‘Menstruation is normal. Showing them should be too.’ TRUE!

By Youth24x7

She believed she was ‘impure’ for those five days. It was her crimson legacy; her female body and the ‘unholy’ menstruation. Whether menstruation is impure or not has been a century-old debate that has over the years came to the forefront. To say things haven’t changed would be only over exaggerating the prevailing problem. That we, today, are talking about it in public, writing articles and spreading awareness in more visible formats (Bodyform’s advert being the latest) only says how far we’ve reached. But the problem still exists. And the biggest miscalculation that has resulted in the existence of this problem is the conjoining of ‘education’ with ‘rationality’.

Statistics say that more than 70% of Indian women do not use sanitary napkins. All of the 70% are not from villages – NOT ILLITERATE. More than 90% women consider menstruation as a ‘shame’ they are born with and avoid entering religious places or attending religious ceremonies. All of the 90% too don’t reside in rural India; they too aren’t illiterate. Illiteracy is therefore one reason, but certainly not the only one. The fact that the ‘impure’ tag is added to a woman on periods is deeply distressing. Only what we so easily ignore is the horrific fact of the meek acceptance of the bleeding woman through the shameful epithet she shall carry for those five days each month. They wouldn’t go for prayers, into kitchen, wouldn’t bathe( at certain places), would be offered food in different utensil, not allowed to sleep on beds, not allowed to come near the men in the family, and the list bulked with similar shit goes beyond the limits of bearable nonsense. Many a things above might sound a little shocking, well, during the course of my studies in the last few months, things much more shocking came up. 23% of young girls drop out of school at the age of 11 to 13 years because they feel the ‘shame’ of gaining the ability to create life. More than 10% menstruating women feel menstruation is a serious illness. 96% women even today avoid going out for work during the menses. And what is most appalling is the new concept that’s come up to put an end to the taboo – hysterectomies.

Hysterectomies have been practiced for long all over the world for the prevention of further infection in case of a seriously infected uterus. This brilliant method of removal of the uterus in a female body has now started to be used even ‘brilliantly’ to put an end to life absolute seclusion and loss of wages every 5 days a month, especially our rural women. Rural pockets of states including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Maharashtra among others have seen a significant rise in the number of hysterectomies in the gone few decades. Studies state women have willingly in many areas sold their jewellery to get operated. In a racket busted in Gulbarga district of Karnataka around 50% of women operated were found to be under 35 years of age and another 22.5 per cent in the early twenties. Menopause before she has forced these young women to live a life battling health conditions, weakness, aching joints and hormonal imbalance.

While periods are considered a taboo citing dogmas and rituals running in the society, the hypocrisy is something that goes unquestioned. The Raja parba in Odisha celebrates the fertility of earth and in turn the menstruating women (who symbolise fertility) with utmost zeal each year. The Kamakhya Devi Mandir celebrates Ambuwasi Pooja each year to celebrate the menstruating Goddess. There is no sculpture in this temple based in Assam, only the ‘Yoni’ or the vagina is what is worshipped. And surprisingly it stands as one of the 51 sacred ‘Shakti Peeth’ in India. Menstrual blood was also, as historians believe, considered holy in the vedic times. Despite the fact that the ‘dirt’ in the blood is something that runs in each of our veins, menstruation continues to remain an alien word.

When ‘he’ would get to know that ‘he’ is going to be a daddy, he’s gonna shed tears of joy; when ‘he’ comes to know there’s a sweetheart to arrive who’ll call him grandpa, ‘he’ feels like the king of the world; when she realises that ‘she’ is to have someone lingering and jumping around in her empty house calling her mommy,a smile so ecstatic embraces her face. But ‘he’ won’t buy a sanitary napkin from a public store for ‘his’ wife; ‘he’ wouldn’t ever talk to his daughter about the impurity attached with her body; ‘she’ wouldn’t ever tell anything about the isolation she’s been subjected to all her life. Because it just is a crimson legacy of a female body and her impure, unholy mensuration.

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