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Tell Us: What's Taboo In Global Health And Development?

Ryan McVay
Getty Images

Shhh, we just can't talk about that.

Omigosh: We. Just. Don't. Do. That.

If you haven't guessed, we're talking about taboos.

Taboos are part of every culture, every family, every circle of friends.

We're planning to explore taboos in an upcoming series of stories. We'd like to hear from our audience about taboos they've encountered in the world of global health and development.

So tell us: What global taboos should we consider? Share your ideas in the tool below.

Our submission deadline has passed. Thanks for participating!

Sometimes taboos are a good thing: The taboo on incest, for example. Sometimes they do harm: You can't address an issue like mental illness if you can't even talk about it.

Sometimes a taboo may seem quirky to an outsider — in some parts of India, it's taboo to take a snakebite victim out through the door of the house. But it's taken quite seriously in that society.

And some taboos, let's face it, are kind of funny. No, no, we must not pass gas in public. Or even use that word that rhymes with "dart."

Taboos aren't just reflective of local culture. Researchers and advocates have their taboos as well — like menstruation, for example.

"It was viewed as more of a feminist issue or just something that women should think about in the privacy of their own home, behind closed doors," explains activist Elynn Watler. Although that's changing, as we explained in our story, "People Are Finally Talking About The Thing Nobody Wants To Talk About."

Readers, submit your suggestions in the tool above. What are some of the taboo subjects in global health and development that would be interesting to explore?

We'd like to hear from you by July 15 and will consider your ideas for possible radio or blog posts in the series.

And remember ... nothing is taboo!

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Marc Silver
Marc Silver, who edits NPR's global health blog, has been a reporter and editor for the Baltimore Jewish Times, U.S. News & World Report and National Geographic. He is the author of Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) During Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond and co-author, with his daughter, Maya Silver, of My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice From Real-Life Teens. The NPR story he co-wrote with Rebecca Davis and Viola Kosome -- 'No Sex For Fish' — won a Sigma Delta Chi award for online reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists.