KARACHI: Period or menstruation taboos are still very real. It’s 2019 and yet it seems like the aversion to periods as well as the women going through them is not going anywhere.
Women who menstruate are taught to be ashamed of or keep quiet about what their bodies go through every month. In Pakistan, as well as many other Muslim communities, women are forbidden from entering mosques or touching religious texts; and in some cases, forbidden from touching meetha (desserts) and pickles. (We’re as confused as you are).
Recently, five million Indian women staged a peaceful protest in support of a Supreme Court ruling that lifted a ban on women of menstrual age from entering a Hindu Temple. After the ban was lifted, two women entered the temple the first time in decades, causing a riot in the streets.
It’s just blood, you guys.
Here are some other examples of how women on their period are treated around the world:
1. Cast out from homes
Practiced in India, Nigeria and parts of Nepal, this is the epitome of all taboos associated with period.
Just four days ago, news of a Nepalese woman and her two sons suffocating to death made headlines. The practice of ‘Chhaupadi’ forces women and girls to leave the confines of their homes and spend the days in a shed because period is considered to be impure. Though it was banned in 2005, in rural Nepal the practice is very much rampant, according to Al Jazeera.
2. No cooking
In some parts of India it is believed that women on their period shouldn’t enter the kitchen or cook, generally. It is ‘believed’ that butter or mayonnaise would curdle or bread may not rise if touched. In countries like Romania, women on their period are warned against touching flowers or watering plants, because they could kill them with their touch, according to Hello Clue. If only being on our period gave us superpowers.
3. No bathing or showering
This extends to a lot of countries. From Argentina to Taiwan, bathing is said to be a no-no due to the belief that it may cause bleeding to stop, which itself isn’t a good thing. However, this is a myth, according to Menstrupedia.
4. No styling or grooming
In Brazil, women on their period are told not to wash or cut their hair because it affects growth. This is also a myth. In other places like Dominican Republic, painting toe nails is a thing.
5. No tampons
Across the globe, and especially in our part of the world, Tampons are looked at with suspicion. It is feared that it would break the hymen, which is a shame in conservative countries because some equate the breaking of hymen to losing your virginity. Let us tell you, that’s not how it happens.