‘a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women.’

Take a look at these pictures – do you find them offensive? Should they be banned? Why or why not?

period.

(a photo series shot by sisters rupi and prabh kaur.  art direction by rupi kaur.)

 

i bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. my womb is home to the divine. a source of life for our species. whether i choose to create or not. but very few times it is seen that way. in older civilizations this blood was considered holy. in some it still is. but a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women. the sexualization of women. the violence and degradation of women than this. they cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that. but will be angered and bothered by this. we menstruate and they see it as dirty. attention seeking. sick. a burden. as if this process is less natural than breathing. as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. as if this process is not love. labour. life. selfless and strikingly beautiful.

Do you agree with BlogwatiG below? I do. 

Pregnancy is beautiful. If everyone who ever had a baby, actually put up pictures of the ‘process’, instead of pictures of welcoming their bundle of joy, the term population explosion might have not existed. But motherhood is sold as dignified beauty, ah but [only] when a married woman does that. Just my thinking.

Are these pictures making me uncomfortable? The first time, they did. The second time I was taken back to school when I’d accompany girls home when they got ‘stained’. They’d be broken for this happened in school. The boys would snigger. I had no clue coz I had not got my period yet. Mom never told me till I did. That girl’s discomfort would unnerve me. Whenever a girl carried a sweater, even in the summer heat, we knew it was for ‘protection’.

The opinion I have is, if this was a curry stain on the shirt, or of boot polish on the pant, it would be another stain. But it is blood…..and we are most uncomfortable with it. Maybe, that’s what attention she is trying to draw. Or maybe, that’s what I saw……and you guys didn’t. BTW, none of the pictures are unreal. It is what happens. I identify with the hot water bag the most, coz I have fainted on almost all stations on Western Railway and have been brought home by complete strangers.

The chances of teenagers having seen porn is higher, than being educated about their bodily changes. My daughter is on a field trip. When she comes back, I am going to show her these pictures and tell her, she needs no sweater to protect her. This might happen to her, who knows, but she need not live with the ‘stigma’ of a ‘red blood stain’.

Related Posts:

If men could menstruate, this is how little boys would react to their first period.

Some doors are different… they are closed for fifty percent of the population.

Should women go to this temple?

Sex Education has nothing to do with Blue Films.

Being untouchable during periods.

Nepal: Custom & Dangers of Isolation of Women During Menstruation

Have you heard about the menstrual cup?

53 thoughts on “‘a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women.’

  1. At a personal level the image seems voyeuristic. While I am not shy about having periods or talking about what happens when I have them, I still consider it a private affair just like any other bodily function. I wouldn’t seek out images of someone urinating or bathing or making love with their partner or even picking their nose, so why of a woman having her period?

    If we are to open up a dialogue, however, we can’t begin with a statement, “Women occasionally stain their clothes during periods. Discuss” and politely sit back and wait for a thoughtful conversation to happen. We begin by rousing people to talk. In that context, the image is perfect.

    Yes, we need to lose the shame associated with periods. Yes, we need to be able to ignore the occasionally piece of stained clothing (a woman with constantly stained clothing might have some issues with health or hygiene), Yes, we need to stop making women feel apologetic for having periods. And yes, we need to have healthier conversations with our children and teens.

    The most disturbing consequence of silence, IMO is that we never think about our periods. We never try to understand what is normal and we ignore things like excessive bleeding or extreme pain – things that could be signs of something more serious. We let doctors label our periods “irregular” just because we don’t have the textbook 28 day cycle. We don’t understand when we’re doing ok and when something is out of sync. All this is a consequence of the silence. I find that the more “educated” we are, the less polite it is to talk about these things. My mom’s generation was so open about discussing these things with at least other women. Now? It’s become something so shameful. I wrote about this: http://www.simblybored.com/2014/10/whispering-about-whisper/

    Also, I’m not sure if @Boiling is commenting here these days but I found a great series of posts on menstruation on her blog if someone’s interested: https://boilingwok.wordpress.com/menstruation/

    Whew! If you’re still reading at this point, thank you!🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • “We let doctors label our periods “irregular” just because we don’t have the textbook 28 day cycle.”

