Zimbabweans have their own pronunciation for every English word. Period. I accepted this fact when I googled the topic that I would like to talk about for the greater part of this week: menstruation and realized that my knowledge of words up till now has been a lie. All my life, from the first time I came across the word, I have pronounced the word menstruation as mens- trueway-shen instead of men-STRAY-shuhn like uncle google says I should. So much for being a woman well versed in feminine issues, right?
And so besides the mispronunciation of menstruation, menstruation itself is the subject of many a misconstrued thought. For most cultures, the topic is taboo and has only recently begun to be talked about freely. For most people, dialogue about this subject has been restricted to the confines of the classrooms walls, a subject to be talked about only when the biology or intergrated science course curriculum has permitted it to be discussed. Oddly enough, for a woman brought up in a male dominated household by a single father, it never once crossed my mind to question why it was normal for me to discuss menstrual issues with my father and brothers but not be able to discuss the same issue openly outside our family home. It is refreshing now though, to be able to write so candidly about issues that I would not have been caught dead talking about in public before. To be able to walk into a store, take my time viewing my options in the pads section of the store before deciding on the brand to use that month and then proudly walk to the till openly holding my purchase with no fear whatsoever. To be able to actually see men, post on their timelines their views on menstruation and to see them actively involved in ensuring that women have safer and happier period, is indeed amazeballs! What a time to be alive indeed!
Social media has however played a pivotal role in the perpetuation of menstrual myths with some female “how to” sites encouraging secrecy about periods within relationships as a way of making one more attractive to the opposite sex. But as I have since come to realize, men are more accepting and understanding of the biological workings of women more than we actually think. Whilst those who do not, have said they would be willing to discuss the subject and learn more about the topic. “After all we are all here because of menstruation!” one gentleman quipped when I asked him about his views with regards to the matter.
I sincerely hope that by the end of this week, this article and the ones to follow shed more light on women’s sexual reproductive health and facilitates open dialogue about menstruation without soliciting unnecessary embarrassment in anyone because after all is said and done, menstruation matters.
I would really love to hear from you, please share with me any stories about menstruation, any myths that you have heard or a topic that you think we need to talk about before the week ends.
And for those of us who would like to get more biological and technical on the topic, follow the following link for in more depth reads on menstruation: