It’s often common to ask a newly-wed bride, “When are you giving the good news?” But for this ‘good news’, there is also a restriction on any talk on the nature of a woman’s body and the issues it faces. That is why there are still many misconceptions about ‘those days’.
There are thousands of ‘signs’ for periods because it is embarrassing to take its name directly. In a number of countries, menstruating women are forced to isolate themselves from the family during their periods. A significant number of women in countries like India still believe that women with periods are considered sick.
For a healthy, productive and respectable life, women should definitely have access to things like water, soap, toilets and sanitary pads during their periods. After all, this is an important part of their lives. Yet they do not even get these basic facilities.
Here are a few common misconceptions about periods:
Do not wash hair: Often girls are told that they should not wash hair for the first two days. There is no basis for this advice. In contrast, bathing in hot water can relieve the pain of periods.
Avoiding a bath: At the time when these norms were made, this may perhaps have been plausible due to the condition of sanitation/hygiene, etc. But now, with advances in science and with hygienic options available, this seems to have no foundation. There is no problem with women bathing. In fact, they can even swim by putting on a tampon.
Do not water the plants: For a few days into their periods, women are portrayed as being satanic, who can even hurt plants by touching them. No, basil or any other plant is not going to fade away if a menstruating woman waters them.
Do not touch the pickle: This one’s akin to a small child being told that a ghost will haunt them if they do not listen to their elders. Hormones may be more active during periods, but the fear that pickles may mess up the balance of such women during ‘that time’ is completely baseless.
No sex: In the early days of the periods, the body feels weak, so it is necessary to rest. But while there may be some concerns about women’s health and well being behind this norm, there’s no reason why women can’t have sex during periods either.
Out of the kitchen: In places where people live in large families, this norm is still prevalent.
Out of house: This is on a wholly different level as compared to the previous one, where women are not allowed to sleep on their beds or even in their rooms. While this may ensure that bedsheets and mattresses are not stained, what about the women? Who’s to take care of their plight?
Temple? Oh my god!: When girls first experience their period, this is one of the foremost instructions issued by families. This, in a country which worships menstruation in many places. In a nation where there are temples and deities for menstruation, how can menstruating women visiting a temple be considered profane?
Black magic: Apparently menstrual blood is not only impure – it is also so dangerous that it can even be used in black magic! Do you think that only illiterate people in rural areas believe such a headless conception? No, even Kangana Ranaut’s educated ex-boyfriend has said such things!