One of the early stories told by my mom was that when Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati were young, it was the men that would get their periods and bleed from their armpits. One day when Shiva had to go on a war, he couldn’t. Parvati being the eternal best wife that she is, told Shiva that being a woman she can hide the blood in between her legs, and she wouldn’t need to go out either. That’s how woman started menstruating. Reality dawned on me later that this was a folklore from generations and menstruation is a unique biological feature of female form of human species which is till date surrounded by myths and secrecy.
One of the most common myths is that menstruating women are unhygienic and unclean and hence the food they prepare, or handle can get contaminated. In some of the households, they were not allowed to touch preserved -sour foods like pickles.
In ancient times, women were given 3-5 days of rest in the house during the menstrual cycle as they indulged in lot of physical activities. This in addition to myth about the hygiene, women were forced to stay passive and away during this period. The myths around this topic kept on increasing as days, years and centuries passed.
With great advancement in science, medicine and education, people started realizing and respecting this as a natural process and a part of life. Woman also started breaking barriers and entered bastion that was once dominated by men. This has helped change the whole perception about the woman on periods. There are still some parts of India where these myths continue. We all have to have to work towards fair and equitable treatment for them.
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