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月经就要坦荡荡

月经就要坦荡荡



我们翻译这篇文章的理由



世界上有八亿女性的生活与月经——这一重要的生理过程——息息相关,然而在世界各地以及整个人类的文化史中,这一话题却被视作一种禁忌。人们用其他各种词汇代替“月经”,而女性也因这一独特的生理现象被羞辱和隔离。而在这一背景下,开发女性在“月经”期间所需的卫生用品以及提供特殊的经济支持,在大多数社会中也遭到了漠视。

本文便在介绍“月经”生物学知识的基础上,回顾了从古希腊到21世纪,从西方到东方,社会对于“月经”的污名化记载。作者还追溯女性所需的“卫生巾”、“卫生棉条”和并不为人熟知“月经杯”的发明历程,和当代一些贫困国家中女性因缺乏月经期间相应的卫生条件所正在经历的苦痛,讨论了女性在当代争取“月经”权益的急迫性以及过程中所面临的种种困境。

希望这一篇短文,不仅能够提供一些科学和历史的知识,更能让男性和女性开始正视和反思这个被忽略已久议题。

——罗玉池


👇


月经的禁忌


作者:Janie Hampton

译者:罗玉池

校对:刘小康

推荐阅读:朱小钊

策划:罗玉池 & 王雅婧


All around the world, and throughout history, women have been shamed, sequestered, and medicalised for bleeding regularly

整个人类的漫长历史中,世界各地的女性都因为周期性流血而蒙受羞辱、遭到隔离,甚至被当成病人对待。

Auntie Flo, on the rag, girl flu, back in the saddle, jam and bread, going to Oklahoma, howlin’ at the moon – these are just some of the many English expressions used to avoid the embarrassing subject of menstruation. The time has come to speak plainly and directly about this straightforward biological function of the human body. As you read this today, more than 800 million women worldwide are having a period. None of us would exist without it and yet it remains one of our most tenacious biological taboos. Writers and broadcasters happily discuss sex, digestion and blood circulation – all natural processes – while menstruation is still off-limits. 

“大姨妈”、“穿破布”、“得了女生流感”、“回到马鞍上”、“果酱蘸面包”、“去俄克拉荷马州”、“对月嚎叫”—— 以上都是英语中一些用来避讳“月经”这个令人尴尬话题的替代语。现在,是时候让我们开诚布公地讨论这个简单的人体生物功能了。在你阅读这篇文章的当下,全世界有超过八亿的女性正在经历月经,没有这一生理过程,就不会有今天的人类。然而,它却仍然是最忌讳的生理禁忌一。作家和广播员已经可以怡然大方地讨论性、消化和血液循环等自然生理过程,而对“月经”仍然绝口不提。


Few mammals menstruate – humans are unusual in this. While the hormones oestrogen and progesterone work together to precipitate ovulation, blood is directed to the uterus to make a spongey, nutritious endometrium (lining of the uterus) into which the fertilised ovum can embed and develop into a baby. If conception does not occur, the endometrium disintegrates, leaving the body through the vagina as a period. The thick endometria of humans means that, unlike dogs, we can’t just reabsorb the blood and tissue. So, five to 15 teaspoons of menstrual blood have to be dealt with over a few days. Buying and using menstrual products is inconvenient for most women, and disposing of all the pads and tampons is an increasing environmental problem for the world.

哺乳动物几乎都没有月经,但人类是个例外。当雌激素和孕酮共同刺激排卵时,血液会流向子宫,那里有富含营养的海绵状子宫内膜,受精卵在此着床,并发育为婴儿。如果没有受孕,子宫内膜就会开始脱落,通过阴道离开人体,这就是月经。人类的子宫内膜肥厚臃肿,人体也就不能像犬类那样重新吸收这些血液和组织。所以,女性需要通过数日来处理这75到225毫升茶匙的经血。但对大多数女性来说,购买和使用经期产品并不便利,而处理废弃卫生巾和卫生棉条也成为了日益严重的世界性环境问题。

译注:1 tablespoon=15 ml

 
Menstrual literature all states that a ‘normal’ menstrual cycle is 28 days – any shorter or longer, or otherwise irregular, is ‘abnormal’ even though the woman can still conceive. At school, I associated ‘regular’ periods with tidy girls with neat hair who always did their homework on time. My own irregular periods were obviously a symptom of my lazy and disorganised mind.
关于月经的文献都声称,“正常”的月经周期是28天——不论是过长还是过短,或是不规律,即使并不影响女性受孕,都是“非正常”的。在学生时代,我总是将“规律”的月经与头发干净、按时完成作业的乖女孩联系起来。于是,一旦我偎慵堕懒、头脑不清,我的经期就会不正常。
 
