Why to Hide?

Posted September 7, 2011 from Nepal

A few days ago, I visited an exhibition on ‘the school sanitation: the neglected development link’. Though the exhibition was solely focussed on the problems faced by girls due to improper sanitation facilities in the schools, yet it presented an overall inter-related dimension between gender and sanitation. Do you agree that sanitation hinders mobility? I do. I believe a majority (women) calculates their menstruation timing before travelling somewhere. Taking pills have become a familiar way to delay the menstruation dates. Especially, young girls abandon eating and drinking water while travelling. Even during an urgency to pee, a majority never gets down out of shyness and comfortless situations. And if unfortunately, periods are prior to the due date, the sufferings are doubled. I remember during my recent trek, one of my co-travellers making statement on my visits to the inner parts of forest areas to relieve myself. He said,’ tapailai ta laaj nai na lagdo rahenacha (you don’t feel shy). Well, I don’t take my friends words the other way round; the only thing that hung on my mind was how our rigid thoughts are in continuation with the younger generations. I thank my exposure and flexible mobility that I am less shy at least when I’ve to pee. On the other hand, even I don’t feel comfortable to disclose about my menstruation. While trekking, I suffered menstruation within a gap of 10 days. Fortunately, it started when our trek was about to end. However, the flow was intense. Without a word of discomfort I kept walking and tried to keep pace with the boys till we reached the last stop. I keep wondering, it is a natural process, then why we keep hiding it from males. Why we ought to carry reticent self-effacing demeanour? While we were kids, my brother used to repeat what my mother would say ‘na chune vako cha (untouchable)’. He would repeat the same, without understanding the meaning, only in order to rescue from the task he has been assigned. These days my nephew repeats the same thing. For the continuation of life cycle, menstruation is a vital biological process. Why it is only women who bear the pain, and in turn she cannot even disclose her sufferings. Is there any justification regarding this in our culture? Why to hide?

(Why women aren’t free to know and share about their body? Is there any justification regarding not concealing about menstruation to males in the family (and outside) in our culture? Why women are bound to maintain peculiar silence? Why women ought to carry reticent self-effacing demeanor?)

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