The new year 2018 is full of hopes for a better and more accepting society for women’s health. The year has started off with news articles about sanitary napkin dispensers and making them tax-free or free even. Also, a Bollywood movie by the name ‘Pad Man’ is set to release all over India on 26th January.
The movie is based on a true story about a man from Tamil Nadu who, in an attempt to provide sanitary napkins for his wife, invented the low-cost sanitary napkin-making machine that not only produced affordable napkins but has also created jobs for thousands of women. He has sold over a thousand such machines across India and overseas.
This story has gained so much attention and praise from all over the world that it has now started a conversation. A conversation about a topic that was avoided for centuries together due to the social taboo - menstruation. Even though menstruation is a completely natural phenomenon that happens to every woman, the topic is shunned by many, both young and old.
This is because, from the time we were little kids, we were taught that menstruation and periods is something that is unclean and impure. Although our ancestors might have intended to protect a woman’s health, the stories that were handed down through the generations have been riddled with utter nonsense.
Take for example the rule that a woman is not allowed to pray when she is on her period. It is believed that she is impure and that she should not be allowed inside the temple. This might have started centuries ago when temples were usually situated atop high mountains. Women who are menstruating would have found it difficult to climb to such heights due to their cramps which is why they might have been advised not to visit during their periods. Kneeling down would have been an issue for the same reasons.
Another belief is that women are not supposed to step out of their house while they are on their period. They are also not allowed inside the kitchen because the woman is said to be impure during the monthly cycle. A similar practice is followed when a woman is pregnant or right after she has given birth as well. This might have originated from the idea that the lady must take rest during this time and not exert herself - not because she is impure.
What people don’t realize is that menstruation is a sign of health and fertility. When a woman gets her regular period cycle, it means that she is ovulating healthily. Now, when we are talking about a natural human process that creates human life, shouldn’t it be treated as something sacred rather than being shut down as something impure? When a lady’s menstrual cycles are only a sign that she is capable of creating and carrying life, rather than being shamed and mistreated, shouldn’t she be treated like a Goddess?
It is the high time people realized that there are certain facts we shouldn’t just accept at face value. They need to be questioned and investigated further before jumping to any conclusions. We can only make progress if we challenge our beliefs and demand science, logic and reasoning. If we didn’t do this in the past, we would all still believe that the Earth is flat. Once we understand right from wrong, we can fight for what is right.