Thursday, October 29, 2015

Let's remove taboos associated with Menstruation.

I wrote a post about worshiping while menstruating sometime back, in that post I tried to address the stigma associated with menstruation and participation in religious functions. This post gets maximum views during Hindu festival seasons when there are lot of occasions where women might face this dilemma. Many people have expressed different views and concerns in the comments section of that post. Some even asked for advise about what to do if they face the dilemma where their culture and tradition contradicts their logic. So when I read this article I decided to write one more post related with this topic of menstruation and various misconceptions associated with it. Actually taboos associated with menstruation are not only problem of any one religion or any one culture but this exists all over world, in all regions and religions. Many developed societies have broken this barriers to large extend but still this issue is a tabooed subject in many societies all over the world. Why there is so much secrecy around this subject that people hesitate to discuss it in open? Why there is so much ignorance and lack of information about this very important biological phenomena which is directly related with our procreation? It is a simple biological process which is part of our natural life cycle, we know about it since ages. Lot of progress has been done in area of sanitation and hygiene which can remove all concerns and doubts associated with this process. Then even after all this why some societies or cultures continue to treat it as some disease or some problem?

Actually the root cause for all this stigma and discomfort associated with menstruation are some age old beliefs, customs or traditions. One can clearly see that even in societies where proper sanitation and hygiene methods are available women are not treated properly during their periods. Somehow it is still believed that they are impure or not normal during 'those days'. Women are also guilty of not trying enough to remove stigma associated with this essential and unavoidable biological process. Many times they fell prey to all this stereotyping and cultural pressures and surrender to those things without offering any protest. Very few who dare to go against the norm then face the severe criticism and are made to feel guilty about their behavior. Menstruation is not something they choose or do one their own so that they can be blamed in any way for it, it is a biological phenomena. So why are they discriminated because of one very essential natural process on which they don't have any control?

It is good to see that things are improving, the rate of improvement is definitely slow but for sure things are changing. Many females are questioning this unfair treatment, many of them are willing to challenge this stigma and confront discriminatory practices. So all this is bound to bring that desired change, after all how long unfair discrimination will last if entire gender affected by it rebels against it? The more protests come out against such discrimination the more these things will be discussed. These discussions will slowly spread more information and more awareness about issues related with menstruation and stigma associated with it. Surprisingly people don't want to discuss or talk about such a important issue withing their own family, actually we need to give proper information to our kids about all these things, specially about things related with their body and sexuality. This is essential part of their learning which will make them a better human beings. This subject definitely doesn't need any stigma or taboo associated with it, females have suffered some sort of discrimination or other problems because of these things. We need to remove any stigma or taboo or hesitation associated with subject of menstruation and related issues from all societies and cultures. This is too important subject for half of world's population, we can't brush it aside or push under carpet as if it doesn't exist. I am glad to see that now females are taking lead themselves to remove stigma associated with many such issues. I am sure they will create space for their issues in discussion forums at all levels. I request rest of us to join them in this quest.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

1. A Girl Gets Her Period And Is Banished To The Shed


  1. I am a member of a nuclear family who since childhood , have lived in the metropolis of Mumbai. Since my teenage I have been taking part in the purchases at home and my mother ad sister had no hesitation to ask me to buy for them, sanitary pads, Panties or Bras as per requirement.
    Our family has come from a town place and shifted to the city since 1960,therefore many a family friend of member has asked us about guidance in fields of Taboo in a normal Indian families from the rural and town areas.

    The problems:-

    1) Discussion about Menstrual periods are not openly held even in small families,more so with the Father's involvement.

    2) Ignorance of Sex and sexual changes taking place naturally.

    3) Withdrawal of girls from education when they reach puberty as no Sanitation facilities are available.

    4) Procurement of Sanitary pads at a cheaper cost.No awareness of substitutes

    5) Early marriages so as to let off "burden" of looking after female children and their safety.

    6) Irrational taboos carried on from ancestral and ignorant social members under the garb of religion.

    Now that my daughters are married and my son adult enough I am proud to mention that there was no query on the face of the earth that I denied my children from asking me as they grew up.I have always treated them as my "friends" and have acted as their "confidante" I thought that their Biological father is the 'best' person to answer their Problems and give them solutions and the right "information".

    1. Many thanks for such a amazing comment...actually you nailed many issues associated with this topic better than post itself. Special thanks for sharing your own personal experience.