When a bunch of happily giggling girls sitting on next table suddenly shifted to whispers, I got curious enough to eavesdrop only to realise that the subject of their conversation actually needed to rise above the whispers and reach deaf ears of males.
Periods, i.e. menstruation, is a strange problem from evolutionary perspective; as an uncomfortable biological truth is, barely a hundred years back, periods were not really a great problem, as they were far less frequent in a woman’s life.
In not too distant past, arrival of first periods indicated end of childhood and commencement of a cycle of pregnancy and child-nursing leading to only a small window of menstruation in between to start all over again. This pregnancy-driven cycle continued till menopausal termination of fertility and in turn periods.
So, increased frequency of periods have arrived in modern woman’s life not as a curse but as a trade off for escaping horrors of being a child bearing machine, but there is a dire need to reposition how periods are viewed now, as modern woman can’t be expected to pay alone for a life-style change that entire society has benefited from.
Men must appreciate what this change has done to their lives. If they can’t, they should try imaging a social life devoid of female company. Just like the lively girls whose laughter resonated the cafe, female presence has enriched the dull and often violent world of men by adding emotions and joie de vivre to it.
Liberation of women from the horrors of endless child-bearing cycle is the greatest social change of last hundred years and undoubtedly the happiest one for entire humanity. But that change has led to a war with human body biology resulting in collateral damages in terms of periods; that, for some strange reason, women have decided to suffer from alone.
The only public platform where periods have a presence, i.e. advertisement of sanitary pads, are a great indicator of the conditioning women have about concealing and ignoring the biggest problem of their lives. Periods are made private to female world by disallowing their expression. So, while women go through great pain and hormone-induced emotional volatility, they are expected to maintain a stoic silence to ensure that no one gets to know their “dirty” secret.
I fail to understand the rationale of the way periods are positioned in our society today, as there could be nothing more counterproductive in dealing with pain than concealing it. As pain needs to find an outlet, what this concealing does is to make women appear irrational to men due to lateral expression of it in form of mood swings. If both men and women become aware of the pain, it would be lot easier to rationalise it and prevent misunderstanding.
What women really need to do is to stop using whispers and speak up about this issue. Periods need serious rebranding as a special event that men should be more aware of than women.
If you are a man who cherishes women in your life, it is about time you realise that knowing cricket match dates is far less important than knowing dates that women you love have with their body biology.
Though periods and pain associated with them have no real medical solution, science is not the only tool to deal with them.
A woman is made of and for love. Give her tender loving care and she can smile through third degree burn. So, she will easily bear the burden of this massive biological change, provided men in her life are ready to acknowledge it and share it emotionally.