WHY MENSTRUATION A TABOO IN INDIA?

Menstruation is a phenomenon unique to girls. Menstruation is the natural part of the reproductive cycle in which blood from the uterus exits through the vagina. It is a natural process that first occurs in girls usually between the age of 11 and 14 years and is one of the indicators of the onset of puberty among them.

Taboos surrounding menstruation exclude women and girls from many aspects of social and cultural life. Some of these are helpful, but others have potentially harmful implications.

In India especially, I found it extremely ironic for it to be still a taboo in this time and era, even before I don’t understand why it was called a taboo and the reason for that I guess was, India where a girl child recognised as boon ( as GODDESS LAKSHMI when born) and giving birth is also considered boon given only to women despite that this unique process that make it possible for a women to have a child is considered a TABOO. Even with many scientific clarification of the process of this unique phenomenon, even though being this 21st century there still continuous myth regarding this adapted within the society.

SOME OF THEM ARE:

  • Women who menstruate have long been taught to keep silent about their periods. Young girls are taught from a young age that they have to manage it privately and discreetly.
  •  In Indian households including the literate ones, women are constantly reminded of the old-age traditions where “you are not allowed to touch anything holy, visit temples, cook or touch pickle.”
  • The taboo is so ingrained that women often have the “walk of shame” while carrying their sanitary pads wrapped in black plastic bags in their hands. 
  • Strangely enough, in some cultures, celebrations are held on the commencement of menstruation. And in the same cultures, the already menstruating women are looked down upon as impure and filthy.
  • It is not uncommon for boys to giggle and laugh during biology class when the topic of menstruation comes up.
  • BUT NOT IN EVERY CULTURE IT OCCURS- In Kashmiri Hindu culture, menstruating women are given special care considering the belief that they become weak due to blood loss. They do not consider them to be impure and rules like, a woman on her period can’t visit temples or can’t work don’t apply.

#BREAKTHEBLOODYTABOO

It’s high time that we normalize menstruation as just a healthy and positive part of the female life cycle. Menstrual periods are nothing to be ashamed of. Just like digestion, blood circulation and respiration are considered as natural and biological processes, both men and women should work towards making menstruation an important topic to talk about openly. This is the only way to combat its silence and break the stigma.

some changes I notice toward breaking this taboo for women in this society

  • The greatest changed I noticed was for the changed working environment toward women as the sanitary environment facilities given to them as employment care like washroom provided with sanitary pads and tampons etc.
  • knowledge about the first period to young girls now given at their school is compulsory not only to girls but to boys too given knowledge for it be known as normal topic and not as a taboo topic.
  • Advertisement about sanitary pads and tampons starts to make this topic to talk openly about.
  • Men buying the sanitary pads and tampons make it comfortable for women during their periods so that they can express their thoughts, sorrows, angers, happiness with them.