      Yeah. What’s with that? And why are all the medication/pills designed to make you follow that rigid cycle? Why can’t doctors cater to each person’s individual needs rather than forcing some textbook versions of ‘truths’ on their bodily functions?

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      • I don’t know about the 28 day period, but not everyone has a “regular” period. Sometimes when a period is longer or shorter, it might signal a problem. I think we need to be educated about what goes on inside the uterus and why we have a different period.
        Sometimes ignoring an “irregular” period can cause issues.

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      • Yes!!! I remember skipping out two consecutive swimming lessons because I had my period for nine days straight at 13. It’s perfectly normal to have irregular cycles when you’re younger right?but the swimming teacher scolded me and told me to ask my mother to take me to the hospital because something was evidently “wrong” with my body. I was so humiliated. Of course many girls used this excuse to get out of swimming, but still!

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        • Yes, so much shaming. I remember a teacher in school saying periods are just normal (so far so good) and there’s no need to appear dull and lose energy just because you have them. How about acknowledging hormones and educating girls about how they can overcome the effects? Nopes. Shaming. Plain and simple.

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        • That’s interesting. I learned swimming as an adult and the swimming instructor actually told us to join in even if we are bleeding because apparently it does not dirty the pool. In fact, she said it was good for cramps. It was nice to know that and actually it felt so comfortable!

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    • ‘We let doctors label our periods “irregular” just because we don’t have the textbook 28 day cycle’ – if the doctor is telling that 28 day cycle is only normal, then the doctor is just a bad one, please change to another doctor

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      • Fair point. But how many of us know enough to realize that we need to change to another doctor? And doctors who view 28 days as “most normal” are more common than we’d like to think. I’ve had one tell me that even if you’re regular at 35 days, you’re still irregular because “anything beyond 30 days is considered irregular”.

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  2. It makes me want to tear out my hair every time i see or hear about the shocking attitude of people towards something that is perfectly natural. I cannot speak for rural India, but at least in urban areas, there would be just a handful of people who are still ignorant about what a female goes through every month for a big duration of her life. But still, a majority, if not all, households (and specially the males) seem to assume that the females of their house are immune to this process.

    I have had the misfortune of talking to some females who justified why it was right to keep girls away from pickles or the places of worship during their menstrual days. It has been the practice to drive a concept into the minds of young girls that menstruation is something shamefully wrong happening to them every month. And they should better hide in a corner than let anyone else know about this in spite of undergoing severe physical discomfort and bear it quietly.

    The lack of awareness and means to properly tackle this completely natural process still leads to a huge number of adolescent girls dropping out of school in rural areas. Are we paying any attention to this big cause of illiteracy ? Specially when it is equally essential, if not more, for the females to be literate and educated.

    Also, as many schools in urban areas have started imparting health education to children, i have heard that usually the boys are made to leave when the girls are being educated about menstruation. But isn’t it necessary to include boys in the process of such information in order to sensitize them about this natural process instead of them eventually considering fellow girls as freaks ?

    Efforts like the one above are actually essential to make people understand the reality of something they try to assume is either funny (to ridicule females) or non-existent (regarding one’s female relatives). My take on this –

    http://mindzpeak.blogspot.in/2014/05/the-impure-cycle.html

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      • Yes, you are right, colonial hangover screwed up everything for the middle classes along with removal from the land, read urbanization.
        Rural kids grew up with animal husbandry practiced around them, they saw animals being born. I recall we I was about 5-6 we were at vacation in our native village from the city. One of the family cow was due, her water broke during the day all family member ran to help her. I saw the crowning happening very confused I asked my mother what was happening.
        She just dragged me away from there and asked an older cousin to take me to the sweet vendor to buy me sweets. My brain shut the whole thing off until few years ago when I started working on post colonial reclamation projects.
        My rural cousins had other issues of shame and stigma but I the urbanite had other confused fish to fry. I did not know the anatomy of act of sex until I got to MA (that is when I was in the hostel) because MBs were bad books so were hindi novels banned at my home.

