Education on womanhood
In the 5th grade at school, we were about eleven years old. One day, a school nurse gathered the girls in a leisure room after class. The curtain was drawn, and an animated video was played. It began with the education of menstruation. We watched an female reproductive organs release eggs, the wall of the womb thicken, and blood drip via the hole which existence I had never paid attention to. The story unfolded to show a man and a woman lay in bed facing each other, and with the release of multiple heart marks, they embrace each other. The next moment the screen was zoomed into the anatomy of their genitalia. Penis was inserted into the vagina, sperms were released, and on to conception.
Culturally, menarche was supposed to be celebratory. It was often depicted in TV drama, in which a mother cooks sticky rice with red beans when a daughter starts menstruating. A father comes home and awkwardly congratulates his daughter, who is either pale with blood loss and pain or is blushing with embarrassment.
The prevailing narrative on menstruation was that now that you are a woman and you can have babies, and that merits celebration. To me, menstruation was proof of adulthood, and I was excited about starting it soon. The pregnancy part was, however, a death sentence, so celebrating menarche felt like a repulsive custom. Also, if it was such a delightful thing, why was it so shameful that we had to keep it a secret among girls?
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