It comes as no surprise that for many of us Brown girls growing up, the subject of periods was hushed. Much of what we learned was not from our parents but from outside sources and self-searching. Sometimes, the information we came across was faulty. Here are just some of the myths that we’ve heard and debunked over the years:
1. Painkillers will make you infertile.
Imagine the joy when I discovered Midol as a solution to my debilitating cramps, only to be horrified when I was told it would “affect my baby making abilities.”
Lies! Midol does not affect one’s fertility, as is often falsely believed. It’s just all built on this stigma against speaking about periods despite the fact that they’re a norm for women every month.
2. Don’t use tampons, they’ll take your virginity away.
I’m absolutely sure a majority of us have heard this said at one point in time. There’s a big misconception in the community that tampons take one’s virginity away. That is absolutely not true and just a misconception that spread like wildfire over these communities. The entire concept of virginity is built on a man and woman engaging in sexual intercourse for their own pleasure. There is nothing pleasurable nor anything remotely sexy about a tampon being shoved up there while bleeding.
3. Natural remedies are better than medication.
Everyone is about natural remedies in our cultural worlds, whether it be as simple as hot tea with herbs or lavender oils rubbed on your tummy. But what’s the point in needlessly suffering when there are immediate medical ways to alleviate your pain? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for natural remedies, but sometimes they just don’t work! Or sometimes, they don’t work right away – and I don’t know about you, but quick pain relief is my goal during that time of the month.
Having grown up with a traditional Pakistani mother, I heard these my entire life. My life did a complete 180 when she was no longer in the picture and I was in a house full of guys. I went from one harsh end of the spectrum–being told pills inhibit my fertility–to being encouraged to take them all the time!
From then on, it’s been a world of “if pills can cure it, take them and be happy.”