Women have more periods now than in the past, because until the advent of contraception and bottle-feeding, women were either pregnant or breastfeeding for much of their lives. Also, poor diet and hard work meant that until the 20th century, most girls did not reach the menarche – the first period – until 17 or 18 years. The average age of menarche has dropped over the past century to 12.5 years.
如今,女性比以往面临着更多的月经期。在避孕和人工喂养问世之前,女性的生活中有着更多的怀孕期和哺乳期。此外,直到20世纪,营养的匮乏和繁重的活计使得大部分女孩直到17或18岁才迎来月经初潮。但在过去的一百年间,平均初潮年龄已经下降到了12.5岁。
 
All kinds of taboos and myths surrounded menstruation. The ancient Greeks believed that if a girl’s menarche was late, blood would accumulate around her heart, and her uterus would wander around her body. This could produce erratic behaviour, from violent swearing to suicidal depression. Right into the 20th century, any inappropriate behaviour or poor mental health in women was termed hysteria, after the Greek word for ‘uterus’.
关于月经,有各种各样的忌讳和迷信。古希腊人相信,女孩的月经初潮如果姗姗来迟,血液就会在她心脏周围积聚,子宫则会在体内游走。这会导致一些反常的举动,比如,咒天骂地或产生自杀倾向的抑郁。直到20世纪,女性如有任何不合时宜的举动或是心理健康欠佳,就会被认为患上了“歇斯底里症”,而这个词就源自希腊语的“子宫”。


Pliny the Elder, who died in 79 CE, warned: ‘If a woman strips herself naked while she is menstruating, and walks round a field of wheat, the caterpillars, worms, beetles, and other vermin, will fall from off the ears of corn … bees will forsake their hives if touched by a menstruous woman … linen boiling in the cauldron will turn black, the edge of a razor will become blunted.’ But then he also believed that drinking the blood of a gladiator would cure epilepsy.
逝世于公元97年的老普林尼曾警示道:“月经期的女人如果赤裸身体,行走于麦田之上,那么毛毛虫、蠕虫、甲壳虫和其他害虫,都会从玉米穗中掉落……一旦被经期的女性触及,蜜蜂就会弃巢而去……锅中沸煮的细麻也会变黑,刀刃则会变钝。”但他同时也相信,饮用角斗士的鲜血则可以治愈癫痫。
 
Abbess Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) wrote that leprosy – which she believed was caused by either lust or intemperance – could be cured by washing in the ‘nourishing properties of menstrual blood … as much as he can get’. In medieval times, it was believed that if a man’s penis touched menstrual blood, it would burn up, and any child conceived during menstruation would be possessed by the devil, deformed, or red-haired. A woman with a heavy menstrual flow was advised to bind the hair from an animal’s head onto a young tree. If this failed, she could drink comfrey or nettle tea, while reciting numerical formulae; or she could find a toad, burn it dry, and put its ashes in a pouch around her waist.
宾根女修道院院长希尔德加德(1098-1179)写道,她认为麻风病是由放荡或纵欲引起的,可以用大量“具有滋补作用的经血”来洗浴。在中世纪,人们也普遍认为,男子的阴茎触碰到经血就会燃烧起来;在经期怀上的婴孩都会遭到恶魔纠缠、天生残疾或是一头红发;如果女子经期出血过多,人们就会建议她从动物头上取下毛发,再绑到一棵小树上。这种方法要是不奏效,她可以一边喝着紫草花或是荨麻草泡的茶,一边背诵数学公式;或者找只癞蛤蟆烧干,然后将它的骨灰放进小袋,别在自己腰间。
 
