I’m baffled by the the age old practise of questioning and restricting a woman’s faith during the time of menstruation. I did not evoke the Devil for this very natural phenomenon, God blessed me with the ability to create life inside of me and the inconvenience during my period is a small price to pay for such an extraordinary gift.
Since ages I’ve come across fellow women from all religions, ponder over the expectations of their religious leaders. Women must not enter places of worship during their ‘unclean’ time. I wonder why many believe that God would create me in his own image , with love, bless me with the miraculous boon of procreation and then choose to brand me ‘unclean’ and ‘impure’ for portions of my life .
The Travancore Devasworn Board president, Prayar Gopalkrishnan recently said that women could enter Sabarimala after going through machines that scanned whether they were menstruating or not. It’s to test if she’s unclean and impure or not. He clearly said, “Now there are machines which can scan bodies and check for weapons. There will be a day when a machine is invented to scan if it is the right time for a woman to enter the temple. When that machine is invented, I will think about letting women inside.”
This shrine, historically, has been open to only male devotees because women experience menstruation and that is traditionally considered ‘impure’. We were not allowed in Sabarimala anyway, why this outcry now? We have been long suppressed by the omnipotent patriarchal society. The severe austerities and rituals that Sabarimala devotees are expected to perform before their pilgrimage cannot be performed by women because of their ‘incapability’.
With Nikita Azad’s open letter to the Devaswom, and Facebook campaign titled, ‘Happy to Bleed’, the social media was flooded with users posting pictures of tampons and sanitary napkins with the message #HappytoBleed. I wanted to join the efforts to tell I am proud to bleed and if women didn’t bleed, life would cease to exist. I questioned myself multiple times before uploading my picture on my Facebook profile. There is that social stigma, that shame that’s inherent in every woman since the time she’s a little girl. It’s something to hide , not show off. Things seem to be getting better in part atleast. Many right thinking men have joined in to shame regressive patriarchal rules too.
People have over the ages questioned our cleanliness quotient during our period. In the olden days there was a lack of feminine products that could ensure a comfortable and more hygienic care. However things are different now. There are enough things from Tampons to scientifically designed sanitary towels along with feminine washes that ensure that we go through this special time with absolute hygiene and minimal discomfort.
In any case, its my body that obeys the system God installed in me, my heart remains the same throughout the month. I’m not ashamed. I deserve to visit any religious place and worship freely irrespective of my period. I hope the people who are judging me and considering subjecting me to some scanning machinery before ‘they’ can decide whether I’m fit for worshiping a universal God are listening.