High on Gloria Steinem’s ‘If Men Could Menstruate’ mantra during my undergrad, I put up a sanitary napkin in my room and sprayed red paint across it. It read: Welcome to my Maxi Pad . In case you haven’t got it already, I’m all about subtlety. Bless my parents, they never asked me to take it down.
If you follow me on Twitter, you bear testament to my lunar cycle and the menses that it brings along. It’s my social media manifesto –I bleed. I stain. I Tweet about it. [And that’s how I bring all the boys to the yard.]
This one time, in my GM’s office, I ended up making an ink-blot original on his chair. A truly memorable experience since I didn’t have any ketchup sachets to blame for the mess. Fellow colleagues, you can thank me for the free Rorschach test. This other time, I bled on my boyfriend’s bed after my maxi pad decided to double-cross me. Funny guy, he gifted me the bed sheet for our anniversary. But I digress.
As the Period Gods have it, every time I get my period, I’m always out of pads. And of course I only start bleeding at work. Lest my colleagues die of awkwardness from my pad-panhandling at the lunch table, I’m forced to use menstrual code lingo. ‘Do you have an ST? I’m chumming.’ But here’s the thing – I don’t want to use any codes, I don’t want discretion and I surely don’t want to be saved from the embarrassment of bleeding every month. I’m a woman, I bleed, fist bump me for it.
Women are conditioned to be apologetic for their bodies, their thoughts and their farts. This criteria doesn’t subjugate men with the same gravity. Every time I narrate the yet-another-car-seat-braved-my-blood tale to my mother, she shakes her head with an ‘iske haath peele kaise honge?’ look. It saddens me that I’m surrounded by people who’re always encouraging me to be more lady-like (read: ashamed) with my attitude towards menstruation. Rarely do I find people who are able to discuss it without shame and discomfort.
But If I’ve learnt anything from Mr. Garrison’s fancy new vagina, it’s that we need to politicize the process, the pain and the PMS rhetoric, empower young girls to understand their menses and have an unabashed political and social discourse on menstruation. The young me needs to be educated on the shedding of her uterine wall, she needs to be safeguarded from stuffing cotton balls down her underpants because she’s too afraid to tell her parents about it.
Reclaim your right to menstruate , talk about it. Who knows, while we’re at it, we may just help decrease inequality.
Until then, follow my Twitpics for some period art.
Rukun recently turned 28. In her free time, she rummages through the marital leads her parents forward her, lest her ovaries run dry and all.