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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    • That is a very good and healthy attitude Ramya.
      My mom never had a cramp ever. She never told me I am impure.She simply said stay away from God.Wash your hair when your period starts and ends.When I suffered cramps and vomiting and debilitating pain during my periods, she simply ignored me. Often, she would say to that I am lying. To get out if somethng.She would say this to my friends too. Right in front of me. Or she would walk away leaving me writhing in pain on the bed. No hot water bottle, no doctor visit,no home remedies.
      I grew up thinking that’s normal reaction of all moms. And that suffering ought to be borne in silence.

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      • After several years of bearing through severe pain, I learned that I have a uterine fibroid and that was what had been causing me grief. I found this out when I fell pregnant and we did the first ultrasound. Now my doctor prescribes me stronger pain medications to manage this because he knows how crazy the pain can be. Everyone from my mom to neighbors to friends to well meaning teachers basically asked me to suck it up. Someone could have helped me all along. Nobody even believed the kind of pain I was in. Having been in labor, I’ll say that my bad period can be almost 50% as bad as labor. Yup. That’s how bad it was.

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        • While growing up me and my sister suffered the most pain and 8-9 days was normal menstruation ! For the longest time ,my mom gave us hot water bottle ,hot raab to drink to check bloating ! Slowly we started doing these things on our own ! The doctor prescribed medication for pain which made me more uncomfortable- she had a standard line for us ‘after you have a baby pain will go away ‘ !
          I still have bad PMS …. though cramps are nonexistent and only 3 day period ! Now bloating nausea has taken over the cramps as I got older !
          My mom and dad were kindest people while we were growing up……..dad used to buy pads for us since we were 4 women in the house and Mom understood us and took care of us !

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  3. The first time I saw the photo (the one in this post), it was accompanied with a piece on how Instagram removed the photo twice and Rupi’s reaction to it. I thought she was really brave to put it up on Instagram – Instagram is where we showcase our lives – the good bits. Or that’s what my Instagram feed looks like anyway. Yes, there is the odd photo at a hospital but nothing too gory.
    But other than that, I really could not take my eyes off it. Which is exactly what I felt after seeing the photos following that link. Looking at the rest of her blog though puts it all in context that seeing a solo photo did not.
    I am rather voyeuristic when given the opportunity. And as a woman, I could identify with all those photos.
    So my views are:
    • I do not feel period related shame and on the odd occasion that I do stain myself (yes, even at work), I just casually carry on assuming no one will notice it. And take a shower/get changed the first opportunity I can.
    • I am okay with sharing period related gory details/pain I am feeling/etc., with men (partner, brother, etc.) and women close to me. I am more likely to share the same with women I am not close to mostly because it is a shared experience and they can empathise. With men (including male friends), I don’t feel comfortable (or necessary) sharing the details.
    • I think she should be allowed to post whatever she wants on her blog/Instagram – it is her prerogative. I don’t think they are offensive – I can look away if I do not want to see.

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  4. I agree with Simbly Bored about this being a personal bodily function and nothing to photograph and pass on. Just as I won’t photograph myself in the toilet, I won’t show my blood around either. And I don’t need to deliberately see other people’s bloody pictures. But if I had to choose between untouchability during menstruation days and passing around bloody images on the internet, I am wholly for the latter!

    Growing up, I was not taught at all that periods even happened until they just did one fine day. I was scared shit that I was now going to die as something had ruptured inside my body and I was bleeding to death. I ran to tell my dad, who did not even explain things and sent me to mum. Mum was even better as she told me stories about how now I have to be untouchable for three days every month as it was impure. I started bleeding at 12, and this was really the first time I rebelled against established norms.

    I always hated biology in school but I told my mother I would find out the scientific reasons if I had to become a doctor myself, and they sure wouldn’t include untouchability. I was so confident of this that I began to talk to people just to prove my point. Over the years, I began to gather information on how the reproductive system really works, but my mother never really wanted to discuss it. “This is how it’s done in the family” and that was good enough for her. Today, I find it a terrible thing to have taught a child, and I hope that the prevalence of this horrible and sexist custom decreases with time.

