He is forthright, upfront , can be rude and he most certainly doesn’t hold back. We welcome our brand NEW resident columnist – THE BRADFORD SHEIKH.
Every month The Bradford Sheikh will share his views on issues surrounding the South Asian community living in the UK.
You might not like what he has to say, but it’s HIS and he couldn’t give a monkey’s……so read with care.
This month I am going to approach the subject of that time of the month…Yes, I do mean periods!!
Let me start off by saying that as an Asian man I used to feel very uncomfortable about women having periods. I used to hate the thought of the other half wanting to change her pad so many times, or acting like a total numpty and covering up my ears when she told me it was her time of the month.
The worst thing was picking up a set of pads, after being asked to go to a shop to get a packet.
I would feel very uncomfortable as women cashiers were off limits, and cool guys–anybody who might look like they’d comment on my purchases were also off limits.
After some time, I asked myself why are men so afraid of the P word to begin with? Or the M word? It’s a really good question, and although I cannot speak for everyone, I do have a few thoughts. We are all products of our generation, and our thoughts/actions are influenced by both men and women.
The reality is that men generally don’t talk about menstruation – they just don’t. Men talk about “manly” things: sports, cars, women, etc. Talking about periods is off limits–it’s in the unwritten, but culturally understood book of manliness. To mention periods among your male peers or even your elders is just plain and simply a taboo.
On the other hand, I remember several occasions as a child when I’d be watching TV with friends and a tampon or pad commercial would come on. Right around the time the ubiquitous blue liquid started to pour, my mum would come running into the room to change the channel.
If anything, this just left me with more questions, like, do girls really have blue pee? And, why don’t mums come running in during the brawny commercials? In hindsight, I know they were trying to do a good thing, but what they really did was instill in me a sense of secrecy about menstruation and menstrual products.
Having said that, I do think that times are changing, even though 40 per cent of people are uncomfortable buying tampons. I’d imagine that 10 years ago, this number was much higher, and that 10 years from now, it will be even lower. I’m resistant to change – I’m a man – but in this case, I think any change that makes us men more understanding is a good thing.
For all you guys out there who aren’t quite ready to make this leap, I’d be happy to buy your partner or your sisters period products for her. Who knows? This may be my lifelong job