Period, menstruation, no matter by which name you address the blood gushing from down there, the fact remains, bleeding from the vagina is no fun.
If it is not the constant leaking feeling or the ridiculous mood swings that ruin your day, it is the dreaded stomach cramps that leave you reeling from the pain.
Some women also experience extreme nausea, crippling headache in addition to the symptoms mentioned above, and to top it all, when periods come knocking, women are expected to behave as if they do not exist at all.
To add onto the already suffering women, from the tag of impurity attached in the menstruating women to carrying pads only black polythene (for decency, you know), there are several taboos that are deeply rooted not only in the Indian mentality but worldwide also.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the weirdest period taboos around the world:
1. Wash your face with period blood
In Philippines, it is believed that when you get your first period you need to wash your face with the first menstrual blood to have clear skin.
2. Goat is slaughtered
The menstruating girl is secluded from her friends and a goat is slaughtered in South Africa. She must cover her head with a blanket and hide till sunset.
3. Don’t touch the pickle
In India, women and girls on their periods are asked not to touch the pickle jar, not to wash their hair until the 4th day of their cycle and not to set curd or jams, amongst a few other ridiculous notions regarding periods.
4. No showering
In Afghanistan, it is believed that during her periods, women should not take a bath or shower because they may become ‘gazag’ i.e. infertile.
5. Bleeding women are impure
This taboo is prevalent in various parts of the world, especially in Nepal, where bleeding women are considered to be “impure” and are not allowed to enter temples, because temples are considered to be a “ clean” place.
6. Forbidden to have intercourse while menstruating
Now this one is as bizarre as it gets. Apparently, it is believed in Poland that having sex with your partner while a woman is “down” can, wait-for-it, KILL him/her.
Periods are normal
The bottom line is not only these taboos are downright outrageous but they also shed led light on the general attitude of people regarding menstruation.
There is a dire need to normalise periods and bust these myths. It will begin with accepting this monthly bleeding from the vagina as a normal, biological function of the female body and a sign of a healthy, functioning woman.