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    • “if I had to choose between untouchability during menstruation days and passing around bloody images on the internet, I am wholly for the latter!” So totally agree!

      And yes, I had a similar experience when I first started menstruating and I think that initial body shaming not only doesn’t go away so easily, it also manifests itself in other ways – developing breasts, for example becomes another shameful thing although breastfeeding is perfectly ok. Essentially we shame women for being women and it makes me sick to the core just how many fall for it…

      I really think you need strong eyes to live in India because you roll them so often they would pop out of their sockets otherwise😀

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      • My mother knew I was going to get periods some day but she chose not to tell me. When I got one it was a bloody mess, I was singing at the church choir and rode my bicycle home with my 5 yr younger brother sitting in the front and friend in the back when I alighted it was all bloody mess. Me scared and confused. Came home tried to hide the dress but mom came to know. she came fully charging how dare I did not know about it. I should have known about it because she knew it when she started periods; let us forget she had an older sister.
        Why the hell was she sending me to school if the teachers can’t even do this job of informing. The house was full of guests every body got lemonade on a hot summer day not me. No curds for me either. Will happen to you every month. Stay at home today and rest, here is a packet of carefree read and learn how to use it. It is something to be ashamed off, no one should come to know of it.
        Just like you I thought I’ll become a doctor and find out what happened.
        My mommy job is done. Today if I tell her this is what she did to me, first, she’ll deny it, second, if she agreed then she’ll say, how she did not know it any better then.
        Anyway, keeping women ignorant about their bodies and sexuality serves the society the fear is women will have fun and make men obsolete, so shame them and stigmatize them make slaves out of them.

        Peace,
        Desi Girl

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  5. The opinion I have is, if this was a curry stain on the shirt, or of boot polish on the pant, it would be another stain. But it is blood…..and we are most uncomfortable with it. —– I found this line very strong and thought provoking.

    All other bloodstains don’t create shame which menstrual blood stain creates. And why ? Maybe to show and internalize the fact that women are impure and hence they are inferior to men.

    I always use to ask this question from most of the women around me that its because of mensuration we can become mother then why we are stopped from praying and doing puja. Mothers are worshiped then why the process which makes us mother is looked down. Only one answer I got which was little bit convincing is that it carries dead cells so we should not do puja with dead cells on our bodies .

    But whole idea is to internalize the fact that women are inferior and they should feel ashamed of their bodies.

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    • Tulika, though I agree with your questioning the tradition of not letting girls worship during their menstrual days, I disagree with you being a little bit convinced by the ‘dead cells’ logic.

      Actually, we carry such a huge number of dead cells on our bodies all the time which would easily render the dead cells of menstruation almost insignificant. So if everything is fine if one worships while carrying dead cells on the skin, dead RBCs in the blood, even the ‘dead bodies’ of microbes on ourselves, what is so bad with dead uterine cells ?

      I think that any Goddess or God would feel more offended if one prays with foul thoughts in the mind rather than dead cells in the body.🙂

      Liked by 4 people

        • But you aren’t allowed to cut your hair (if you come from a very orthodox household). Brilliant logic, isn’t it?

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        • Well, old norms that were formed by great sages are misguided and out of line now. Those 4 days most women go through pain and uneasyness, so the idea was to give them total rest. Even the ayurveda says women should not do any work and take full rest on those 4 days and let the body go through the hormonal transformation. But 4 days of rest started culminating into impurity and restricting temple visits. Its sad how a simple rule made for women’s health turned into women’s shame.

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  6. There are pictures on Instagram that show drunk frat boys vomiting their guts out after a night of irresponsible binge drinking, but no one seems to find that offensive, so it’s difficult to understand why a picture of a woman menstruating suddenly violates Instagram’s community standards.

    I understand that on a personal level, some may feel uncomfortable viewing the image. There’s nothing wrong with that. Most humans are instinctively queasy towards bodily discharge, be it blood, saliva, urine, vomit, or menstrual discharge.
    But at a social level, menstruation is singled out as especially disgusting, and I find that truly ridiculous.

