The taboos attached with menstruation in India are numerous, extremely old, and absurdly ridiculous. Don’t enter temples, don’t touch the idols of gods and goddesses, don’t water sacred plants, and in many households, don’t even enter the kitchen. With time, the level of strictness with which these customs are practiced is varying in different places, but they undoubtedly exist in one form or the other. The most weird of them all is the “don’t touch pickles during your periods” theory. As nonsensical as this limitation sounds, not touching pickle bottles during their periods every month, is something that many women religiously follow even today. We should not be mistaken with the notion that these practices are prevalent only in rural India or households with illiterate women. Even highly educated women and girls still believe that they are impure when menstruating and if they touch a bottle of pickle even by mistake, the pickle will be ruined.
When I was told about this illogical belief, I decided it was outright foolish to follow something of this kind. The good thing was that it was not strictly “banned” in my family and even though most women in the house had never touched a pickle jar during their periods, they understood why my sisters and I did not see any logic behind this restriction. But the condition is not the same in all Indian families, and there is absolutely nobody to be blamed here. The only good thing in this situation is the we have it in our hands to begin the process of unlearning these taboos. If just one girl in every family realizes this and explains how unnecessary these practices are, to her mother, grandmother, aunt and all those who tell her not to do specific things every 5-7 days of the month; it will be the beginning to an end to the cycle. I understand that this is not as easily done as said. We see women in our families not praying, not entering kitchens and not doing many things for some days every month, and there is a very high chance that it gets ingrained in our thoughts and beliefs. But the change has to begin somewhere. Someone has to get up and begin breaking these rusted shackles and the biggest reason is just one: this whole thing is staggeringly ridiculous. Not touching a jar of pickle because your body is undergoing a natural biological process is nothing but laughable.
Whisper has taken one such initiative with the #TouchThePickle movement, which has been started with the aim to end period related taboos. If girls don’t let any force in the world stop them, why should some senseless “don’ts” hold them back. Join Whisper’s movement here and end the vicious chain.