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Menstruation Stigma

Menstruation

The continuing bitter standoff of whether women of menstruating age should be allowed entry into Sabarimala temple in Kerala shows the negative power of entrenched beliefs. The Supreme Court’s forward-looking verdict is being openly defied, activists are hounded and parties are making political capital out of the dispute. That the stigma related to menstruation still exists shows clearly that people think of this natural process, so vital for reproduction, as a problem. This mentality has to change. Women are not allowed a lot of things during their periods, and this is simply not acceptable. Menstruation has a lot of stigma around it and people have to be made aware that it is nothing more than a natural phenomenon. In this patriarchal society that we live in, where age old myths and traditions decide what women should do during their periods, has led to women shying away from something that is a natural process, which every woman capable of giving birth goes through. Women are not allowed to enter into kitchens, they are told to stay away from places of worship and are even told not to leave their homes during their periods. Such rules set by a male chauvinistic society for women to follow are unacceptable. What is worse is that even elderly women are into this — despite facing such irrational, unscientific discrimination in their youth, it is sad indeed that they help perpetrate the same injustice an indignity on younger members of their sex. This mentality has to change, and for that to happen, people have to be made aware of it. Our focus should be on helping women understand the need to maintain hygiene during their periods, and steps should be taken to make sanitary pads available to everyone and if possible, for free.

Soumyadeep Das,

Guwahati.