Yes, we bleed! say women taking on menstrual taboos in the country
Menstrual taboos continue to exist in India despite the efforts of many activists and campaigns to dispel the myths around a natural feminine physical phenomenon. Talking about periods or menstruation still is taboo for many people and there are many don’ts associated with it. Women are not allowed to enter the kitchen, visit places of worship and even touch food items like pickles while they are on their periods. They are considered ‘impure’ during their menstruation and hence the rules.
Today, some women have taken on this taboo, and those propagating it in the country, on social media. Nikita Azad, a 20-year-old girl has taken on the keepers of the Sabarimala Temple after a decision was taken by them to scan women to see if it was the ‘right time’ for them to enter the temple. Author Kiran Manral, who initiated the online volunteer network India Helps after the Mumbai terrorist attacks, has also started a similar online campaign. And it’s not just women who extending their support to these campaigns but men too.
The #HappytoBleed Campaign
On November 20, Nikita Azad wrote an open letter to Prayar Gopalakrishnan, the Devaswom chief of the Sabarimala temple after he told media about this on November 13. She also started a #HappyToBleed campaign on social media.
In the #HappyToBleed Facebook page which she started with some friends, it reads, “Devaswom chief of Sabrimala temple, Kerala has given a sexist statement that once purity checking machines are invented, that check whether it is “right time” or not, (whether women are menstruating or not), he will think about letting women enter.
By this statement, he has reinforced misogyny and strengthened myths that revolve around menstruation. Although this has become the immediate reason of our campaign, our focus is identifying all forms of patriarchy and preparing ourselves for struggle.” Nikita Azad’s campign also urges women to hold up “placards/sanitary napkins/charts saying Happy To Bleed, take their pictures, upload it to their profiles, and send it to us, in order to oppose the shame game played by patriarchal society since ages.” (Read her letter here)
The #IBleedDealWithIt Campaign
Meanwhile, author Kiran Manral has also launched an online campaign called #IBleedDealWithIt against the taboos and myths that surround menstruation. “I grew up knowing absolutely no menstrual taboos. I guess I was lucky. When I was older, I realised there were a host of things women were not supposed to do during their menstrual cycle and it quite flummoxed me, because if anything menstruating is a natural process and is part of being fertile as a woman,” Kiran said.
“I began this campaign #IBleedDealWithIt in response to the realisation that we are still carrying a lot of myths and taboos about menstruation with us, even though we might be educated women of the 21st century. The change must come from us, we must realise that if we refuse to follow menstrual taboos which are restrictive and discriminatory, and counter superstition with rational explanation, we could initiate change,” she explains.
People took to social media to extend their support to these campaigns by tweeting and posting pictures.
Read the original here