Posts tagged #menstrual taboos

Bloody Brilliant Period Documentary

         Still taken from 'The Week' by the Thinx team. 

         Still taken from 'The Week' by the Thinx team. 

This is an amazing documentary about menstruation and the stigmas and taboos that still surround it. In fact, Miki Agrawal, the founder and social entrepreneur of Thinx period underwear and the narrator of this video states that the she discovered that the word taboo itself stems from the word tapau which means menstruation. She is incredulous as she states this fact and I couldn't help but be too. Periods are a natural monthly process that women have been going through since the beginning of time and still, in 2015, it is considered taboo to discuss them in many cultures, even our own depending on the time, place and audience. This video is doing it's part to help break that taboo but unfortunately, as the contents of this video show,  there is still a long way to go.

At one point they go to the streets of New York, undoubtedly one of the most cosmopolitan and modern cities of the world, and asked random men what they know about periods. I was flabbergasted when a seemingly older professional man said he thought that periods were brought on by stress! What? Seriously? 

As you probably know by now since you're reading this, I believe the Female Empowerment Bracelet can do its part by informing young women of what to expect when they're NOT expecting. The lack of knowledge surrounding the entire menstrual problem is still a problem all over the world, including places we think are highly evolved and progressive like the Canada, Great Britain and the good old US of A

Please watch the video below and let me know what you think in the comments section. 

Womanhood is Not a Witch

womanwitch.jpg

Today is Friday the 13th, considered by many to be an unlucky day. People who are afraid of this day suffer from paraskavedekatriophobia. Believe it or not, a great many people do fear this day, actually altering their routines to stay close to home and it is estimated that nearly a billion dollars in business are lost because of this. A billion dollars.  

However prevalent the superstition surrounding this day may be, I am certain many more people suffer from xenophobia; the fear of menstruation.

 

Superstitions can be insidious. You may not realize how ingrained certain customs and beliefs can be, and oftentimes not fully understand the reasons behind them.  Did you know that the superstition about walking under a ladder bringing you bad luck has its roots in medieval menstrual taboo? Relatively civilized humans once believed that walking under a menstruating woman (under a bridge or window for example) could cause some of her blood to land on them and thus befalling them with bad luck. 

The Curse, a book about the cultural history of menstruation by Janice Delaney, Mary Jane Lupton and Emily Toth begins as such:

Greater that the fear of death, dishonour, or dismemberment has been the primitive man’s respect for menstrual blood. The measures he has taken to avoid this mysterious substance have affected his mealtimes, his bedtimes, and his hunting season; and primitive woman, unable to separate herself from her blood, knew that upon her tabooed state depended the safety of the entire society.

There are so many menstrual taboos that it's mind-boggling, and the fact that many are still enforced to this day, even more so. Especially when you consider that many are based on antiquated writings by the likes of Pliny the Elder.

Here are some examples of taboos from around the world regarding menstruation and menstruating women:

  • In the Phillippines it is believed that if you wash your face in your first menstrual blood you will be blessed with clear skin ever after.
  • In Sumatra women are forbidden from the rice field whilst menstruating.
  • In South Africa, Kaffir tribes insist that women who are menstruating must not drink milk or else the cow will die. (This withholding actually lasts for 2 weeks.)
  • Galela women must not enter tobacco fields whilst menstruating.
  • Women in the Bahamas must not drink milk or eat meat but rather drink beer and eat a vegetarian diet at that time of the month.
  • Jewish women are taught they are unclean when on their periods and anything they touch or sit upon is likewise unclean.
  • In many parts of India women are banished from the kitchen and temple when they are menstruating and often must live in menstrual huts for the duration of their periods.

Well, it's now 2014 and it seems high time to put these menstrual superstitions to rest once and for all. We now know that menstrual blood, far from being poisonous and deadly, is actually very much a life force that can heal. We understand it is a privilege to be a woman and have such a continual life force flowing inside us. Blood may not be pretty but it is beautiful because it represents the most sacred gift of the universe; life itself.

Women need not be worshipped nor scorned for this but accepted and appreciated.

Here's an interesting video created by Menstrupedia, an Indian based organization whose goal is to educate young girls and women and their families about all things menstrual in a country that still adheres to archaic rituals and beliefs. 

Isn't is time that menstruation is recognized for what is actually and factually is; a normal, biological function of the female body? And while we're at it, to view Friday the 13th as just another day?

On an interesting note, please be aware that it is a full moon tonight. Apparently this is the last full moon on a Friday the 13th for quite some time...some say it will be as many as 35 years before this particular phenomenon occurs again. Enjoy it! 

Tag Cloud Block
This is an example. Double-click here and select a page to create a cloud of its tags or categories. Learn more
Posted on June 13, 2014 and filed under news.