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How Mothers Can Help In Breaking Menstrual Taboos: It All Begins At Home

Posted: August 6, 2015

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Menstrual Taboos have run in for centuries. It’s time to let it go. Mothers can help breaking these taboos right at home.

Blame it on my education or my somewhat distorted genetic composition; I do not really support rituals that are handed over as a legacy.

The chart topper is menstrual untouchability. Anyone, even a dark and deadly sinner can go to the temple and ring the bells aloud (in Bollywood flicks) to remind the God about all the hardships life threw at him to make him a sinner he was, but a menstruating woman cannot seek almighty’s blessings in a temple even on her birthday. The patriarchal society that we all have come to terms with looks down upon women even for the phenomenon that itself symbolizes life.

I have personally seen relatives sleeping on the floor because they were menstruating. I reacted unbelievingly, ‘what are you trying to prove?’ To this she shyly replied, this is how it happens in our home. God alone would know who created this system of calling a menstruating woman dirty, but we sure have got this in our legacy. Grandma did it, mothers did it and therefore, we should do it, too. Is that justifiable enough?

Grandma used the hand held heavy sil patti for grinding spices but neither did our mothers nor do we.

Grandma used the hand held heavy sil patti for grinding spices but neither did our mothers nor do we. We are blessed with the multi-tasking, super fast food processors. If we refuse to stay away from technological advancements, why do not we sit up and decide to change our lives at personal levels, too? All it would take is a strong head. Given the opportunity, we all at least pretend to support gender equality at work and lately, at homes, too but are we really doing enough in that direction? As a mother, aunt or sister, you cannot do justice to your future generation unless you break the barrier. If we continue to follow the menstrual untouchability with a silent head, we will start believing it to be the right thing in no time. The so-called-right-things then become the burdensome legacy on the generations to come.

The big question here is that why do such customs get passed on from generation to generation when no one seems to be liking them? Probably it is the dire need for a woman to confirm to family systems in place and especially the ones that are established at the in-laws side to have a peaceful life. Women have historically been the ones changing their lifestyle, taste and what not to be able to settle down with their in-laws after marriage. The very basic assumption that the newly-wed woman will have to adjust to new ways of life also gets some share of being the reason. The new way of life sometimes also amounts to not entering the kitchen and sleeping on the floor when menstruating. Though the number of educated women and those earning for themselves is fast increasing, the post-marriage scenario still needs a big deal of change.  Probably, the increasing capacity of women to be at par with men is not considered sufficient to grant her the freedom to treat herself the way she likes and not the way family or society likes. This societal challenge needs great attention and the role of a mother is of the greatest importance here.

The first time a mother tells her daughter about menstruation, she creates a picture of do’s and don’ts in her young- still developing and innocent mind.

The first time a mother tells her daughter about menstruation, she creates a picture of do’s and don’ts in her young- still developing and innocent mind. That is where it all begins. The child may be told that it is natural and indicates that she is growing up or that it is dirty and she would not be participating in daily activities of the house when menstruating. In fact what deserves emphasis is women hygiene during menstruations and otherwise, too! This helps young girls develop good habits that stay with them throughout life. Appropriate hygiene helps keeping good health and confidence. A gynaecologist can also be consulted so that a daughter knows the right things about her body, the ways to keep it healthy and not the superstitions. If every daughter is raised with positivity about menstruation, she will grow up to be a confident woman whoknows her body and appreciates it. Once this understanding finds a place, the social scenario will begin to change and that hopefully will convert the legacy into a more woman-friendly system. Happier women will then be able to nurture happier families and such societies at large.

Despite all that is believed about menstruation being dirty and somewhat socially unacceptable, we as women must understand that menstruation symbolizes a woman’s biological cycle and going through it is perfectly healthy. Well, if one fine day we stop getting them, it would be the time to worry.

Touch the pickle (from a recent awareness campaign), go outdoors, live a life and say it with pride.

The world needs more women who can support what they believe in and this write-up is meant to be a reminder for all the women that they are strong enough to support and follow only what they wish to. More the number of such women in our society, safer will be the daughters of tomorrow.

Let’s make it happen!

Menstural Calander image via Shutterstock

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