Is Menstruation a taboo?
Menstruation is a physiological process and it is part of our normal body functions. The problem is that all over the world it is still seen as something wrong, and it is very hard to find a society that does not treat period as a dangerous or shameful thing or simply it's a taboo. Even developed countries like the United Kingdom still talk very little about menstruation, treating it like a taboo.
Around the world, there are many places with different outlooks of menstruation. Some are positive, but most are negative. Nevertheless, here are some of the most bizarre and different ways in which countries deal with menstruation.
In Bolivia, menstruation blood is seen as something nasty that can transmit diseases. That is why many women feel ashamed of having their period, and it is not unusual to hear that some girls carry their used pads in their backpacks and purses. Moreover, some girls are instructed not to touch babies when on their period since that can make the babies sick.
Although it is not widespread, some parts of Ghana have a cute tradition when girls have their menarche. They sit under a ceremonial umbrella and the family gives them presents and celebrate the little girl entrance in adulthood.
Although Japan is considered a developed country, the truth is that in relation to menstruation, it can be quite retrograde. There is a tradition of not letting women be sushi chefs. Why? Because it is said that during menstruation, women’s palate gets different. In sum, they have an imbalance in their taste. Right now, women in Japan are trying to end this tradition.
In India, monthly bleeding is just a big taboo. In fact, more than that, there are people in India that believe that periods are not normal, being therefore a dirty thing that happens to women. It is not uncommon to hear that women can not cook for other people or enter a place of worship and prayer while menstruating. To make matters worse, pads and tampons are expensive and, in some places, hard to get. That means that many girls and women skip school and work during their menses.
It is quite common to hear about the tradition in Nepal regarding menstruation. In fact, a few years ago, all media outlets talked about girls that died because of the way they are treated during the time they are menstruating. For many years, women were banished from their houses while on their period because they were considered impure. They were sent to sheds where they stay by themselves. This tradition called Chhaupadi was banished in 2017 after a girl was reported dead. Even so, there are some villages that still practice this custom.
Native American cultures
In some native American cultures, the menarche is seen as an important mark and therefore it is celebrated. When girls get their period, they go through the berry ceremony. They go into a lodge for as long as the older women in the family decide - usually, it does not take longer than four days. During that time, they are only allowed to eat soup and they spend their time praying for their future.