreover, once you’ve got all that menstrual knowledge power, don’t forget to spread your awareness further in whatever way you can.

So, don’t be shy and have the bloody chat

Stop It Kill Me Sticker by SWR3

But before you start chatting, here’s a video to help you get better acquainted with menstrual periods. Boy, girl or trans, all this information is for you. Menstruation happens all around us every day, so whether or not we menstruate, it’s best to stay informed. And, that way, the next time you know someone is on their period, you’ll know it’s only natural, and you’ll save yourself an imaginary unpleasant experience where none is to be had.

Mario Kart Choices Sticker by Period Nirvana
Click on the image above to decode all the period products you have at your disposal.

With Excerpts From: ORF, MenstrualHygiene.org, MenstrualHygiene.org, MenstrualHygiene.org, BBC, YouthkiAwaaz, and shethepeople.

One Comment
  1. Fiona Manonn

    Though I actually may not be doing any such thing for some social cause but I personally as well as from the very depth of my heart always respect as well as feel so very grateful to all the very NGOs which are actually just doing so much of social work without any favours.

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