Stories about menstruation

Is allowing menstruating women time off from work discriminatory against men?

Every woman on this planet will experience the immense joy of menstruation in her lifetime. It is something she was biologically made to experience. But for a workplace to recognise the pain she experiences whilst on her period is quite revolutionary. This week a company in Bristol, UK decided to allow menstruating women time off from work in order to recuperate from period pain. Suffice to say, this decision was met with a mixture of applause and derision from both men and women alike.  At first, I didn’t know how to react to the news. The feminist streak in me thought it was a brilliant idea ...

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Medicating women’s feelings

Women are moody. By evolutionary design, we are hard-wired to be sensitive to our environments, empathic to our children’s needs and intuitive of our partners’ intentions. This is basic to our survival and that of our offspring. Some research suggests that women are often better at articulating their feelings than men because as the female brain develops, more capacity is reserved for language, memory, hearing and observing emotions in others. These are observations rooted in biology, not intended to mesh with any kind of pro- or anti-feminist ideology. But they do have social implications. Women’s emotionality is a sign of ...

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Sanitary napkins are not luxury items… period

Is everyone ready? Okay… all together now… let’s say the following words: Period… Menstruation… Tampons… Sanitary napkins… Sanitary towels… Menstrual pad… Maxi pad… Whew. That wasn’t so hard, was it? Every month, before reaching a certain age, a woman ovulates for a span of a day or so. Following this time, an unfertilised egg is let go in a menstrual period that lasts up to a week or more of bleeding. It can be a very uncomfortable time for most, but is more severe for some; the pain certain women suffer is crippling. Yet across the world, especially in certain cultures, women are discouraged from discussing the affects and requirements of this basic ...

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We need to stop treating menstruation as a ‘fault’

“So what do you do when you… you know… have your monthly period?” I said to my domestic helper, after my mouth-gaping-open-in-shock reaction was over and I found my voice. For an urban woman, what she was telling me was unthinkable. I was truly scandalised that many women in Pakistan’s underprivileged parts walk around with no sanitary cloth or napkins when they have their menstrual period. Others do use folded pieces of cloth, she told me, but even then the hygiene conditions she was describing were hardly satisfactory. The year was 2010. Pakistan had been hit by one of the worst ...

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Rupi Kaur: Staining a woman’s modesty on Instagram?

This week has seen Instagram caught in a furore about its decision to remove a controversial photograph of a woman, Rupi Kaur, who was lying on a bed fully clothed except for a bloodstain which showed on her pyjamas, indicating that she was menstruating. The girl involved in this fiasco is a self-proclaimed Canadian poet who took great offence to Instagram’s decision to remove the picture stating that she “bleeds every month to help make humankind a possibility”. She posted the picture again only for it to be deleted again but by then the picture had gone viral. In order ...

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