Come puberty, menstruation and the subsequent monthly cycle of periods- all of this comes along with a lot of beliefs, superstitions and myths.
Here is a take on a few period myths in India, and our personal (and sometimes sarcastic) opinion on them.
- Cooking during periods will make the food impure: A natural process cannot be impure. Then again, if we think about it, women of the age-old joint families had one basic task everyday – cooking. There was no excuse or holiday for them. Maybe the wise old generation banned them from the kitchen so that they could have their share of rest required during those days! Maybe the health of women during periods was a priority decades ago!
- Usage of un-sanitized cloth, ashes, husk sand: Using such materials will save you a lot of money to fund for your hospital bills when you fall sick due to their usage. Girls, please take care of your own hygiene!
- Magical blood: People believe that menstruating blood has magical properties that aids in black magic and other voodoos. Yes, blood in your body was not for delivery of nutrients and oxygen, but to help aid magical activities
- Separate utensils: Women are made to use separate utensils, which they use, wash and store it in a corner! Simple idea to break the myth – demand for silverware with golden spoons for these days, if a separate utensil is to be kept ;)
- Rest, don’t go to work: Rest is essential for menstruating women, but depends from person to person. Some experience heavy flow and cramps, making it very uncomfortable and painful, while some feel normal. Take your call, don’t make it a universal rule. But yes, men, understand that a woman taking an off due to period cramps is a genuine reason, not an excuse! And women, intake the good food and drinks that will help you ease your pain during the monthlies.
- No school: Please, please all you parents and girls, do not stop education for any reason, periods or otherwise. Using cloth and other unhygienic and not-easy-to-dispose materials would have made it difficult to go to school, but with so many other options now, not anymore!
- No exercise: Certain exercises are helpful in easing the pain during periods, and certain are uncomfortable to do. Take your call, listen to your body!
- Cannot touch oils, pickle and anything sour: A lot of women avoid eating pickles during periods as it enhances their cramps, nothing more! Touching them isn’t really going to spoil them, but to each their own!
- No bath: After all these myths about being impure and dirty, something had to be done to back up on the myth, right? Get inside, and have a fresh shower everyday! Keep yourself clean, fresh and energetic!
- Not allowed to enter temples as women are considered impure during periods: Again, this being related to religion, faith and God, a very sensitive topic, I’d just say that women are not impure; but then to each their own!
- If in pain, don’t crib or speak about it: Periods has always been considered a topic of great secret, something not to be discussed in the open. Speak about it, eat and drink healthy, and do everything that would make you comfortable.
- Shhoo away the pads, hide the clothes: Girls are asked to wash their clothes on their own and dry them in a corner where the shadow of these wouldn’t fall on the rest of the family. Pads are also disposed in a hidden and secretive way! Trust me, if you believe in keeping periods unknown to the family, this ‘secretive’ method is the easiest disclosure!
- Don’t let a crow pass over the pads: A lot of people believe that disposing a pad in an open dustbin over which crows pass leads to women being cursed! No logic of course, but having an open dustbin in general will lead to mosquito breeding, unhygienic environment and diseases.
- No going out after 6pm in periods: Wise old generation again – in an era when homes were in jungles and roads weren’t safe, applied to everyone every day, not just women in periods. Times have changed, so has nature and so do rules!
- Sleep on the ground, not the bed: Unless sleeping on a hard-flat surface makes you comfortable and eases your cramps, sleeping on the bed is not going to make the bed “impure”!
- Isolation: Isolating women to one room of the house, not touching other men in the fear of making them dirty, not allowing them to go out – ‘super’stitions! Well, just ponder how true this could be yourself!
Last but not the least, lets just remember to prioritize personal hygiene and health first! Rest will follow :-)
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are personal views, and are not intended to hurt the belief and faith of anyone. They are just to think and converse about.
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