United States, Jordan, Uganda, Brazil, Laos. No matter the country, a large number of women get their periods. Despite that, the ways we handle them may vary by location. We are taking you for a trip around the world for a look inside how women from all over are experiencing menstruation.
In some countries, a girl’s first period can call for celebration. When a young Cree woman starts her period, they are honored with ritual called a Berry Fast. The celebrated women fast from solid foods during this time, but are brought soup by older female family members. During this time, older women also pray for the positive future of the young woman. When the rite of passage is over, young women are celebrated with a feast.
The Cree people aren’t the only ones who celebrate a girl’s first period. Young women in Ghana are given gifts while sitting under ceremonial umbrellas, while the girls of Ulithi are given the chance to bond with other women in a menstrual hut.
The Down Side
Unfortunately, not all countries look at menstruation in a positive light. Shame, embarrassment, and even the heavy cost of basic period products hold many women back from taking proper care of themselves during this time.
Left without choice, some Kenyan girls are forced to use everyday items like rags, newspaper, or leaves in lieu of pads due to high costs. Not only does this hinderance put women at risk for health issues, but it also prevents some young women from attending school.
Some cultures believe that a woman’s period can affect the taste and freshness of food. In parts of India, women are prohibited from cooking during this time for fear their period may spoil it. Traditionally in Japan, women have been barred from becoming sushi chefs because it is believed that they suffer an imbalance in taste during their cycle. Thankfully this is beginning to change and more women are able to pursue the career.
Here At Home
In the United States, periods are no longer a stigma. Most American women feel comfortable discussing the topic openly, especially when it comes to their health. As far as disposable period products are concerned, women are demanding transparency about the ingredients that go into them. Because of this, companies are turning to natural fibers, like cotton, to include in their products.
Consumers are ditching rayon, since this semi-synthetic material is one of the reasons toxic shock syndrome is still a concern. Although TSS cases peaked in the ‘80s and the most absorbent tampons were taken off the market, rayon is still present in many popular brands of tampons and the chance of TSS remains with prolonged tampon use.
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