Such was the taboo against the subject, that the historian Laura Klosterman Kidd of Iowa State University found not a single direct reference to menstruation in the 19th-century diaries, letters or inventories of wagon-trains of North American pioneer women. In 1878, letters to the British Medical Journal claimed that menstruating women would cause bacon to putrefy, and in 1916 the medical registrar Sir Raymond Crawford wrote that farmers still believed that menstruating women would prevent milk from turning to butter, or hams to cure. The paediatrician Béla Schick (1877-1967) believed that menstruating women released plant-destroying substances called ‘menotoxins’ through their skin. In 1919, he ‘proved’ it by asking women to arrange cut flowers. Sure enough, the flowers arranged by menstruating women died sooner. This claim was repeated in The Lancet in 1974, with the addition that a permanent wave would not ‘take’ to a woman’s hair during menstruation. As recently as 1980, I was told by a farmer’s wife in Shropshire that if a menstruating woman touched meat it would go rancid. When I queried this, she asked: ‘Have you ever seen a female butcher?’ It was true, I had not.
正是因为对这个话题的忌讳,爱荷华州大学的历史学家劳拉·克劳斯特曼·基德在19世纪北美女性拓荒者的日记、信件和货车清单中都没有找到任何关于经期的直接表述。1878年,一些寄往《英国医学期刊》的信件声称经期女性会导致腌肉腐坏。而在1916年,医师雷蒙德·克劳福德爵士写道,农民仍旧认为经期女性会妨碍提炼黄油与熏制火腿。儿科医生贝拉·希克(1877-1967)也相信,经期女性的皮肤会释放一种摧毁植被的物质,他称其为“经毒素”,甚至还于1919年通过征集女性去整理采摘下来的鲜花“证实”了自己的猜想。毋庸置疑,这些由经期女性整理的鲜花很快就枯萎了。这一观点在1974年的《柳叶刀》上再次被人提出,并补充了一项新的发现:经期女性烫发烫不出“大波浪”。甚至到了1980年,什罗普郡的一个农妇还告诉我,经期女性碰过的肉会变酸。我对此表示质疑时,她反问道:“难道你见过女屠夫?”这倒被她说中了,我的确没见过。
 
In 1946, Walt Disney premiered the animated educational film The Story of Menstruation, which was shown to more than 100 million high-school students across the United States. The first film ever to use the word ‘vagina’, it nevertheless managed to avoid any mention of sex or reproduction. Despite the narrator Gloria Blondell encouraging girls to bathe, ride a horse and dance while on their periods, the emphasis on sanitation reinforced the idea that menstruation was a hygienic crisis.
1946年,迪斯尼率先推出了教育动画电影《月经的故事》,全美有超过一亿的高中生观看了这部电影。这是首部提及“阴道”一词的电影。尽管如此,它仍旧尽力避免提及“性”和“生殖”。解说员格洛里亚·布隆代尔虽然鼓励女性在经期洗浴、骑马和跳舞,但她对于“清洁”的强调却强化了“月经是一场卫生危机”的观点。
 
Many Chinese sports fans did not know it was possible for a menstruating woman to swim
许多中国体育迷并不知晓,经期的女性是可以游泳的
 
Long before the connection between menstruation and fertility was understood, people noticed that periods occur about as often as the Moon waxes and wanes. The Yurok of California believed that if a woman’s menstruation failed to synchronise with the Moon, or with her fellow women, she could balance herself ‘by sitting in the moonlight and talking to the Moon’. The synchronisation of periods among women who live together, such as in prisons, convents and boarding schools, emerged again in 1971 in a study from the psychologist Martha McClintock at Harvard indicating that women’s bodies co-operate in the face of male domination. But in 2016, the medical anthropologist Alexandra Alvergne at the University of Oxford explained that the idea was biased by contemporary feminist theory, and did not stand up to the statistics of chance – an example of biased research influenced by fashion.
早在认识到月经和生育之间的关系之前,人们就注意到月经与月亮盈亏的周期相近。加利福尼亚州的印第安人认为,女子的经期如果未能与月相或是女性同伴保持一致,可以“坐在月光下,与月神交流”,以此调理月经周期。1971年,哈佛大学心理学家玛莎·麦克林托克在其研究中也再次提出,在监狱、修道院和寄宿学校等场所中,住在一起的女性的生理周期是同步的;并且她还认为,这是由于在面对男性的统治时,女性的身体会相互配合。但在2016年,牛津大学的医学人类学家亚历山大·阿尔维涅解释说,此种观点受到了彼时女性主义理论倾向的影响,并没有统计学上的数据支撑,这是一个受潮流影响的偏见研究的典例。
译注:Yurok地区为印第安部族的保留区。
 