    There is nothing particularly special about the menstrual process. It occurs in most primates, and is a natural by-product of the unique way in which primate embryos embed themselves during implantation. Such deep implantation requires a thick lining, which cannot be reabsorbed completely, as it is in other mammals.

    Not only are women told to stay quiet about menstruation-related topics, men aren’t given opportunities or encouragement to learn about these natural processes either. Therefore, you have a generation that goes out into the world seeing menstruation as something that’s taboo and disgusting, and to be brushed under the carpet rather than talked openly about.

    That said, I was quite happy to see a successful Indian crowdfunding project ( Menstrupedia) which aims to publish comics that teach young girls the scientific facts about their bodies, including and especially, related to menstruation. Many parents aren’t too sure how to approach the subject, even if they want to, and I think a comic like this – written for the Indian vernacular – could be quite useful. The good part is that the project got great funding from both male and female patrons. It’s a sign of the times to come, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. There is lack of awareness about all these things, Though it is a very natural and important physiological function, it is look upon as a shameful thing.
    Embarrassment due to stains has happened with me during teenage days.
    The other side is there is lot of stigma attached to entire menstruation. And the worst part is we females are to be blamed, our elder aunts and grandmothers have created and hyped the so called ” impurity” quotient to it.

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  8. She is making a statement against body shaming women. In this context, the photographs are not so much about a personal body function and more about pride in one’s body, validating something as healthy, natural, and human. The opposite of silencing and shaming is flaunting and being in your face. That’s what the artist/photographer is trying to do here (as artists tend to do) – use unexpected, even jarring images to make a point. It’s as if she’s saying, “I’m so sick of this silence. Look at me when I’m menstruating. Look at this blood. It’s not going to kill you.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • I understand your point. But do you think it serves the purpose? We cannot wish away the fact that ours is a country caught up, in many ways, in the past. As a society, we are just opening up to the concept of gender equality, personal space, questioning of traditions etc. When a society like this is suddenly propelled into another sphere, we can never expect a healthy, sustained transformation, only a jarring reaction. We cannot reach “validating something as healthy, natural, and human” stage from “silencing and shaming” stage in one step.

      Personally, my approach would be to encourage and engage in healthy discussions at family/school level and bring small and sustainable changes, that would eventually transform us in the longer run. Imagine if something like sex education in school faces resistance, how much effort an approach like this would need…

      At some level, I think the same is happening to the feminist movement in India. Feminism in India today has become synonymous with “anti-male” attitude, though nothing can be further from the truth and ends up evoking defensive reactions rather than an engaging debate. And that is a pity, since this is the closest we have come in ages in highlighting the gender imbalance in our society.

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      • “We cannot reach “validating something as healthy, natural, and human” stage from “silencing and shaming” stage in one step.”
        Anon, the photographer’s intention is not to have us make this transition in one step. It is to encourage us to have a conversation about the shame associated with menstruation. Like the one we’re having right now on this blog.
        There are probably men and women reading this conversation, thinking for the first time about how they may have unintentionally contributed to this environment of shame and silence. For the first time, they may be thinking of menstruation as nothing more than a health issue.

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  9. I don’t know if I want to see these images !when in periods,I don’t go out of my way to hide it but I don’t even want it on display !
    Pregnancy and childbirth is messy and uncomfortable just like piles and anal fissures are ,…..nobody talks about either !
    I guess its the same reason nobody wants to visit cancer patient,…. Especially chemotherapy, balding ones …
    People feel uncomfortable, want to see pretty, rosy things !
    If one is in pain or in embarrassing situation in life deal with it alone,….that’s what society says !

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      • I generalised too much !
        Some people don’t ….when my mom undergoing chemotherapy I used warn relatives not to talk about her hair or wince at her and check their facial expressions ! Most people didn’t visit her – and again after a year it metastasised to brain ,her bald head made her feel ugly !
        Nobody visited her much !
        I gained notoriety because I made sure that dumb people and relatives controlled their words and facial expressions in front of her !
        So,I guess it happens in my side of the world only !!

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  10. I didn’t like the pic. And I am equally against shaming menstruation.

    I go and buy pads without any hesitation. I do not practice any of the rituals that are associated with menstruation.
    But
    I don’t declare it in public either.

