“The red paan stains all over the temple walls didn’t bother anyone, but the red stains on her skirt did.”
Let’s finally talk about it.
Menstruation is a natural phenomenon but still a taboo in India. What is so unacceptable about periods that it’s even a disgrace to talk about it publicly? Menstruation stigma is considered as a social taboo that can’t be named and it’s something to be hidden and ashamed of. Why do periods need code words? Periods aren’t too gross, too weird or too inappropriate to talk. Why is it the natural phenomenon of getting pregnant celebrated but those days of every month of unbearable pain is gross?
These taboos are tagged along since ancient times. Religious views and teachings have referred to women as unclean and impure.
“go apart from women during the monthly course, do not approach them until they are clean” Quran 2:222,
“…in her menstrual impurity; she is unclean… whoever touches…shall be unclean and shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean until evening” Leviticus 15
Vedas and Upanishads in Hinduism says
“A woman on the first day of her courses is known as an outcast, in the second-day murderer of a Brahmin, on the third day she is known as a washerwoman and on the fourth day she gets purified!”
Scientifically, menstruation is caused due to the missed chance of being pregnant which is followed by shedding of blood every month. How does this confirm that a woman is impure as she menstruates? Women face restrictions during this time of the month as they aren’t allowed inside the temples, to enter the kitchen. People believe that if the female touched the food, it will be unhygienic and get contaminated. A study shows that while menstruating, a woman’s body emits a foul smell or ray which turns the preserved food bad. Therefore, we aren’t allowed to touch sour food like pickles. My grandmother still stops me from touching the irresistible jar of a pickle while I’m on my period. But a scientific study showed that menstruation doesn’t spoil food at all. It’s only the cultural norms and taboos which have labeled this phenomenon as a stigma.
When we were small, our parents taught us to keep the issue of menstruation personal and don’t let boys know about it. Girls used to have these panic-stricken faces when the teacher taught the phenomenon of menstruation in science class. The rustling sound of the sanitary napkins brought terror to us when we tried to take it out from our bags while boys sat a little far away. As I grew up, I only had one question- What’s it to be ashamed of? I’m proud to bleed. I’m proud that I’m brave enough to face the unbearable pain every month for 4 days without any complaint.
Listen up ladies, break the silence over menstruation. Don’t be afraid of saying the word. When you go up to the store to buy sanitary napkins, proudly put it on the billing counter.
It is way past time for the stigma behind periods to stop. We all women have it, it’s natural. There is no point to be ashamed of it. I refuse to stop talking about my period if it grosses you out because I menstruate and I am damn proud of it.
We aren’t impure when we bleed, we are pure.