Whenever we think of menstruation, the first thing which comes to our mind is pain and then follows embarrassment, impurity etc. Why are we so scared of menstruation which is so normal and plays an important part in a woman’s life. There are taboos associated with menstruation and women have to face many problems when they are already going through such severe pain; in some cases they have to follow rigid rules and customs when they are menstruating. Many of my friends used to discuss their experiences how they are subjected to restrictions in their daily lives simply because they are menstruating like she has to sleep on the floor, can’t enter into the kitchen or make food, have to wear separate clothes, eat in a separate plate, not to enter or touch idols of worship; they are not allowed to offer prayers or touch holy books. Not entering the “puja” room is a common restriction faced by many girls, no matter she is living in an urban or a rural area.
The underlying basis for the myth is not only in the cultural beliefs of impurity associated with menstruation. It is further believed that menstruating women/girls are unhygienic and unclean and hence the food they prepare or handle can get contaminated. Some strict dietary restrictions which is followed in most of the houses, even in mine too, such as sour food like curd, tamarind, and pickles are usually avoided by menstruating girls. It is believed that such food will disturb or stop the menstrual flow.
One of such incidents occurred long back but is still very clear in my mind, when i was in the 5th standard, a girl in my class got blood stain on a white skirt, when my class teacher saw it, she behaved so weird and threw her out of class and then sent her home. Being a woman her behavior was so rude and shocking. Even young boys make fun when they see a stain on a girl’s skirt. But later do they realize that just because of that blood, he will be a father one day.
Such taboos about menstruation present in many societies impact on girls’ and women’s emotional state, mentality and lifestyle and most importantly, health.
Here, I just want to express such taboos and the state of a girl menstruating. Let’s accept the god’s gift and embrace it as this is a token of nature’s gesture to all families so that the lineage continues when the woman gets pregnant.