The US children’s author Judy Blume was reputedly the first novelist to mention periods in Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret (1970). Keeping up with the times, Margaret’s sanitary-towel belt has been replaced in recent editions with a simple pad. It was not until 1985 that the word ‘period’ was used in a television commercial; and in 2010, US TV networks banned a tampon commercial from using the word ‘vagina’ or even ‘down there’. To this day, advertisers use a mysterious blue liquid to demonstrate the absorbency of sanitary towels. When the Canadian poet Rupi Kaur posted a picture of herself in 2015 fully clothed but with a spot of blood on her trousers, it was removed by Instagram, twice. Menstrual blood is still referred to as ‘fluid’ or ‘flow’. ‘Blood is fine in horror films, but somehow becomes taboo when it’s pouring from vaginas,’ wrote Michele Hanson recently in The Guardian.
据说美国儿童作家朱迪·布鲁姆是第一个提及月经的小说家,她曾出版了《神啊,你在吗?我叫玛格丽特》(1970)一书。在此书的最新版本中,玛格丽特的“卫生毛巾带”也与时俱进地替换成了简单的护垫。直到1985年,“月经”一词才在电视广告中被使用;而在2010年,美国电视网络仍旧禁止卫生棉条广告中使用“阴道”乃至“下体”之类的词。直至今天,广告商仍习惯选择使用神秘的蓝色液体来演示卫生棉的吸收能力。2015年,加拿大诗人卢比·卡乌尔在Instagram上发布了张自己的照片,照片中她衣衫整齐。只是因为裤子上沾有一点血渍,这张照片便遭到管理员两次删除。人们仍旧用“液体”或是“潮水”来指代经血。“在恐怖电影中,血液都无伤大雅,但不知为何,当它从阴道中流出,就成了禁忌。”米切尔·汉森最近在《卫报》上刊文道。
 
Attitudes are changing, but slowly. At the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the Chinese Olympian swimmer Fu Yuanhui amazed the media by admitting that she was having a period. Many Chinese sports fans did not know it was possible for a menstruating woman to swim. But in 2017, the BBC reinforced the taboo about periods when Evan Davis, the television presenter of Dragon’s Den, questioned why anyone would launch a sanitary product mail-order business ‘that only half the population will ever use’.
人们的态度的确正在转变,但彻底端正观念还有很长的路要走。在2016年里约奥运会上,中国运动员傅园慧在接受采访时承认自己处于月经期,这震惊了中国舆论界。许多中国体育迷并不知道,原来女性是可以在经期游泳的。但在2017年,BBC强化了人们关于月经的忌讳。《龙穴》的主持人埃文·戴维斯质疑,为什么会有人推出“只有一半人口有使用需求”的卫生用品邮购业务。

注:《龙穴》是BBC播出的一档商业投资真人秀节目。

 
The Book of Leviticus states that menstruating women are unclean and so is anything they touch, including their husbands. Such negative attitudes towards menstruation reinforced the Christian Church’s general suspicion about women. Catholic doctrine argued that Eve was to blame for the eviction from Eden, and menstruation and its pains were a reminder of Eve’s sin. Even today, a period is still called ‘the curse’ by many people. Until 1916, Roman Catholic women were forbidden to receive holy communion while menstruating. In Eastern Orthodox churches, menstruating women are still expected to refrain from receiving communion and remain outside the building. In Nepal, the Hindu practice chaupadi – sending menstruating women to special secluded mud huts called goths – was banned in 2005, but continues in remote areas. In Japan, Shinto women are barred from temples during menstruation, and prohibited from climbing certain sacred mountains.
《利未记》声称,经期中的女性,以及她们所触碰过的一切,甚至包括她们的丈夫在内,都是“不洁”的。这些针对月经的负面态度强化了基督教会对于女性的普遍怀疑。天主教教义认为夏娃是亚当被逐出伊甸园的罪魁祸首,而月经和痛经就是用来提醒人们夏娃所犯下的罪孽。时至今日,“月经”仍被许多人称为“诅咒”。直到1916年,罗马天主教仍然禁止女性在月经期间接受圣餐。在东正教会,女性在经期也仍被要求避免接受圣餐,并且不允许进入教堂。在尼泊尔,印度教奉行“月经隐居”——将经期中的女性送往一个被称为“goths”的隐蔽泥屋。这种行为于2005年被禁止,但仍在许多偏远地区存续。在日本,信奉神道教的女性在月经期间也禁止进入神庙和攀爬特定的神山。
注:《利未记》是《旧约全书》中的第一卷。
 
In a comment piece for The Tablet Catholic magazine in 2016, the British theologian Carmody Grey wrote: ‘If any other event caused me or anyone that amount of pain, disruption and blood loss, it would feature largely in our social interactions … Quite simply, women bleed and suffer so that others can live … Quite literally, shedding blood for the life of humanity is just what women do.’
2016年,《天主教文摘》上的一篇评论文章中,英国神学家卡默迪·格雷写道:“如果有什么事会给我和其他任何人招致痛苦、破坏和流血,那么将很大程度上影响我们的社交生活……显然,女性流血和经历痛苦就是为了其他人能够生存……再直白点,为全人类的生命流血,正是女性的职责所在。
 
