Men on menstruation: I'm ok buying pads, have also made sexist period comments

I was curious about what men really thought about menstruation and asked a few questions
Men on menstruation: I'm ok buying pads, have also made sexist period comments
Men on menstruation: I'm ok buying pads, have also made sexist period comments
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By Nageena Vijayan

In her 1978 essay titled “If Men Could Menstruate”, American feminist writer and editor Gloria Steinem wrote: “If men could menstruate...clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event: Men would brag about how long and how much....Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of such commercial brands as Paul Newman Tampons, Muhammed Ali's Rope-a-Dope Pads, John Wayne Maxi Pads, and Joe Namath Jock Shields - 'For Those Light Bachelor Days.'" 

While this is now close to 40 years old, I was curious about what men really thought about menstruation. For the occasion of World Menstrual Hygience Day, I decided to ask them.

I checked with 30 men who included married men, bachelors and young adults. The sample included a mix of forward-thinking as well as conservative men between 19 to 40 years of age. Some of them were slightly embarrassed but most of them were very excited to talk about it. 

Their responses highlight the need for creating more awareness and understanding around the topic, and stresses on why menstruation should really matter to everyone, everywhere. Here’s a quick summary of how they responded:

1.       28 have discussed menstruation in-depth with their guy friends before the age of 16.

2.       23 of them have picked up napkins for their spouses/ sisters/ friends, and around 17 of them said they don’t feel awkward asking for it in a crowded medical shop.

3.       Only 3 out of 30 have actually had conversation about menstruation openly with their son/s or daughter/s during family time.

4.       26 men said they understood that women go through physical, emotional swings and therefore, there is a need to be co-operative.

5.       6 said they help women specifically during their period because they understand that it may not be easy for women to manage

6.       All 30 have either have made sexist comments at least once or have laughed at some stupid period jokes.

7.       27 men do not wish to have sex when their spouses have their period

8.       17 of them think women should refrain from going to temples and 2 of them said “no comments”

9.       26 out of 30 are not prepared or don’t know how to explain what menstruation is all about if their little one confronts them with the question

10.     21 do not think problems related to menstruation could lead to other serious health problems in women

Note to my male friends:  Menstruation is not an odd phenomenon. It is as natural as breathing, drinking water, watching movie or having sex. You don’t have to feel so very superior because you don’t have it. You have an equal role in spreading awareness about menstrual hygiene for better health of your own family and the world. Awareness about menstrual health and hygiene matter because a healthy mother gives birth to healthy children, and awareness about hygienic and healthy lifestyle in turn grooms healthy mothers. 

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