A young woman from rural India asks a pertinent question – Isn’t the goddess they worship a girl? Won’t she get periods too? If she does, will they send her out of the temple?
Growing in a typical, old-fashioned Indian family from a rural part of South India, my mother had never spoken about what periods are, or how they will occur, or what is the impact of periods on my body, until the day I got my first period.
Since I knew nothing about periods, I didn’t even know what was happening to me, until my mother realised that I had got my first period. What my mom said following this will forever leave a scar.
She said “Oh god! I was the first one who saw you get your first period! It’s a bad omen for me, as a mother should never witness her daughter’s first period!”
There are all sorts of myths about periods and other things in the area I grew up in, but I was devastated on hearing my mom say this. We girls had never asked for periods and it’s not our fault if we get them.
Even now my mom blames me if I get my periods on a function day or the day we are supposed to go to a temple!
Why do people have to blame girls for getting her periods? Why are women not allowed inside a temple on period days? Who created these myths? Isn’t the goddess they worship a girl? Won’t she get periods too? If she does, will they send her out of the temple?
Why is a girl not allowed inside her own home when she is on periods? Why is a girl not allowed to touch things when on periods? Why she is not allowed to sleep on the bed?
These things are still happening in many parts of India.
Periods are a common, natural thing. It’s not a ‘sin’. Just because we have our periods doesn’t mean we have to be treated differently on those days. I wish these sort of things will change for the women and girls living in rural India so that they can relax during those days, because after all, periods are painful.
Image source: a still from the documentary film Period. End of a Sentence.
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