How have women in history managed their periods? There is no evidence, other than repetition of the stories on websites, that ancient Egyptian women used tampons made from softened papyrus, or that the Greeks used lint wrapped around bits of wood. ‘Polluted rags’, as the prophet Isaiah called them, or ‘clouts’ as they were termed in 17th-century England, were made from fabric, hemp or sphagnum moss. Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) owned three black silk girdles to keep in place her linen ‘vallopes of fine hollande cloth’. A pair of ‘knickers’ or ‘pantaloons’, one for each leg, was held up with tape around the waist. This allowed for quick access and less soiling. My grandmother, born in 1886, used linen rags which were washed by hand by her maid.
历史上,女性是怎样处理她们的经期事宜的呢?除了互联网上流传的轶闻,我们没有更多的信息。相传,古埃及的女性使用的卫生棉条是由软化后的莎草纸制成,而古希腊人的卫生棉则由缠绕在小块木头上的棉绒制成。还有一些地区的人使用织物、大麻或泥炭藓来制作卫生用品,以赛亚先知称之为“受玷污的破布”,17世纪的英格兰人则呼之为“碎布头”。英国女王伊丽莎白一世(1533-1603)便拥有三根黑色的丝绸腰带,用来固定她用荷兰布做成的亚麻大吊带。这是一种“灯笼裤”或是“男士马裤”,每条裤腿都要用带子缠在腰上。这种设计让穿着更加便捷,又更不容易弄脏衣物。至于我的祖母,她生于1886年,而她经期所使用的亚麻布,是由她的女仆手洗的。
注:荷兰布可以用于制作绝缘布。
 
In less-developed countries, menstrual cloths are still looped over a string around the waist and after washing are dried under beds, or left hanging under the skirt. Jennifer Phiri, a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Malawi described to me her menstrual care: 
在欠发达国家,经期中的女性仍习惯用织物缠在腰间,清洗后在床下晾干,或是挂在裙子下。詹妮弗·菲丽,一个正在上学的16岁马拉维女孩儿向我如是描述她的经期护理情况:
 

All what my mum could afford was just two pieces of a torn cloth. It wasn’t good at all ’cause every time I finish I could actually see some sores between my upper legs and were so much painful. When having my menstruation, I could no longer dance, run, or even walk fast, and sometimes I could stain my clothes. I could hardly [rarely] go to school, so just stay at home until I finish. I could badly smell because the cloth was in contact with air.

妈妈能够给我的只有两片破布。这一点都不好用,因为每次月经结束我的大腿内侧就会长褥疮,特别疼。月经来的时候,我没法跳舞、跑步甚至是走快点,有时候衣服还会被弄脏。我基本上也不能去学校上课,只能待在家里等着月经结束。这些破布暴露在空气中,让我闻起来也很臭。

 
Southalls of Birmingham advertised disposable pads in 1888, suitable for ‘Ladies Travelling by Land and Sea’, and Lister’s Towels created by Johnson & Johnson in the US were available from 1896. During the First World War, French nurses discovered that ‘Cellu-cotton’ field bandages for dressing wounds absorbed menstrual blood well, and could be burned after use. During the Second World War, William Morris, the British car manufacturer, paid for disposable sanitary pads for all the women in the British armed forces. They were called ‘Nuffield’s Nifties’. The sanitary pad made of cotton wool covered in cotton gauze was held in place with an elastic belt round the waist. After use, it was placed in a paper bag, often illustrated with a lady in a crinoline. Until the 1970s, ladies’ public lavatories smelt of burning cotton wool from a metal incinerator, or the U-bend was blocked with used pads.
1888年,伯明翰的索斯豪尔公司打出一次性卫生巾的广告,称其是为“在陆地和海洋上畅游的女士们”量身定做的;而从1896年开始,美国强生公司推出了“李施德林卫生巾”。一战期间,法国护士发现,包扎伤口所用绷带中的纤维棉能够很好地吸收经血,并能在使用后焚烧处理。二战期间,英国汽车制造商威廉·莫里斯出资为英国军队中的所有女性购买了一次性卫生巾,后来人们戏称这些卫生巾为“纳菲尔德的小玩意”。这种卫生巾由棉绒制成,上面盖着层纱布,最后用松紧带系在腰部;使用后,再把它放进画有衬裙女士的纸袋中丢弃。直到20世纪70年代,公共女厕所还散发着金属焚烧炉焚烧棉花的气味,厕所的U型下水道也常常被用过的卫生巾堵住。
注:The earliest sanitary napkins this Company sold were called “Sanitary Napkins for Ladies” and “Lister’s Towels.” The advertisements said “Lister’s Towels, Sanitary for Ladies.”
补充阅读:https://www.kilmerhouse.com/2008/02/the-product-that-dared-not-speak-its-name
 
