Someone has rightly said, no amount of cash or high-end luxuries can determine the largeness of the frame of mind. While we continue to progress with Statue of Unity and Mars Orbiter mission, the mentality of most of us is still limited to warding off the evil eye with brooms and flip-flops!
Some of the most shocking things that prove menstruation is a taboo in India are-
1.Menstruation is not painful, Menstruation taboos are
A menstrual taboo is any social taboo concerned with menstruation. In some societies it involves menstruation being perceived as unclean or embarrassing, extending even to the mention of menstruation both in public and in private. Most girls hide themselves out of fear or embarrassment on their way to a medical store, rather the majority of them cannot afford hygienic sanitary pads.
2.The topic of Menstruation in Hinduism
In the Hindu faith, women are prohibited from participating in normal life while menstruating. A woman must be “purified” before she is allowed to return to her family, and this has been considered a negative view of menstruation. This follows a description in the Puranas about Indra’s ‘Brahmahatya’ (an act of killing of the Brahmin demon Vritra) and the mitigation of the sin.
3.It all started because of Indra’s sin
Part of this sin was taken by women, and is considered to be active during the menstrual period; therefore menstruating women are forbidden from performing any rituals. Contact with the menstruating woman is also forbidden.
4.Celebrated yet outcasted
However, in some respects, Indians view menstruation, especially the first menstruation or menarche, as a positive aspect of a girl’s life. In South India and also in the Assamese community, girls who experience their menstrual period for the first time are given presents and celebrations to mark this special occasion, though women who are menstruating are not allowed in the household for a period of 3 nights.
5.A menstruating woman is impure, dirty or cursed
Yes, this is what a lot of people think. However, the truth is that a menstruating woman is going through a natural and healthy biological process. She is shedding the egg that can result in the conception of a new life in her womb. It is a sign of a mature woman capable of reproduction. Calling her dirty or cursed is dogmatic and superstitious.
6.A menstruating woman should not enter the temple
In olden days, when science had still not understood reproduction and the menstrual process, many myths and superstitions came about. They don’t hold any place today – menstruating woman is not “impure” – she is simply going through a normal bodily function. A menstruating woman will not “anger God” if she enters the temple.
7. A menstruating woman should not enter the kitchen
She can enter the kitchen on any given day, anything she touches will not “go bad” or rot. She can maintain hygiene and go about her day just like she does on any other day. Prohibiting her from the kitchen is discriminatory and actually in bad taste.
8.Nobody should touch a menstruating woman
This is again a discriminatory attitude. Touching a menstruating woman cannot harm you at all. Going through a natural hormonal cycle is not a negative thing. You cannot treat a woman, or a young girl like that – she and her bodily functions must be respected.
9. Virgins should not use tampons
There is a lot of preaching around the subject of virgins, without the understanding of what a ‘virgin’ really means. A virgin is someone who has not had sexual intercourse. The hymen of a woman could break even with sports or other activities, and the presence of a hymen is not a measure of a “virgin”. Using a tampon is not related to virginity at all.
10.Menstrual blood is magical
All blood, even that in men, has originated from menstrual blood. Menstrual blood in ancient times was considered highly powerful and potent. It was used in many rituals and especially in making magic potions. Even today, anything that is red in color used in ceremonies is apparently indicative of the ancient ritual of using menstrual blood.
11. Buying Sanitary Napkins is embarrassing
It is not just the women but even men find buying sanitary napkins for their women embarrassing! Seventy five percent women in India buy sanitary napkins wrapped in a brown bag or newspaper, because of the shame associated with menstruation. They also never ask a male member of the family to buy sanitary towels or tampons.
12.Shhh! don’t talk about it
It is one of those things you know, everyone knows about them but no one is allowed to talk about it. It is not uncommon for boys to giggle and laugh during biology class when the topic of menstruation comes up
Some women are not allowed to water plants or sleep in the same bed as their husbands while they are menstruating. I can bet a couple of thousand bucks on the fact that no harm can happen to the plants or the husband if they do!
14.Don’t go near the Tulsi Plant
The holy Tulsi or Basil plant is considered to be holy in Hinduism. Hence girls during their periods are not allowed to touch it. They cannot even let their shadows fall on the plant during this time. According to the myths the basil plant dies if you do so.
15. Don’t wash your hair
She cannot wash her hair for at least the first 2 days of her period. This is again something weird passed on from elder ladies in the family. May be years back when bath had to be taken in streams, it used to get inconvenient to wash body and hair when bleeding. But in today’s age, it is just one of those illogical things that need to be followed in the family.