If this writing about menstruation sounds wrong to you, let me remind you at the first place that I will not apologize.
I have never found the idea of being liberated from Menstruation taboos ever appealing. It is still one of the unquestioned realities that are outlying to people’s ideology and the religion on why women are impure every month.
Yes, “impure.” Impure because she has the ability to nurture and nourish a life inside her. Impure because it is the only sort of blood that is not traumatic to be presented. Impure because she is chosen to carry out a duty forgetting the suffering and pain she has held onto.
I have seen many people put on their Instagram stories, display pictures, and post how menstruation should not be considered a social taboo. They are educated people; I get it. But the irony is that even though those educated people take the initiations, they fail to inform people being role models not to follow the rituals that show the impureness of women’s blood that they bleed. They also fail to deliver the purity of women that the ability they have to hold heavenly eternity.
We live in a modernized era, and I do not think we are modernized enough to discuss mensuration without hesitation and disgust publicly. It’s aversion sufficient to believe that the fictionally termed impurity that was developed insignificant regarding the almighty purity of menstruation is utterly disturbing.
I asked my mom where my grandmother had gone yesterday morning. She told me she went to participate in Rishi Panchami Pooja.
My curiosity sparked upon and without hesitation, I asked her, “Why is it done, mom?”
And I didn’t know that her answer would leave me to amass thoughts, offensive comments, and so much more against all the ethics we all grew up with.
She said, “It is a Pooja that is supposed to be done to seek forgiveness for any sins committed by women during their periods.”
I didn’t speak, but I must tell you that my face said a lot. It showed disappointment, anger, disgust, not because of the ceremony of this Pooja but because of why the tradition is celebrated. I will tell you a part of me was pleased that my parents did not in any condition force me to take part in this ritual which proved the relevance of knowing and distinguishing what is right and wrong.
A girl is expected to bathe early in the morning if possible to dip in water 365 times. She needs to wash her body with special mud. The shrub grass used as a toothbrush, a.k.a. ‘Datiwan,’ might be healthy, and there is no problem with that. Closely looking upon the health benefits, it is perfect and acceptable. The real problem is that the reason why it is done. The answer, my fellow readers, is that they have to do that to be free from all the unholy acts that they might have ever done knowingly and unknowingly during their menstruation period.
To my complete surprise, the customs we follow say way too much about women and their menstruation stages. On the first day, when she bleeds, she is referred to as a devil witch. On her second day, she is referred to as a killer and sinner to Brahmin. On the third day, she is outcasted by considering as Dhobi, a caste class of people who wash other’s clothes for a living. Finally, on her fourth day of bleeding, she is ordered to be cleaning herself from all the unholy acts she has put up to.
Tell me, does it make sense? Does it make you happy?
Do you think observing rituals and doing Pooja as such makes you feel very holy and pure? Or, distributing sanitary pads, cups to women on the same day is a better option?
Mother nature; we call her mother. Yet, we put on an act so premature and impulsive to her and her immense creation, the whole universe. Why washing away that impurity is so crucial to people? Why do they tend to forget that this natural bloodletting out of women’s bodies is not as harmful as the man-made bloodletting that is going on around the world? Isn’t this periodic and natural bloodletting running the system of almighty God, for the sake of God itself, if you believe in so? Our society’s mindset and thought pattern to impure a woman’s body is quite a show for me.
You may call yourselves educated, but while you follow these sorts of inhumane and discriminatory rituals and refrain from making a change, your voice for advocacy in front of the world will surely be vague and a complete failure.
Going on social media, reposting stories will not do you any good unless you practically implement it. Remember, change should first come from within yourself and your family before you walk out to change the world.
My writing here today may sound offensive and disrespectful towards many individuals in particular. But, if I am speaking and advocating against the religious rituals of “showering yourself” with holy water against the blood that we naturally bleed, then I am not apologizing to anyone for writing the piece today.
As long as, in the name of faiths and beliefs, our culture and religion embarrass women’s purity and disgrace the exclusive ability of women to run and nurture the earth, I long to revolt. In that case, I keep writing and speaking against such beliefs and practices.
If it sounds wrong to you, let me remind you again that I will never ever apologize.
The writer Jeshika Sharma is a 10th grader from Kathmandu, Nepal. She loves writing and finding ways to deliver her thoughts for the benefit of society at large.