In 1929, the osteopath Earle Haas in Denver invented the internal ‘catamenial device’, using two cardboard tubes and cotton wool compressed into a tampon (French for ‘plug’, originally a medical term for a dressing jammed into a wound). Four years later, he sold the patent for Tampax for $32,000 to Gertrude Tendrich who made tampons with a sewing machine and an air compressor. In 1980, the material for tampons was changed from cotton wool to the more absorbent cellulose, which encouraged women to leave them in longer. Soon, fatal cases of toxic shock syndrome (TSS) were reported. As soon as manufactures reverted to the original material, the incidence of menstrual TSS decreased.
1929年,丹佛的整骨医生厄尔·哈斯用两个硬纸板管和棉绒压缩制成“止血棉条”(法语中的“塞入”,原为医学用语,指塞入创口的敷料),发明了用于体内的“月经设备”。四年后,他以32000美元价格,将丹碧丝卫生棉条的专利卖给了格特鲁德·瑞安,后者用缝纫机和空气压缩机改进了卫生棉条。1980年,制造卫生棉条的材料由棉绒转变成了更具吸水性的纤维素,女性可以将卫生棉条在体内放置更长时间。但不久之后,致命的中毒性休克综合征(TSS)案例被媒体曝光。后来,生产商恢复使用原来的材料,由此引发的TSS病例也立即减少了。
 
In 1969, the same year that Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon, a glue was invented that held sanitary pads onto knickers, without sanitary belts. Then ‘wings’ and plastic backing were introduced to reduce leaking; and pads were made with more absorbent, but less biodegradable, petroleum-based polyacrylate superabsorbent gels.
1969年,也就是尼尔·阿姆斯特朗登月的同一年,一种新型胶水问世了。它可以把卫生巾粘在内裤上,不再需要月经带。“护翼”和塑料衬垫也在随后被引入,以减少经血的泄漏;护垫的材料则更新为吸水性更强、却更难降解的石化产品:聚丙烯酸高吸水性树脂凝胶。
 
Girls in Malawi miss more school days a month due to menstruation than for malaria
马拉维女孩每月因月经而缺课的天数比因疟疾缺课的天数还多

Each fertile woman uses about 250 pads or tampons each year, so in the UK there are 3,750 million to dispose of, plus about 300 million plastic bags or boxes. Research is needed into the amount of energy used to grow the cotton and wood, then manufacture the products, transport and finally dispose of them. Disposable pads and tampons take up to 800 years to decompose.
每位育龄女性每年会使用大约250张卫生巾或卫生棉条。在英国,每年就有37.5亿份此类垃圾待处理,以及3亿个塑料袋或塑料盒,这还不包括种植棉花和木材的消耗,更不要说制造、运输以及最终处理它们所耗费的能量。而一次性卫生巾和卫生棉条的自然降解需要花上800年。
 
Only recently has an environmentally friendly method been invented, and by a woman. The menstrual cup is made of soft silicone and placed inside the vagina where it collects the blood, and is removed and washed out every few hours. At the end of each period, it is boiled in water, ready for the next period. Each cup lasts for up to 10 years, and so avoids the waste from the 2,500 pads or tampons that would be used in that time. ‘Few people have heard of menstrual cups because there’s little profit in a product you only buy once every 10 years,’ explains Mandu Reid, the British founder of the Cup Effect. ‘Many people said that African women wouldn’t use them because they are “uncultural”. But with sensitive training, we found that the women and schoolgirls we met were, almost unanimously, keen to try them.’ Menstrual cups are increasingly common in the US and Europe, and used by Peace Corps volunteers and schoolgirls in Uganda, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania.
直到最近,有一位女性才发明了一种更为环保的经期护理方式——月经杯。月经杯由柔软的硅胶制成,女性可以将其放置在阴道内收集血液,每隔几个小时取出清洗一次。每次月经结束的时候,再将月经杯放在水中煮沸,以备下次使用。每个杯子的使用年限长达10年,由此就能避免在此期间产生2500张卫生巾或卫生棉条的垃圾。“很少有人听过月经杯,因为10年才需要购买一次的商品,几乎是无利可图的。”“月经杯效用”的英国创始人曼度·里德这样解释。“许多人说,非洲女性不会使用这些,因为她们‘不开化’。但经过谨慎地指导,我们发现,我们遇到的女性和女学生都无一例外地想要尝试。” 月经杯在美国和欧洲已经逐渐普及,而乌干达、马拉维、肯尼亚和坦桑尼亚的和平队志愿者和女学生也开始广泛使用。
 
