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Stigma Against Pubescence

“Strange” natural changes

At a certain point in all your lives, your body will undergo a series of changes.

These changes may seem unfamiliar or strange and maybe unwelcoming.

Nevertheless, it is important to understand the transformations your body faces.

Superstitions and stereotypes in India:

Periods, or menstruation, a factor of puberty in girls, have always been looked down upon by the Indian culture. Movies like the Pad-Man portray the superstitious and stereotypical tradition we find ourselves in. As per the stereotype, especially in rural areas, when a girl acquires her period, it is celebrated because of the belief that the girl is ready for fertility. However, after the day of the celebration, every time the menstruation cycle begins, the superstition claims the girl to be untouchable. She is given a separate mattress, separate utensils, etc. Yet, various parts of India have various perspectives.

Societal Stereotypes- Females

● You mustn’t have body hair

● You mustn’t engage in physical activities

● You must have curves

● Your shoulders must not be broad

● You should be more feminine

● Your voice mustn’t be “manly”

Societal Stereotypes- Males

● You are expected to be strong and muscular

● You mustn’t cry

● You must be smart

● Your voice must be “manly”

● You mustn’t do housework

Effect on Mental Health

Although Puberty takes place at unalike times for each person, there are times where Puberty hits too early or too late. Early Puberty is called Precocious Puberty and is when the body changes around the age of eight or nine for both sexes. Late Puberty is called Delayed Puberty and arrives after the age of sixteen. There is no specific age or time for Puberty, hence it is placed in ranges. This can indeed affect your mental health. There may be emotional disturbances within you or your family if Puberty takes place late or early. It may cause you to stress. Next, Puberty can also take a toll on your mental health when it comes to your peers/classmates. You may be afraid of being judged either because you are insecure about the changes that your body has gone through, or because your puberty hit early or late. This goes for boys and girls alike. Puberty also brings about behavioural problems because of the effect it has on an individual’s mental health.

Effect on Mental Health- Boys

You may have gone outside with your peers one day, only to be asked about your body and made fun of because of stereotypes. You may be insecure because of the amount of your body hair, how deep your voice is, or about your muscles. This can impact the way you behave and your general movements. It is essential to note that if you are being teased about your physical maturity, there is nothing that can measure it, and regardless of whether it arrived late or early, you are the only person that can judge you. You may be mocked for being too “feminine” or because of the shape of your body, but what really defines if you are too much or too less of anything? Think about that.

Effect on Mental Health- Girls

How often has someone called you out for the shape of your body? Or for the deepness of your voice? Or maybe for your body hair? Remember, none of that matters. You may be self-conscious, your behavior might take a toll, but like questioned earlier, what really defines if you are too much or too less of anything? Nothing. Ensure that you know there is nothing wrong with the changes your body has gone through during puberty because it is natural.

Societies “goal”

due to stereotypes set by the society about puberty. both genders face problems like lack of self-esteem, body DYSMORPHIA,eating disorders,discomfort with the new changes in their appearance.

ALL leading to depression.

Heading towards maturity

hitting puberty does not mean you're mature.The particular area of the brain that’s responsible for judgement and decision-making is still DEVELOPING.It's ok to make mistakes.

The changes your body has gone through maybe strange and perhaps you weren’t ready for them. Keep in mind that you can always reach out to the people around you, and research about your changes so that you know that you are not alone. Everyone goes through these transformations and it is only natural to be confused at first. Your physical maturity does not and should not define you. Remember that. You can get through this. It may be painful, but you can.

Written by: Writers at Just a Teen

Illustration by link : <a href="">People vector created by gstudioimagen -</a>

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