‘Periods’ ouch…was that a bit direct? Well what can be the indirect way of saying it? Of course we all know about the codes – ‘the curse’, women’s problems, ‘that time of the month’, being low, etc.
Ever since a girl gets her first periods she is introduced to the practice of the deliberate attempt of euphemizing menstruation. Is it a crime to chum in India?
People openly commit grave crimes and even have the guts to film their crimes and Whatsapp the video but menstruation becomes a taboo.
This post isn’t about the taboo practices during menstruation. But I want to highlight the media depicting such practices.
In media other than the sanitary advertisements do we ever talk menstruation?
Even when we have a scene showing periods it is a hush hush affair.
For example the film ‘Jeans’ starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan plays on the stereotype that during periods a girl can’t go to the temple, can’t get out of her home for a couple of days, etc.
These rituals had been a very important part of Hindu mythology. The rules and depiction of a woman menstruating is shown in this serial ‘Mahabharat’ (B.R. Chopra’s Mahabharat).
When the Pandavas along with Draupadi visit the Kauravas, she sits aloof in a room.
When the character Dhritrashtra ask about her, his wife Gandhari exclaims that she would be coming in front of him only after 3 days. (During menstruation it is a common practice to not come in front of the male members of the family and stay aloof)
Even the serial ‘Balika Vadhu’ that started with the concept of child marriage depicted the mannerisms of the household when a girl in the family starts chumming. As per some traditions in Rajasthan a girl is not even allowed to enter the kitchen during her chums.
Since the girl doesn’t know of this she obviously panics at the sight of blood. It is extremely important that the topic is discussed with the girl beforehand. A healthy discussion is very essential.
In some cultures the first periods is celebrated to mark the occasion. This is shown in the Marathi film ‘Kaksparsh’ when the child bride gets her first periods.
On one hand where we aren’t even open to talk about this topic, we have customs celebrating this phase of a woman’s life.
If you thought menstruation myths were only restricted to India then it will shock you to know the kind of thought process involved with respect to menstruation globally.
In a 1991 Japanese film, ‘Only Yesterday’, a girl is shown to be menstruating and is teased by a bunch of guys. These guys tell others to not touch the ball she had touched saying “You will catch her period.”
Yes like we have to deal with ‘don’t touch the pickle’ there is even a concept of ‘don’t touch the ball’.
Menstruation is either looked as a misery or some subject of ridicule. The media (except the sanitary ads) hasn’t really made the efforts to create awareness about this topic.
Even now there are many households where the girl tends to shy away watching an ad of sanitary napkin with the male members of the family.
Not restricting only to India this topic needs a strong worldwide awareness instead of just a taboo.