Unfortunately, millions of women still suffer every month from practical, economic and cultural barriers to menstruation. All over the world, they have to bathe separately from their families, are forbidden to cook, meet their friends or share a bed with their husbands. In Malawi, many people still believe that menstruation is an illness that will cause infertility or even death to a husband. Menstruating women must not plant seeds, breastfeed or dry their menstrual cloths outside for fear of witchcraft against them. More than half of all girls in Malawi miss one to two hours of school while they’re on their periods, and 15 per cent miss more than three days per term – which is more than the absence due to malaria. With a year’s supply of sanitary pads costing 15 per cent of the average annual income of $340, 95 per cent of the 4 million women menstruating in Malawi use rags, leaves or grass. The Malawi Girl Guides Association now includes menstrual education in their activities, giving schoolgirls and refugees a menstrual cup each and a metal pan for sterilising them.
不幸的是,不论是在现实生活中还是在经济、文化层面,仍有数百万妇女每个月都遭受着月经所带来的问题。在世界各地,许多女性必须与家人分开洗澡,禁止做饭,不能与朋友聚会,甚至不能与丈夫同床共枕。在马拉维,许多人仍然认为月经是种疾病,会导致不育,甚至会使丈夫死亡。经期中的女性不可在田间播种,不可哺乳,也不可在室外晾晒带有经血的衣服,人们惧怕因此招致厄运。在马拉维,超过一半的女孩因为经期缺席一到两个小时的课堂学习,其中15%的女孩每学期缺课时间超过三天——这比疟疾导致的旷课还要多。当地的平均年收入为340美元,而卫生巾每年的开销占比高达15%。这使得马拉维的400万经期妇女中间,有95%的人使用破布、树叶或草充当卫生巾。现在,马拉维女童子军协会将经期教育纳入了她们中,向每位女学生和难民提供一个月经杯和一个用于消毒的金属锅。
 
When the UK joined the European Economic Community in 1973, male politicians agreed that menstrual products were ‘non-essential items’, unlike babies’ diapers, men’s razors, helicopters or crocodile steaks, all of which are tax-exempt. In 2014, Laura Coryton started a British petition calling for the abolition of tax on sanitary products. ‘Periods are no luxury. You can “opt-in” to extravagance. You cannot choose to menstruate,’ she wrote. After 320,086 UK citizens signed the ‘End Tampon Tax Campaign’, the then prime minister David Cameron announced that the British government would abolish ‘tampon tax’. 
当英国于1973年加入欧洲经济共同体时,男性政客们一致认为,不同于婴儿的尿布、男士的剃须刀、直升机或是鳄鱼肉排这些免税商品,月经相关产品是“非必需商品”,因此不能免税。2014年,劳拉·柯瑞顿向英国政府发起请愿,要求废除征收卫生产品税。“经期不是奢侈品,你可以‘选择’消费奢侈品,但却不能选择是否拥有月经,”她这样写道。320086人签署了“终止卫生棉条税运动”,时任首相的大卫·卡梅隆最终宣布英国政府将会废除“卫生棉条税”。
 
However, in February 2017, Coryton wrote: ‘Following Brexit complications, this amendment will be implemented by April 2018 at the very latest. That sucks.’ She then launched the organisation Period Watch to ensure that the tax is removed and reduce the period taboo. In Australia, there is the ‘Drop It Coz It’s Rot’ campaign against the 10 per cent tampon tax. In the US, only 11 states have no tax, while California generates $20 million a year from menstruating women.
然而,在2017年2月,柯瑞顿写道:“由于脱欧形势复杂,废除税收的修正案最迟将于2018年4月才执行,这太糟糕了。”随后她发起了“守望月经”组织,以确保卫生棉条税得以免除,并减少关于月经的禁忌。在澳大利亚,一个名为“撤销恶税”的运动也应运而生,旨在废除百分之十的卫生棉条税。在美国,只有11个州没有向月经用品征税,事实上,加州每年都能从经期妇女身上赚取2000万美元的税收。
 
