Taboos that make blood boil BIZARRE MENSTRUATION BELIEFS ACROSS MYTHS/TABOOS THE WORLD IN INDIA
The scenes at Sabarimala temple, since it opened its doors early last month for prayers and rituals, have been agonising and outrageous. The holy Hindu site has been besieged by protests and violence, as women devotees attempt to exercise a basic right — that of equality — after the Supreme Court lifted the 90s ban that had disallowed them from the entering the premises. Right-wing and religious organisations have, so far, refused to allow the police to implement the court order, citing tradition and legends that, they say, need to be upheld to keep menstruating women away from the temple.
MY BODY, MY RULES! journalist
‘When I was a little girl (according to the elders, a “big girl” because I’d had my period), friends and their mothers told me I could no longer take holy communion while menstruating, and I accepted that without question. However, as I grew up, I realised God was more concerned about the purity of my mind, heart and soul than that of my body. Menstruation shouldn’t be grounds to deny a woman anything, be it the right to pray, play or work’
‘Our inability to predict or control the future, or helplessness towards events unfolding, made us come up with the concept of ‘God’. Gradually, it metamorphosed into religion. Having faith is a good thing, but that needn’t have anything to do with religion. In today’s times, everyone must be given the choice to do/not do what they believe in; religious practices were laid down by people like you and me; they needn’t be treated as written in stone’ If married, not allowed to sleep in the same bed as her husband
Can’t enter the kitchen or food will spoil Shouldn’t wash/cut hair the first two days Considered dirty, impure Girls in the age group of 15 to 24 in India not using a hygienic method of menstrual protection
gynaecologist, Cooper Hospital
‘Certain restrictions need to be done away now. Earlier, there were no sanitary pads; hence, menstruating women were asked to stay in a separate room. It had a rationale then but is conservative now. Its continued practice only ends up strengthening the myth that a menstruating woman is impure. When it comes to avoiding certain foods, however, there is science behind it. But the reason is hormonal imbalance some items cause, not religion’ Menstruating women in India having access to/using sanitary pads
You’ll get cramps if you drink cold beverages during your period. Having sex when on your period will kill your partner.You’re not supposed to go camping, lest the bears smell it from far away! If you’re a virgin, don’t use tampons to stay pure! You can perm your hair only after your first period. Once a girl/ woman starts menstruating, she is slapped across the face, so that she will have “beautiful red cheeks” for the rest of her life.Don’t touch flowers while menstruating; if you do, they’ll die quicker.Who doesn’t want clear skin! And apparently, you’ll get it if you wash your face with the first menstrual blood. You must wash your blood-soaked pad before throwing it away, or ghosts will come and haunt you!