It was a usual Saturday night when I was sitting in front of the TV with my mom, thinking about some articles on Menstrupedia related to myths around menstruation and how stupid these myths sounded to people like me.
My mom has also been a thorough believer and follower of these myths and needless to say, has imposed them upon me as well. I therefore thought of discussing these myths with her and together we came up with few interesting scientific and social reasons that may have been the probable reasons for these myths being kept alive till date.
No ‘headbath’ during periods:
Today we have proper bathrooms, enough privacy and sufficient water supply in taps to comfortably bathe. This was not the case about say 50 years ago. Everybody used to use natural water resources like rivers, ponds or lakes to bathe.
Women back in the day used to use cloth to ‘somehow’ manage menstrual discharge, so just imagine how embarrassing it would have been for them to wash such stuff while using public resources.
No worship/touching idols of Gods during periods:
Temples and other places of worship have always been the most sacred places in houses and in societies ever since mankind has believed in the existence of God.
In rural India where there were mud houses, sitting on the floor during menstruation might have resulted in stains being made on the floor. The smell of menstrual blood would also attract small insects and animals to that place.
In our society, we have always kept places of worship very tidy. Perhaps in order to ensure this, women were not allowed to go to places of worship during their menstrual cycles.
Secrecy from men:
In my opinion, the only reason to keep menstruation a secret from men was the inability of women to satisfactorily answer curious questions that they might have posed.
In the Indian context, women hardly had any exposure to scientific reasoning, so if they happened to talk about menstruation to men, then men might have posed questions that they could not have answered. I reckon the experienced ladies of those times consequentially decided to keep it a secret.
No stepping out of homes during their periods:
– Lack of resources to manage menstruation (pads, tampons, cups).
– Lack of hygiene.
– Lack of awareness.
I know there are thousands of other myths out there that are tough to scientifically or socially explain but learned ladies of the society need to understand that instead of fighting myths blindly, we should attempt to talk and find probable reasons behind them.
I am sure that if we approach this issue with proper reasoning, our mothers and grandmothers will change their outlook towards these myths and refrain from imposing them upon us.
Next time, try talking things out with your mother instead of fighting with her on the dos and don’ts of periods. Cheers to womanhood!
Anupriya has been an IT professional for 8 years now. Her Mantra for life is ‘Awareness is the key to wellness’. She is always eager to learn more and spread the knowledge.2