We have all heard our mothers or grandmothers stop us from touching pickles or masalas or even go anywhere near the temple or holy place while menstruating. And like every little curious kid, we questioned them with a “WHY” to which there has never been one straight, logical answer.
Where there is a fact there is a myth and vice-versa. Menstruation is one such topic that not only has myths but superstitious myths. Growing up in an Indian household as a girl who menstruates can be a task sometimes, almost all the time. Right from the time of the onset of period, while on one hand we are showered with gifts because we’ve transformed into a lady, on the other hand we are also gifted a list of restrictions.
These restrictions are nothing but myths and superstitions which have been handed over to future generations from ancestral times. The ritual still exists and is followed by most women, urban or rural. Although most of you have heard these almost every month, here’s how we are busting these myths and revealing the true reason behind them restrictions.
1. Do not wash hair or take bath while on period.
This is by far the most common myth and superstition which has travelled across the globe. Period brings major changes in our bodies. Not only are we bleed from our vagina, but a lot of women sweat more than usual. Hot flushes maybe common during menopause, but PMS can also lead to hot flushes. The hormonal changes not only makes us sweat but before getting period our bodies experience fatigue due to low energy levels. Even more, we tend to sweat majorly around our inner thighs, armpits, under our breasts.
Sweat, if not washed regularly can lead to major skin problems which can be infectious and hazardous. So women, wash every part of your body, it is healthy just like your period.
2. Women cannot enter holy temples.
Something we grew up with, made all of us wonder only one thing: who’s going to know?
Period being considered a taboo and unholy, has made it difficult for women to live normally. Back in the day, temples were at a height and steps leading to the main temple hall were not short. Due to excess pain and discomfort that women went through, they were advised not to enter the temples and instead rest for those 5-7 days. *Busted*
Still wondering who started this gender inequality where women are considered dirty and unholy to practice their rituals at a temple and are considered unclean while menstruating.
3. Women are unclean while on period.
It is said that period blood is bad blood but little do they know that it’s only our body flushing out toxins and negativity that we women don’t deserve along with blood, uterine tissue, mucus lining, and bacteria.
4. You are not allowed in the kitchen, especially near pickles as they may go bad.
Raises a major question: how can period, something that you bleed into tampons/pads/ cups make pickles go bad? Or what do you do when you live alone? Do you starve without food?
55 percent girls in India are not allowed to cook and are separated from family while menstruating. Right from their clothes, vessels, food, everything is kept separate and are not allowed to enjoy meals with families. Some say that it’s your body heat that transfers onto the pickle bottle making it go bad whilst some respond saying, “just because it is said so”.
Some also say that women were asked to rest as back in those days, families were larger and all household chores were to be looked after by women at home. But just like temples, the gender stigma exists at home too.
While there is a long debate and unproven facts, this myth has no real answer and must not stop any girl from entering the kitchen or enjoying their meals with families.
5. You cannot swim during period
Ladies, please ride the crimson wave in those hot bikinis and take cute selfies even while you are on your period! Usage of tampons or cups over fluffy pads make swimming during period easier and you never have to compromise on that cute beach outfit.
Water density is greater than your body, which makes you float, but did you know that you also tend to bleed less while under water? On your next vacation, try cliff jumping or scuba diving, but don’t forget your cups or tampons!
6. Exercising while menstruating is unhealthy
WHAT? NO! But it is believed that exercising while on period can damage your uterus lining and lead to infertility. Women, please get that yoga mat out, put on some joggers and breathe out this negativity!
Exercising during period in fact helps relax those cramps, elevates mood and refreshes your mind and body. Choose the right exercise, take breaks if it gets uncomfortable.
This myth was probably started by someone who needed a reason to not exercise. It is healthy to sweat it out.
7. Usage of tampons or cups will take your virginity away.
Someone needs to take this thought away from people. It is believed that hymen is a thin, flat layer of skin completely covering the vaginal opening. Fact is that it is only a fringe of tissue around the vaginal opening and in fact some women are born without a hymen.
Just like during intercourse, it is true that when a tampon is inserted it can break the hymen, but that does not take away your virginity. Virginity is an emotional concept and has nothing to do with a tissue of your body.
Tampons or cups, on the contrary, are safe, highly absorbent, and comfortable to use during period. It controls your cycle, flow and comfort.
8. Period pain is overrated.
Most of us have been dismissed, shamed or even laughed at for the pain period brings to us. The unbearable cramps, fatigue, crazy mood swings and a lot more pain is but only natural and 10 times more dangerous than what one can possibly imagine.
During an experiment, men were artificially made to experience period pain. Not only did a lot of them cry and tapped out in the first few seconds but changed their mind about how painful it can get down there.
9. Only women bleed.
LOL no. Whoever came up with that. Women, transgender men, transgender women, we all bleed. period.
With growing stigma around menstruation hygiene, menstruation products and women, we women started buying into these myths and chose to pass it on to coming generations. None of us are to be blamed though. But yes, you can be blamed if you haven’t put a stop on it.
We don’t need someone to bust these myths especially when there is no logic behind them, these should be ignored and let you live the way you wish to. The scare is created to build gender-discrimination, bias and oppress women in a patriarchal system.
Period is natural, something to be talked about instead of whispered. A conversation that doesn’t need to be wrapped in newspaper but shared openly from one hand to another.
So ladies, take on those adventures, keep bathing, go swimming, keep cooking, practice dancing, and more importantly take pride when you bleed.