Okay so women get their periods. SO? So, it gives them the goddamn right to go to town with it via social media with obnoxious hashtags like #ProudToBleed #HappyToBleed etc. Sometimes I wish I could teach them some period manners.
Dear woman, let me ask you one question: What is the point that you are trying to prove sharing hideous images of women curling up in the bed, the back of her pants soaking red? When I was young and got my first periods, I thought my world just ended. But my mother, level-headed as she is, told me that the end of the world can be handled with the help of soft cottony things that are called pads which soak up the blood. Moreover, it’s just for a few days in a month, right? And that was it, period! I never whined about it, never shoved sanitary pads down the throats of patriarchy (if it does exist), never waved pads in the faces of people just to prove that I am a woman and get my periods every month.
About a year ago, there was a massive movement among women, feminist-bait men and men-who-identify-as-women which was called Pads Against Sexism. The movement, obviously, started by women on campuses spread like wildfire from Jamia to Jadavpur so much so that women in JU started pasting sanitary napkins all across the campus as a sign of rising against victim (of molestation, harassment and rape) shaming. One fine morning, I remember, I had picked up the newspaper to show my dad something when, bam on the front page there was a huge picture of a sanitary napkin staring at me. Oh, I’m sorry but I don’t think I’ll ever be open about talking about my periods with my dad, let alone ask him to buy me pads. Conservative, much? Yes it is! There are some things you can share with some people and some things you can’t. And, please, my dad is the last person to be patriarchal. I remember being flushed with embarrassment. Dad had just cleared his throat and pretended not to notice.
When a picture of a bleeding woman showing off her butt smeared in red was being circulated on social media, I could feel my lunch in my throat. Not only is it disgusting but it isn’t really to ‘help any cause’. Women can resort to weird means of waging a war. If they don’t have any logical argument, they employ dubious means such as arming themselves with sanitary napkins and shitloads of anti-patriarchy ammo because they are too butt-lazy to learn how to wield a weapon. They will scream against why they are not allowed inside places of worship during their periods and take to the streets beating the shit out of male privilege. But will not read up or, better still, look up the Internet, the real reasons why it’s better to stay out of temples when on your period. Because, it’s stupid and boring, right? And sharing a picture on InstaGram of a lady on her period is way more relaxing and less taxing on their pea-sized brains!
Two points to consider. In earlier days, the days of our grandmoms and greatgrandmoms, they never had a sanitary napkin. They relied mostly on cloth. Therefore, household work, puja rituals etc would become cumbersome if not messy. However, here’s a more valid reason to stay away from temples during your ‘that time of the month’, provided, you are willing to read it through patiently and not dismiss it as Hinduism crap. I’m supersimplifying this crap for your limited brain to process.
Temples are charged with an energy that ideally flows upwards. Temple structures (actually not just Hindu temples but mosques, synagogues and churches too, in fact, any place of worship) are built in such a way so that the spiritual energy has the space to move upwards. ‘Up’ has traditionally been the indicative direction of where, to put it very simply, God resides. So, we mortals always pray looking UPWARDS. During this time, the spiritual energy, the flow of certain fluids and channels inside us also move in that direction. During periods, the flow is exactly in the opposite direction. The blood flows downward and out of our bodies. (The principle of male celibacy is also kinda based on this same principle. That is not to say women cannot become monks.) The difference in direction MIGHT cause imbalances in our bodies leading to health issues. No, this hasn’t been empirically proven. There is NO WRITTEN RULE that women HAVE to stay away from temples and places of worship during their period. But this is a principle that is followed by those who are into it.
Coming back to the question of brandishing pads like light sabers, we must remember that advertising and brand endorsements have done their job very well. In a way it’s good. Thanks to campaigns like “Touch the pickle” and “Always like a girl”, menstrual taboos have been partially erased from our minds. But that doesn’t mean you can wear your sanitary napkin over your pants just to prove you are progressive, a feminist and that you bleed every month. It’s just a bodily process. Truth is, most of these women who express their angst with such hyperfeministic movements, are, again, from urban upper middle class societies who have lived in cities and bigger towns and who have grown up watching Whisper and Stayfree adverts on TV. There are villages in rural Karnataka where women get on with life WITHOUT even wearing sanitary napkins because they feel sanitary napkins are dangerous and toxic. Sweat in their groins, combined with the paper and plastic of the pads can lead to serious hazards. And no, they don’t make a huge hue and cry about it probably because they’re not on FaceBook and InstaGram, busy sharing their bleeding selfies. And while women scream hoarse about sanitary napkins and periods, how many times have you come across unwrapped and used pads lying on the roadside or in the open bin in your office loo? If you can go around sticking pads on the trees in your university campus, don’t go “Eeewwww” when you see a used one lying on the road or in your loo.
And by the way, PMS is NOT A MYTH or a PATRIARCHAL IMPOSITION just to poke fun at women! I’ll talk about this in a later post but for now, don’t make a big deal about your periods. Be rational, objective and get on with life.