Periods or menstruation has always been a taboo in conversation. We hardly ever see any women or men talking about periods freely. However, some people are open to talking about menstruation and consider it as a natural process. We talked with a few men from our batch about ‘that time of the month’ and got some amazing responses:
Q. What was your initial understanding of periods before you came to know about it?
Person 1: Coming from a conservative background, I had absolutely no idea that something like periods existed. I never understood the advertisements on different types of sanitary pads and whenever I asked my mother about them I only got silence in response.
Person 2: I have always seen ads on TV about sanitary pads, and when I asked my mother about it, she said that periods are a very ‘girly’ thing and that I did not have to bother about.
Person 3: I was in the dark about periods for most of my childhood. The word was hardly mentioned in any social setting. I managed to associate periods with menstruation when I read about it in my Biology book but even then, I was largely in the dark
Person 4: I didn’t have any understanding of menstruation until I learned about it in a science class.
Person 5: I knew nothing about it until my parents felt it was necessary to introduce me to periods so that there was no bias of gender in the amount of reproductive knowledge I was allowed to have.
Q. Who introduced you to periods and how did they do this?
Person 1: I really do not remember how I was introduced to the concept of periods. I think it was a combination of my class 10 CBSE curriculum and an explanation given by my friends.
Person 2: I learnt about this only when I actually did the chapter on reproduction in Class 8 and later talked to my teacher about it after class.
Person 3: I first learned about menstruation in my biology class, but the word ‘periods’ and the whole experience that a woman goes through was not mentioned. My first introduction to periods was perhaps when one of my female friends shared her experience of pain with me. It was totally unchartered territory for me and with time I learned more about it.
Person 4: I got to know about periods in class 8 science class when the teacher was teaching the chapter on human reproduction. It was quite informative.
Person 5: My mother told me about it and my bio textbook later strengthened my understanding.
Q. Are you able to freely talk about periods with your family members?
Person 1: My father, elder sister and I talk about various things, including sex and periods. However, I have never had, and I think can never have, such a discussion with my mother.
Person 2: No. It is very difficult to talk to my family about anything related to sex, relationships, and ‘girl’ things. It is a tabooed topic at home.
Person 3: It has hardly come up in conversations because there was never a need to talk about it. I do feel that I can talk freely about it though because there have been a few mentions of it in the past.
Person 4: I’m not able to talk about it freely at home. I don’t have any sister either so the topic usually doesn’t come up at home.
Person 5: Definitely. The aim was to establish a sense of ease and comfort when assisting women such that no gender was to feel alienated at any time.
Q. How would you react if your girlfriend left a period stain on your dorm room bed?
Person 1: I understand that it is a natural procedure and I know that she will be going through a lot of pain because of her periods, so in that situation, I would try to remain as calm as possible. However, I am not very sure what my exact reaction would be.
Person 2: I think I would be more concerned about my girlfriend’s health, than about the period stain on my bed?
Person 3: First I would make sure that she is feeling fine. Then I would give the bedsheet for laundry. Lastly, I would get her chocolates
Person 4: I would try to ensure that my girlfriend is feeling fine and would try to comfort her. I’d wash the bedsheet eventually.
Person 5: Well, I wouldn’t mind as I know it’d be out of her control, though I would like it if she wore sanitary napkins or took some measures to help herself. I mean, what if it happened while she’s in public?
Q. Have you ever seen a period stain? How would you react if you ever saw it?
Person 1: No, I have never seen a period stain. I would try to react in a very calm manner if I saw it, but honestly, I am not very comfortable with seeing blood, so I don’t know how I would react.
Person 2: No, I have never seen a period stain. But I have even greater respect for girls for what they have to endure during their periods.. Just the sight of a drop of blood makes my head start spinning, and girls have to bear this every month!
Person 3: Not yet. What’s the need to react?
Person 4: I’ve never seen one. If I do see one, I don’t think I would react in any way as that might make the person uneasy.
Person 5: I’m honestly not sure because I never asked to confirm, but I think I have. Like I said, my first instinct would be to support the woman and make sure she didn’t feel terribly embarrassed. I’d hate to see a person in distress and feeling small because of something completely natural.
As is evident from the responses above, periods are no longer considered a social stigma to talk about for some men. Similarly, there is an amazing movie called Padman, on the subject of periods which has released. We hope you’ll go to see the movie and perhaps that this article has changed your outlook on periods.
Edited by Gauri Jhangiani
All images are curated by Viraj Malani