    Just by putting pic out there, we can’t hope for menstruation becoming less of a taboo in our society.

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    • We can. I don’t know about you, but I have woken up countless times in the past 29 years since puberty and found that I have stained my pajamas, or the bed sheets.

      By normalizing staining and spotting and by removing the visceral disgust that we feel at the sight of menstrual blood, we can dismantle centuries of silence and shame around menstruation, and female sexuality in general.

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      • There are many such issues which need ‘normalizing’ – postpartum urinary incontinence, for example. How do we deal with such issues? Put pictures of the actual thing? Or try to spread the awareness?
        I believe talking about an issue helps in normalizing it. Pictures are a very strong medium too. But I personally do not prefer too much on display. One can use abstract images and still get the point across.
        We keep talking about how important it is to feel comfortable about using the actual words for our private parts. Vagina. But do we need pictures to helps us do that?

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        • I may be wrong about this, but I believe many people would be extremely uncomfortable having in-person, face-to-face conversations about post-partum urinary incontinence and menstrual leaking.

          That’s why pcitures are a great way to get a discussion started, in my opinion. Maybe it’s just me, but I have never understood why so many people are horrified at the sight of menstrual blood.

          I understand the general disgust that body fluids elicit in people, but they’re still very much a part of being human, aren’t they?

          Somehow, people expect me to burst into flames when they point out that I have a stain on my clothes. There are times when you stain when you are outdoors and are unable to change.

          It’s foolish to expect a woman to cringe in shame just because she has a wee stain on her clothing.

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  11. Let’s talk a little about people’s emotional responses to male and female genitalia and we will understand why menstruation is shameful.

    Everyone’s heard the old joke about women — “How can you trust something that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die?”

    There, in the joke’s misogynistic punchline, is probably the nub of the problem. A menstruating woman, for some reason, symbolizes the uncontrollable aspect of the feminine.

    Female sexuality is always regarded as much more mysterious, negative and uncontrollable than male sexuality, which is seen to be harmless, understandable, almost endearing.

    I think it’s an unconscious attempt to come to terms with the tremendous power women have to create life. As women, we are conditioned to feel ashamed of our reproductive capabilities.

    If you really think about it, almost all patriarchal cultures view the vagina with something bordering on horror — the idea of the vagina dentata. In comparison, the phallus is seen to be mighty, potent, noble; the font of life.

    Most women are ashamed of their lady parts. How many women think that their vaginas are gross, disgusting and shameful? I’d say the majority of Indian women.

    How many men think that their penises are amazing, fantastic and all-round awesome? Have you ever some across a man who thinks that his penis is disgusting; something to be ashamed of?

    How many women have you met who feel disgust when they think of their vaginas — that dark, icky, unmentionable abomination?

    Both are two different sets of genitalia. They both serve important reproductive functions. They are neither mysterious, nor uncontrollable, nor sacred nor the tool of the devil.

    They are a result of millennia of evolution. They just are.

    Yet, look at the symbolism and mythology built around them — the penis is mighty, powerful and glorious. The vagina is an unmentionable, shameful tunnel that all women are ashamed to possess.

    Why this vilification of female genitalia? If we could understand this vilification of female sexuality, we would probably understand all these menstrual taboos.

    I myself have never seen my vagina, or my menstrual blood, as icky, shameful, mysterious or secret.

    Just yesterday, while visiting family, I was asked to move out of the bedroom adjoining the puja room because my period had arrived.

    I was also told not to reveal this to the matriarch of the family, an 87 year old woman who would have banished me to a corner of a bedroom, and unleashed all manner of barbaric menstrual prohibitions on me.

    I had to spend three days, furtively smuggling my used napkins to the garbage bin outside the house, so the matriarch would not discover my shameful secret.

    When my host’s son asked me why I had moved out of my assigned room, I had to hem and haw and drop hints. I am 42, why should I feel like a criminal for getting my period?

    The day we accept female sexuality to be as inherently normal, desirable and valued as male sexuality, is the day women’s bodies will just be seen as human bodies, neither objects to be played with, nor shunned for the disgusting things that they do.

