Menstruation is a biological phenomenon which occurs to females. Sadly, it is surrounded with various taboos and myths which push women out of the socio-cultural life.
These taboos affect women’s emotional and mental state, lifestyle and health. They exist because of the age-old thought that menstruation is unclean and embarrassing. But now it’s high time we get over these myths and taboos. Some of these taboos are:
- Women are considered as unclean and impure during their periods.
This myth originates from the Vedic times and is often related to the Slaying of Vritas by Lord Indra. And it is believed that women have taken upon themselves a part of Indra’s guilt of killing a Brahmana. Hence, the menstrual flow.
2. In some Indian cultures, the first period of the girl is a matter of grand celebration.
Earlier, this celebration was important as it was the manner in which the society was informed that the girl has now become a woman and is ready for marriage and childbearing.
3. Women are socially trained to feel embarrassed of purchasing sanitary napkins.
Whenever we go out to purchase a pack of sanitary napkins, the shopkeeper makes it a point to cover it up in a newspaper as if it is something unnatural.
4. Not just women, but men also consider it embarrassing to purchase sanitary napkins for women.
5. Women are not allowed to enter temples during periods.
This myth exists due to the belief that Menstruating women are unclean and unholy. And since, these women are unclean they would ‘pollute’ holy places like temples. This is a form of gender inequality that restricts freedom to practice any religion for women.
6. In some cultures, women are treated as untouchables while on their periods.
They have to sleep on the floor. They cannot touch the earthen pot filled with water. They have to wash their own clothes.
7. Women are not allowed to enter the kitchen during their periods.
If they do the entire kitchen would have to be purified using Ganga Jal. Height of discrimination!
It is widely believed that if a menstruating woman waters plants, they would die.
In case the women are married, they are not allowed to sleep with their husbands while they are on their periods.
And finally, they are not allowed to touch pickles, because well, it will spoil.
This myth spurs from the notion that women emit some kind of foul odour during their periods which causes the pickles to spoil.
Menstruating girls and women are not unclean. They are healthy, natural and normal. It is an important biological cycle which helps in the creation of human life by the way! It is ridiculous that we are treated in a discriminatory manner for a natural process. These myths need to be busted to uplift women who are oppressed due to these taboos. Creating awareness is one of the few things we can do to spread the word and help women all over the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: This article is written by Manjulika Chellappan, our intern.