In 2014, the United Nations declared 28 May as an annual Menstrual Hygiene Day. The date was chosen because the average menstrual period lasts five days, and happens every 28 days. But why did the UN add the word ‘hygiene’? Was it because even in the 21st century, menstruation is considered ‘unclean’? I prefer to call it World Menstrual Day. It is now celebrated by 380 partner organisations all over the world. There are hundreds ofwebsites and Facebook groups dedicated to periods, such as Menstrual Matters, Period Positive, The Bloody Waste! and Ragtime Revolution.
2014年,联合国宣布将每年的5月28日设为“经期卫生日”。选择这一日期是因为,月经平均会持续5天,周期则是28天。但为什么联合国要加上“卫生”一词呢?难道即便在21世纪,月经仍被视为“不洁净”的吗?我更乐于称其为“世界月经日”。目前,全世界有380个成员组织庆祝这一节日。致力于为女性月经权益不懈努力的网站和脸书社群也数以百计,诸如“别小看月经”、“快乐经期”、“血腥废弃物!”以及“月经革命”。
 
The great paradox of menstruation is that it can be both proof of womanhood and fertility, and also a source of shame and inconvenience. In recent years, most women’s lives have improved economically, politically and socially. But even though we’re now more comfortable physically during menstruation, we’re still embarrassed to talk about this normal part of our lives. I regret that I’m now too old to announce on a crowded train: ‘I’m having a heavy period. Is anyone going to offer me their seat?’
关于月经最大的矛盾在于,它既是女性特征和生育能力的证明,却也是羞耻和不便的来源。近年来,大多数女性的生活在经济、政治和社会方面都有所改善,但是,即使我们现在在月经期间拥有了更多生理上的舒适,我们仍然羞于谈论我们生活中这个再寻常不过的部分。遗憾的是,我个人已经不再年轻,不能在拥挤的火车上大声宣言:“我来月经来得很厉害,有人愿意给我让座吗?


原文链接:

https://aeon.co/essays/throughout-history-and-still-today-women-are-shamed-for-menstruating


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点评


关于月经的艺术文学作品数不胜数。在西方,《圣经·旧约》中曾写道:“女人行经,必污秽七天;凡摸她的,必不洁净到晚上。女人在污秽之中,凡她所躺的物件,都为不洁净,所坐的物件,也都不洁净;在女人的床上或在她坐的物上,若有其他物件,一人摸了,也必不洁净到晚上。”在人类学巨作《金枝》中,也有专门一节讲述了“月经和怀孕时期妇女的禁忌”。
在中国,严歌苓在《金陵十三钗》中写道:“我姨妈是被自己的初潮惊醒的……她沿着昏暗的走廊往厕所跑去,以为那股浓浑的血腥气都来自她十四岁的身体……这时我姨妈只知一种极致的耻辱,就是那注定的女性经血,她朦胧懂得由此她成了引发各种淫邪事物的肉体,并且,这肉体将毫不加区分地为一切淫邪提供沃土与温床,任他们植根发芽,结出后果。”民国时期的作家曹聚仁曾将月经与女权运动相联系:“自五四运动以来,妇女运动喊得振天价响,丝毫没有效果,人不解其故。只要看月经仍保持神秘的意义,即不到城隆庙看密司拜菩萨,已可断定妇女运动的命运了!”
2018 年的印度电影《护垫侠》描述了两名勇敢的(经期)女性在数百万名女性示威者的支持下,由警察护送,终于进入了神庙。
月经这一特殊的生理体验占据了女性生命中大量的时间,但很多女性在各种月经禁忌中反复体会对于自己身体的羞耻乃至身为女性的羞耻,月经禁忌也强化了女性倍受歧视的现状,成为了当今社会厌女症的一个重要组成部分。好在一直以来,来自不同领域的专业人士其实都在辛勤耕耘,希望能普及月经文化。比如,德国的一家NGO组织将每年的5月28日“国际经期卫生日”,希望能够借此引起公众对于月经和经期健康、女性卫生健康状况等议题的重视。有一对英国夫妇创建了一间“月经博物馆”,收藏了与月经有关的各种商业产品与艺术作品;高洁丝公司在纽约第五大道开设了一家经期商店等等。改变对月经的态度,改善女性在经期的生活状况,对于整个世界都有着深刻的意义,才能动摇“厌女症”。


2019年8月7日

朱小钊


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