    We cannot change men who think that vaginas and menstrual fluids are ugly, gross and disgusting. Yet, as women, can stop other women because they have a vagina, and a uterus capable of growing a baby?

    That’s really all that there is to female reproductive parts. They are neither sacred, not shameful, nor a threat to civilization. They just are, as is a kidney, or an elbow.

    Liked by 3 people

        • Nice comment neha…. All said but how do we change the mindset of orthodox in laws?? Iam from an orthodox Tamil brahmin family and married to one…. Imagine my plight during periods…. These are the rules to be followed during periods 1. Do not touch any clothes..2. Sit in a corner 3. Don’t touch kids.. If accidentally you touch kids remove their dresses 4 have separate plate and glass for food 5. Done enter kitchen; in laws room etc. This is just half of the rules we follow…. The lady during periods is completely isolated from everyone and everything…. In this situation how do we make them understand?? Not only my mother in law my hubby is also very orthodox…. How to change his mindset???

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        • Replying to S. You will just have to stop following all these restrictions so meticulously.

          Start slowly. Begin by insisting on touching your children when you are menstruating. When you are reprimanded, say that it’s inhuman to prevent a mother from touching her own children.

          It may take you a couple of years, but refuse to budge. Expect unpleasantness, arugments and emotional manipulation.

          I’m sorry, but the truth is that nobody is going to give women respect and freedom on a platter.

          Given how male-dominated our society is, women will never be offered respect and justice as a matter of course.

          It’s going to be difficult, nasty and unpleasant, but it’s the only way to change your situation.

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    • Nice comment! There are euphemisms in Tamil like “athula illai”, literally translated as “not at home” even when you can actually see the person in front of you. It used to puzzle me as a child. Well, it still puzzles me now! Nowadays, I am pretty much open about my menstruation days and if I am having cramps, then I don’t hesitate to talk about it. It is extremely humiliating to have to hide like a criminal and be thrown food at like a dog. This is one practice I am so vocal about confronting!

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      • @fem
        There is an exact same euphemism in Telugu too. Not at home is used because women are not allowed to enter the house during menstruation. I have actually seen women in some villages sitting on the steps leading to the backyard, outside the home. So they are ‘outside’ or in other words ‘not in/at home’.

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    • Loved your comment, Neha. Never thought of it this way. Indeed, how many men think of their penis as wonderful and how much it is the other way around for women and their vaginas. So true. I can specially relate because I realized just now that I do this with my children as well. I have a daughter and a son and the son is younger. I’ve read a lot of books that say it is good to teach children the proper names of their genitalia rather than other names, so when my son was 2 I promptly told him the names, penis and even testes. But I have till date not told my daughter the proper name for her parts. Somehow felt ashamed to tell her the name and this was not even a decision I made consciously. It’s only very recently after she asked me that i told her it was called the vagina.

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  12. To me its personal bodily function, i wo00uld not put that up inthe internet just like i wouldn’t put up an image of me soaping my underarms. but thats just me. I fully agree that it opens up a dialogue and hence i also agree with putting up the pictures🙂
    I dont think it’s abig deal, i don’t follow any special rules and my 9 yr old knows a bit about it and doesn’t think it’s anything horrid, This year i postponed my 2 week trip to India to be after the period simply because it’s tiring for me on day1 and uncomfortable for 2 days. i dont prefer to be in india then, also why ruin my vacation i plan all my vacations around my cycle. and my husband and sons know to check my calender before ever ever thinking of a trip, especially a beach trip. or else they will fetching and carrying and catering to my complaints. I look forward to this stopping, i’m done with kids and as such have no use for a uterus anymore. . I’ll keep the ovaries to regulate my hormones but as far as the nuisance of periods, i can do without it.

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  13. Okay, so I’m late to the party (again), and most of what I wanted to say has been said, so I’ll cut my opinion short and simply say that I like the why behind the posting of these pictures. I don’t like the how>, but I’d rather bring up the topic and have unpleasant (to me) pictures floating about than not talk about it at all!

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  14. Pingback: “Porn is a discourse about sex and works like an educator about sex and gender.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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