A 20-year-old law student from India wrote an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg asking him to add an “On My Period” button to Facebook’s status updates. Arushi Dua believes that an “On My Period” button on Facebook would promote openness in discussion of menstruation and hopefully change people’s attitude of shame toward it.
While I’d love to see an “On My Period” button on Facebook, what I found most interesting about the article was her frustration with the age-old irony that society encourages (and in her culture, expects) women to have children, yet shames them for menstruating. Don’t they see that menstruation and childbearing are part of the same cycle?
Immediately after I gave birth, I spent a whole month bleeding, then nothing for almost a year. I learned that breastfeeding my child caused a delay in the return of my period. My body wisdom focused my energy toward my baby, before I was ready for a new ovulation cycle.
During that time I didn’t get my periods, I realized that in cultures in which women bear children one after another, menstruation would be a rare occurrence. If a woman is healthy, she could be with child as soon as a new ovulation cycle begins again, or at least within the next couple of cycles.
In a culture that values fertility, menstruation would be considered shameful because it signifies that a woman is either incapable of being pregnant or rebelling against her role in society. Whether she is barren by choice or by fate, a woman’s blood is seen as a failure to be a productive member of her community.
As the world shifts in paradigm from populating the earth to that of population “control,” women are spending less time being pregnant and more time menstruating. As uncomfortable as it feels for those still in the previous mindset, menstruation occurs more often in a woman’s life than it did before. It only makes sense that it becomes more a part of our society’s consciousness and conversations.