Menstruation is a normal body process that happens to women every month– so why is there such a stigma in talking about it? From widespread myths, like a woman should avoid physical activities when she’s on her period, to cultural taboos where women are deemed as ‘dirty’ or ‘impure’, this type of disinformation pervades globally. At its root, this stems from the lack of basic education in tackling the subject of menstruation, so in this episode, the brilliant and powerful women of Girl Power Talk discuss exactly this, touching upon how misconceptions and limiting beliefs on menstruation may affect or lead to damaging a teen’s or woman’s self-worth. Together, in this podcast, this sisterhood speaks up against period stigma and promotes acceptance of the menstrual cycle, normalizing its conversation.
Rachita Sharma, CEO, and Co-Founder of Girl Power Talk hosts this podcast as she converses with Ishita, Simran, Jesse, and Jasmita; four bright, independent, and diverse women to discuss their personal and cultural experiences with menstruation. Together, they recall their first-period experiences, from coming home from school with bleeding underwear and crying to their mom, to feeling angry and scared over having to bleed every month.
Other issues that were touched upon in this episode were the severe lack of menstruation education in school (10:32), men’s assumptions about menstruation (15:55), misleading television ads (23:20), and celebrating womanhood (42:17).
Behind the candid and light-hearted stories in this podcast is a deeper reflection on how societal conventions sabotage our understanding of our own bodies. Because of the assumptions, misconceptions, and superstitions, the guests of this podcast also share the difficulties in not being able to share their experiences, for the fear of being judged or seen as impure. At its most extreme, the guests also share that women during their periods are forbidden from attending religious practices and are seen as a bad influence. In some places, parents even make their daughters sleep on the floor just because they are on their periods!
This widespread cultural taboo has significantly affected the confidence of many young women, as shared by the guests of this podcast. This has led to women being self-conscious of their own bodies, feeling embarrassed, and limiting themselves from doing activities like dancing and sports for fear of being judged. In turn, this has also led to bullying and in some instances, has led women to ask themselves: what is wrong with me? But the thing is, there isn’t anything wrong at all!
At the end of the day, our guests in this podcast encourage you to have a healthy connection with your body and embrace your femininity, while not letting your menstruation limit you. In the same breath, they highlight that each woman’s experience differs from the other, so you don’t need to compare yourself to other women. And hopefully one day, we wouldn’t have to stuff pads into wrappers or watch commercials with blue droplets, because there are better, healthier, and normalized conversations on menstruation that occur within the family and outside in our social circles.
Find what’s best for you, listen to your body, and be the catalyst in openly speaking about menstruation in order to break the stigma and spark healthy conversations. Let’s support one another and #loveourbodies.
Host: Rachita Sharma
Participants: Jesse Mariz Barcena, Ishita Sharma, Simran Singh, and Jasmita Shah