Menstruation, otherwise known as mens in the Philippine context, is the regular discharge of blood and uterus lining of females upon hitting puberty.
While being a completely natural phenomenon, discussion on menstruation is oftentimes considered taboo or at least an uncomfortable topic especially in the Philippines. This comes to a point that girls become embarrassed to purchase or ask for sanitary items (e.g. napkins, tampons, panty liners, etc.) or even admit that they are on their period.
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Recently, a few female workmates and I opened a conversation about mens and it was surprising to learn that our male workmates are very much unaware about the matter! Because of society’s tight-lipping regarding this, several myths surround the topic, leading people (particularly guys and young girls) to believe in several menstrual misconceptions:
- Menstruation is gross and weird. Period. (No pun intended!)
Mens is not gross. It is a natural phenomenon and there’s nothing we can do about it. For ladies – who are also human beings, just in case people forgot – menstruating is as normal as sleeping, eating, breathing and even passing gas! The concept isn’t exactly rocket science; it’s just how biology works!
2. Wash your face with your first mens (menarche) to avoid pimples.
NO! It is disgusting and unsanitary, okay? Besides, having pimple breakouts when you have your mens is completely natural since changes in one’s hormones often result to the skin producing more oil and therefore, being more prone to clogged pores and irritation. So just please, don’t switch your face wash with your mens!
3. When girls get mad, it’s because they’re on their period.
I’ve lost track of how many guys have asked me if I was on my period when I got mad at some point – which I’m pretty sure most girls can #relate! Although having the occasional mood swings is inevitable (because of hormonal shifts and especially because of the fact that hello, we’re literally walking around bleeding ourselves off), not everyone gets easily annoyed while having theirs mens. And obviously, not every irritated lady is on their period. Maybe they’re just angry because people kept assuming this stuff?
4. Don’t take a bath while you have mens because you’ll turn infertile and/or crazy!
Ladies, menstrual hygiene is non-negotiable! While it’s important to take a bath everyday –especially in this Philippine heat and pollution –more so when you’re on your period because you gotta keep yourself clean down there or else risk bacterial infection (ick!) Better be safe than sorry!
5. When you get your mens, jump from the third step of the stairs so that it only lasts for 3 days.
As much as we love our grandmothers and moms, this old tradition that they’ve passed on isn’t something to hold on to. On average, mens normally last around 3-5 days so there’s really no need to jump off the stairs –unless you actually want to bleed for three days but this time, on your head when you slip upon doing this possibly dangerous activity.
All these wrong social constructs and beliefs are proof of how most people are misinformed about the subject. Conversation about menstruation’s true nature is necessary to disrupt the negative stigma about it and to make the male population understand that having mens is not something to be embarrassed about. More importantly, these significant discussions will make little girls realize that having their period is not something to be afraid of.
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At the end of the day, there’s really nothing humiliating in having your mens. Unless of course, you leak and get stained in public then – yikes hassle! But generally, women shouldn’t be shamed for having menstruation but rather, be applauded for it because they bear with this struggle and pain almost every month in order to eventually carry and sustain life within them.
So what can I say? To every woman suffering period cramps right now and every lady who survived yet another week of heavy flow – you go, girl!