PERIODS – A TABOO???

PERIODS – A TABOO???

The previous day I went to one of my known shops to get a sanitary pad, and to be precise, Whispers. The shop keeper was a man and since I didn’t know where the pads were kept I asked him a pack. The man fidgeted around and asked his assistant to get me a pad, and stammered while talking.

The assistant, a guy of almost my age, also started feeling uncomfortable and took the pack and was about to cover the pack with a newspaper. I asked him not to do so. He looked startled. I gave him a glare while I thought, “this is the sole reason why your sorry lives exist right now.” This is just a small incident when it comes to a girl getting her periods which is so common and yet so weird for some. If you are a woman, you sure do know some of the taboos and comments you face by our older generation.
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I remember the time when I was in school, and even though I wasn’t ashamed of taking a pad out openly in front of the guys, I had to take it out secretly which was so obvious in fact. I had to blend in with the other girls otherwise I would obviously be tagged along if I was bold enough to take one in front of a guy. It’s not like the guys did not know, in fact they come to know at times due to some stains on our skirts or us taking the pads out “secretively”. I even remember a time when one of my friends, a guy, was teased by us girls just because he took a pad and gave us which we dropped on the floor. Poor guy, he did not know what lay inside that cover while being so helpful. He realized it after giving us because he saw a tinge of greenery in a square shape inside the pack and also by our giggles, which included even me, although I did not find it funny. Alas, if I had been bold back then like how I was now. All these incidents in my life, made me wonder, what is so “taboo-ish” related to periods? Yet it is so sacred.

According to Hindu culture, there are many do’s and dont’s for a girl who is menstruating. First of all, she is not supposed to touch any of the family members if they are supposed to visit a temple. None of the male members are supposed to know that she is menstruating. But they actually come to know because she is forced to sit in the corner of a room for 7 days. Thank goodness, nowadays people don’t follow such but there are a few. Apart from this, she is supposed to bath with her clothes on exactly the moment she gets her periods. She has to bath even if she had taken a shower like a second ago. All this is done just because, it is considered impure. Yes, scientifically, there are many germs, blood vessels, uterine wall etc breaking down during periods.

But what has that got to do about the girl bathing right when she gets it or with the whole untouchability concept? As long as she has a napkin, she is totally clean and it’s just something which comes out of her due to which some of the people who consider it disgusting or impure, are born. At the same time, some older generations curse a woman if she is not able to get periods on a regular basis or if she gets her periods delayed. Why is all this when it is just how nature works? In older days, the king was supposed to know if any girl gets her periods for the first time, so that he could go and sleep with her irrespective of her age. Basically it was considered that her menstruation was a call for sex.

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There is also a belief that women are not allowed to go to temples during their periods: but do you know the actual reason why it was said so? It was because during older days, obviously people did not have any sanitary napkins, therefore they left a trail of blood wherever they went, hence the people who were intellectual at that time, told them to stay home in the name of god. This was because they were not able to convince people on the biological basis.

Leave that to the Hindus, but why do people, in this 21st century, still act so weird about the concept? In fact, it is the pride of a female and her symbol of fertility. It is her symbol which out powers men on this basis, because she can carry a life in that precious womb of hers. So to all the women out there, although it might seem crazy for some of you, do not be ashamed of that god- given gift that pours out of you every month. If this article is not publish worthy, then it might be because it is still a taboo. And also, women, do not cover your pad at the point of purchase because then it shows you are ashamed of that tiny vessel you carry around which does remarkable things such as maintaining posterity; and men, do not be ashamed to buy a pad for your dear one because, once upon a time, you lay in the same mess in your mom’s womb due to which she saved pads for 9 months.

Neeta Vijaykumar
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