Menstruation myths: Why Parineeti Chopra is absolutely right about periods

Menstruation myths: Why Parineeti Chopra is absolutely right about periods

Don't believe everything you hear! Here is the why the taboos associated with periods existed and why they do not apply in our lives today.

Written by Pavitra Sampath |Published : September 1, 2014 6:07 PM IST

Why parineeti is absolutely right about periodsRecently Parineeti Chopra was at an event for Whisper sanitary napkins. The brand is currently running the 'Touch the Pickle campaign' where they aim to dispel common myths about periods and all the taboos that surrounding it.

What was really interesting was the fact that one male journalist who was to ask Parineeti a question, was a bit embarrassed and let's say a bit ignorant about the facts when it came to women and periods. In fact he was so mortified at the thought of saying the word 'periods' that he chose to call it a 'problem'. Now, being her unabashed self, Parineeti chided the journalist about how little he knew about women. While the lady really helped voice our sentiments , there a few myths that need to be busted. Here are 5 common myths and taboos related to periods, why they came about and why they no longer hold any truth in today's context.

Taboo 1: Don't touch the pickle

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Why did it come about?

Pickles are basically fruits or vegetables that are fermented. The salt and other masalas added were meant to preserve the fruit or vegetable since they had antimicrobial properties. Now when this delicate ecosystem is disturbed by the introduction of organisms from our body (like those present on our hands) the pickle can go bad. And this is why most women are told not to touch the pickle during their periods. Here's why: In the olden days the sanitary measures women had were not as advanced as the ones we have today. In those days women often used cloth as a sanitary napkin and would reuse them after washing. This lack of sanitation and contact with the organisms on one's hands was the main reason behind this taboo.

Why it no longer holds any relevance

This theory does not apply in today's day-and-age where we all have access to sanitary napkins, running water, better sanitation and modern methods to stay hygienic.

Taboo2: Don't go near God/temples or holy plants

Why did it come about?

This taboo is based on two beliefs -- cleanliness and the energies one's body. Every human has seven essential chakras in their body. These chakras are energy centres and help keep the body healthy. The unique quality of these chakras is the fact that they rotate in a particular direction and are highly sensitive to other energies. During a woman's periods the chakra present at the Kundalini tends to rotate in the opposite direction to the direction it normally rotates in. Making a woman suseptible to imbalance in her energies. When we visit a temple or some other holy place the bells that are rung and sounds of chants give out certain energies that are meant to keep your chakras in balance. When the two opposite energies clash, it can result in an imbalance of a woman's energies since the vibrations in a temple or holy place are opposite to the rotation of the kundalini chakra in a menstruating woman.

Another reason for these taboos is the fact that a woman is considered 'unclean' during her periods and therefore is banned from visiting these places or touching hold plants.

Why it no longer holds any relevance

While the chakra theory might still hold some relevance, the belief that a woman is unclean is absolutely baseless. Therefore while we respect religious sentiments it is essential to say that praying and meditating in a quiet space is not bad for a woman during her periods, in fact it can actually help beat the pain and cramping a woman experiences during her periods. Mediation also helps calm the mind, release happy hormones and beat stress -- all factors that help a woman tide through her periods.

Taboo3: Don't sleep on the bed

Why did it come about?

In the olden days since women used cloth as sanitary napkins there were high chances of leakage and therefore staining of the mattress, bed sheets, etc.

Why it no longer holds any relevance

Again a notion that does not apply in today's day. A woman who has her periods now has a range of products she can use to avoid staining. Right from extra long sanitary napkins, Sanitary napkins specially made for women who have a heavy flow to tampons.

Taboo 4: Don't go into the kitchen

Why did it come about?

This again is a taboo that is based on the fact that women were considered unclean during their periods. Another reason women were asked not to enter the kitchen was the fact that in those days women would squat on the floor and cook on a traditional chulha. While this activity was extremely cumbersome, the other efforts required to cook an do other household chores took a toll on a woman's body. Being that a woman would be extremely tired and weak (owing to poor nutrition) during those days this was a measure to help her relax.

Why it no longer holds any relevance

With all the modern inventions we have today, entering the kitchen should no more be a taboo, periods or no periods.

Myth 5: Stay in isolation and don't go out

Why did it come about?

Let's accept it, when we have our periods all most of us want to do is rest and lay in bed. Isolating a woman in those days was a way to promote relaxation and a way to allow the body to completely recuperate. In those days women had very tough lives, they had to do a lot of manual labour. For example drawing water from a well was the only way to get water for household use, lifting heavy objects off the floor, cooking on a chulha, sweeping and swabbing mud floors, etc. all this took a lot of physical effort and isolating a woman was meant to give her a four day break every month. Another reason was that during a woman's periods she wasn't allowed to do a plethora of things like sleeping on the bed, going into the kitchen and a whole plethora of activities, so this was also a way to help her basically stay out of the way. But this ritual did have its upside. The other women in the house would cook special food for the menstruating lady. This food was cooked with certain spices like pepper to help reduce pain, improve digestion and beat pain.

Why it no longer holds any relevance

While we all would love for some down time during our periods, menstruating is no reason to stay isolated from others, not go out or enjoy life. At the end of the day it should be your choice to rest or live it up.

Finally, it is essential for you to remember that the reason these taboos were present was to help a woman healthy. But all these beliefs soon lost their scientific meaning and became blind beliefs. At the end of the day it is up to you, a woman, to decide what you want to believe and what you want to discard.

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