DEMYSTIFYING THE MYTH AROUND MENSTRUATION

Bright Hwande

Myth is a traditional story that has historical origins imbedded in our culture and religion which tries to explain a phenomenon. Cultures and religion around the world still vilify menstruation, and consider period blood “dirty” and “impure,” and menstruation itself as a taboo topic. Menstruation is the natural part of the reproductive cycle in which blood from the uterus exits through the vagina.

It is a natural process that first occurs in girls usually between the age of 11 and 14 years and is one of the indicators of the onset of puberty among them. However, menstruation has always been clouded by myths that exclude women from many aspects of socio-economic, cultural life. Some of the myth that has been so persistent is that a girl/woman can’t enter a kitchen or cook food for anyone else because they are unclean, one cannot enter a place of worship. When girls get their first menstruation need to wash face with the first menstrual blood to have clear skin. It was also said that women can’t cradle babies because they will cause them to get sick.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation Wellington Takavarasha, says 360,000 of the 1.5 million Zimbabweans involved in the mining industry are women. But in regions like Manicaland, a woman who is menstruating is considered to be unclean and unlucky. They believe that a menstruating woman cancels out the power of those lucky charms. The fact that it is difficult to determine when women are menstruating, they are sometimes banned outright. Banning such a huge number is a deprivation to the right to equal participation in all sphere of life, it also retards economic development considering that in Zimbabwe we have more women compared to man. Contrastingly it should be noted that menstruation has nothing to do with disappearance of gold. There is need to have an appreciation that gold has some belts which meander, so failure to tress gold belts has no scientific linkage with regards to presence of menstruating women and girls. A myth is just an “imaginary story” it has no basis thus girls and young women should not face social injustice based on their physical biological make up.

However, to demystify the myth, research has proved that there is no any practical evidence that can be drawn out to authenticate the correlation between menstruation and bad luck, it is just an unproven traditional theory. There is really nothing spiritual about menstruation, why being ashamed to openly talk about menstrual hygiene? There is nothing to hide because it’s a normal biological process for all girls and young women, it is just normal all women and girls undergo same similar phases in life before reaching their menopause. Associating menstruation with bad luck is a sign of lacking understanding on menstruation as a process of natural occurrence.

The misunderstanding dark clouding menstruation maybe overcome through searching for the truth. RNCYPT is tirelessly working hard to educate communities about menstrual hygiene and possible ways to increase the uptake of safe menstrual hygiene materials such as recommended pads and pants with cotton.

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and contributors, and do not necessarily reflect those of RNCYPT, board of trustees, or the organization to which the authors are affiliated.

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