How often can a woman pretend to have a stomach ache?
I’m almost 10 years or so into my mensuration and you would’ve thought, aah it’s been quite long, women must be used to it by now. Let me tell you something, we don’t. Unbearable discomfort and out of control hormones wait to greet us every 30-40 odd days. And we are expected to function at the same level of competency, let alone talk about it openly.
I remember as kids, it was very hush-hush. You weren’t supposed to talk about this, especially to boys who would snicker and giggle every time the mathematics teacher said the word mensuration. So mature. Now you will say, c’mon Shiro they are only kids, but sorry, if girls the same age are supposed to go through this, then we should educate our boys to at least not make it more uncomfortable.
As a kid if I was down figuratively and literally, all I could tell my friends is I have a stomach ache, but how often can you use the same excuse? As an adult, if someone asks me what is wrong, I tell them clearly, I am down, or if I not in a “don’t breathe so loud or I’ll tear you to shreds” mood, I will smile and say it’s my time of the month. If that makes my colleagues uncomfortable, so be it. You have all lived here for about two decades at the least, get over it!
That is the problem, girls, and women not just have to deal with the monthly roller coaster their bodies take them on but have to manage the additional stigma around it. Little things like the fact that my tampons and sanitary napkins are bagged in a black opaque bag. I get the need to separate the food items from toiletries. That’s a logical segregation. The need to further put my tampons in black little opaque baggies is something I don’t see a reason for.
And let’s talk about our workplaces, the design of our workplaces is straight out of the 40s where the workforce was majorly men. That worked well then. But since then times have changed. More women are entering the workforce every single day, but we refuse to change the construct in the name of efficiency. We simply want our women to work in an environment that is not at all conducive for them. We need to create a more inclusive environment so that women are not stretched thin. Ideally, I would want more maternity and paternity leave and a flexible work from home policy but right about now, I will settle for having a tampon machine in my office washroom.
Stay strong ladies!
PS: Get the men in your lives talking about this. Make them comfortable, make them understand. We have to \take the initiative to remove the stigma and taboo around it?