I am considered to be a rebel, disobedient girl in my family because of the ‘not so good’ views and arguments I have with my parents. Below is a conversation I recently had with my mother on menstrual taboo and discriminatory practices still followed in my family:
Me: Why menstruation is considered bad? As studied in biology, it is a natural process.
Mummy: It is the cleaning process of your body. It is the bad blood which is removed in this process (she thinks I still don’t know that it’s the broken egg :P) so it’s dirty and impure.
Me: So this why we are supposed to sleep separately, have different utensils, are not allowed to touch anything and anyone, and have separate sets of clothes? (trust me, this is still practiced at my home)
Mother: look everything has a reason, separate bed, and clothes, so that if it is strained, it is cleaned separately. Separate utensils because we do pooja everyday and offer bhog to god so we cannot mix those utensils. So after eating, we have to wash them, keep them separate and after they dry they can be taken inside the kitchen.
Me: so when they dry up, they become pure…Ummm weird logic. So because our body becomes impure, we are not allowed to enter the kitchen, temple, take part in pooja etc, right?
Mummy: yes, also at this time of the month, the body needs rest, because it bleeds, it pains a lot. Therefore by not entering the kitchen, they will be free from kitchen work and will have time to take rest.
Me: ok this is justified, but for this, labeling this process and body as impure is wrong. This is a beautiful process, because of which all of us are in this world. Then how can this be impure? The blood which comes out is the same blood which comes out when there is a cut in our finger or anywhere else. Then how come it is impure and dirty? Also as it is a natural process, how can a goddess/ god hate this? How can the creator not like her/his creation? Apart from this how justified it is to make young girls of 10 yrs wash their clothes, bed sheets, utensils at this time? How do they feel when they are asked to sit separately, are not allowed to touch anyone and anything? They will start hating this process instead of knowing its importance.
Mummy: this is how it is, do not argue. At least till the time you are in this home, you will have to follow all this.
This is how this conversation ended in the name of society and its traditions. Though I could not convince her to stop practicing all these, but I at least made my point. With this conversation, she understood that these practices do not make any sense and she was left speechless as she did not have any logic to support her argument.
Most of us know that these menstrual taboos do not have any base and logic behind. But we still follow them because we are afraid of raising our voice, we are afraid of the patriarchal society and mindset which has given birth to all this. The patriarchy does not want to celebrate womanhood and appreciate this process which is responsible for life in this world. But now is the time that we become aware, spread awareness and celebrate being a woman who bleeds.