In this series I would explore, the practices followed in our society regarding menstruation/periods. These practices make me cringe but it is amazing how these continue to be followed by our society even today.
Lot of people follow the practice of isolating the girl and not touching her for 3-15 days when she gets her first period. The moment the girl gets her first period, she is isolated in a separate room, sometimes a dark room and not allowed to touch anyone at all for 3/5/7/14 days. People who touch her have to have a shower as they have contracted her impurity. For the consequent periods, some families, especially in villages even today, make the girl sit out in isolation in a separate hut kind of thing and do not interact with her as much as possible. Granted this may have started out for hygiene purposes which traditionalists would claim but now in this current form is not nice to women. So many women skip school due to this reason as they are not meant to be touched.
I remember when I was in school, if any girl was absent from school for a period of 3 consecutive days, then everyone assumed that she had started menstruating and the school gossips used to keep track of which girl had started having periods by this 3/5/7/14 days absent period.
Some people claim scientifically that women emit negative vibrations during menstruation and hence must be avoided. Negative vibrations from a woman are worse than vibes from a murderer, extremely corrupt people?
Though the system mainly emphasys on health & higine, the religious tenets cannot be fully ignored. But the fact is, despite the availablity of modern sanitary products, the naturally emitted body odour and the bodys negative energies produced during the course periods cannot be fully removed. These are the main reasons, one is advised to keep at a distance from the Pooja room. Oh, in the past, the rigid Srivaishnava Sampradayam prohibited even hearing the voice of a women during her monthly periods!
This kind of superstition is so ingrained in our society that even women insist on following this and give negative vibes as a scientific explanation for today’s modern questioning woman. Shouldn’t we stop perpetuating this kind of thing as women first and start questioning such practices instead of retaining such practices?
Do you accrue sin if you touch a menstruating woman? Then what about other mammals that menstruate and do not follow such rules? What about our ancestors in the wild who did not follow such rules? Did anything happen to them? Why does tradition and culture repress natural things and make them sinful or ‘evoking the wrath of god’ kind of thing?
Read more articles in this series here.