Men are clueless when it comes to periods. More so in India, where there are hardly in sex education classes in school, and knowledge about periods is strictly restricted to females-only settings. So, when men are exposed to menstruation, they find it a bit fascinating, which may or may not be a positive feeling.
When I was in the seventh grade, some people representing a sanitary napkin brand came to our school to talk about periods. Following the norms, they held their session only with the girls. But teenagers are blabbermouths and schools have thin walls, hence, as expected, the boys came to know. The entire week we had to deal with period jibes, which only made sense to the boys.
Now, these same boys have grown up into fully functioning male members of our society yet there understanding of menstruation can only be described as rudimentary. Of course, not all men, as they like to claim every time; some have an above average understanding of periods, but most do not like to think beyond stereotypes. Hence, when you do tell them about periods, they either are surprised or go blank completely, and they try to hide it using humor. Here is a list of all the reactions I have managed to get from men when I have told them about my periods (and my responses).
- Okay, you don’t have to tell me…
I think this is the most common reaction I have got. I usually reply with- Okay, I don’t have to, but you asked me if I was feeling okay, and I am not, because I am on my periods and I do not like to bleed. Do not ask me, and I won’t tell you. But do you really expect me to frame your answer as per your convenience. What do men expect? Do they expect us to be honest and lie at the same time?
- Oh, that’s why you have been acting all cranky….
Yes, obviously, because I do not have any other problems in my life except periods, something I have been dealing with every month for the past thirteen years. Yes, this is the biggest problem in my life. Just like yours is lack of knowledge. I will work on mine, you should probably focus on yours.
- Oh periods, it means you are not pregnant!
Yes, genius, I am living in the medieval times, without condoms and contraception, so I live under the constant fear of getting pregnant and rejoice whenever I get periods. So, where are we celebrating? Oh, sorry, I just realized that we are living in the medieval times, and girls are not supposed to be so forthcoming. Sorry, okay!
- Oh, are you in pain, shall I get you something to eat?
Well, first of all, thank you for understanding that periods can be painful. And no, you don’t need to get me something to eat, I will manage.
This happens every month…. how are you surviving?
You know my mother always told me that I should not ask people those questions whose answers can be found easily. Please google. May be you will understand what biology is, and how our bodies are not stupid enough to lose all the blood in these five days. It is a natural process, for god’s sake. I have been experiencing it for the past thirteen years, and I am very much alive, in front of you, listening to your balderdash. Almost 50% people in the world get periods. It is important to know about it, not for my sake, but yours. So just google.
I find it hard to comprehend that in this era when you can find information on anything under the sun, most men have largely refrained from learning about menstruation. Hopefully, this wisdom shall dawn upon them soon. We can only wait and educate.