Holy Hormones Journal: Shaming girls over menstruation. In developing world countries girls are separated from their homes and families during this monthly act. In the industrialized world – young girls are separated from their minds, their self and their families with the prescribed use of synthetic steroid hormone contraception that changes how the brain functions. Lets look at the real issue. Misogyny and the treatment of women as ‘breeders’ and as sexual objects has to go.
Separation during menstruation: Tradition or torment?
By Allyn Gaestel
May 29, 2013
Wearing a fitted pink sweatshirt that hugged her slim hips and a hot pink bunny hat that highlighted her bright upturned cheeks, 15-year old Puja Kunwar showed me the tiny hut where she sleeps when she is on her period. The squat structure looked even more cramped in contrast to the family’s sturdy two-story home just across the small courtyard.
In the district of Achham in Far Western Nepal, most families still practice chaupadi, the monthly separation of women deemed impure during menstruation. The tradition has roots in Hinduism—though Hindu scholars in the capital denounce the interpretation—and many locals firmly believe that to break the tradition would anger the gods and wreak havoc on their communities. Each month women sleep in a small hut called a goth, in the stable or outside. They are considered polluting, so they do not touch their family; they eat separately and cannot go in the house.
The practice is slowly shifting, with the help of new roads, more televisions, and countless organizations running anti-chaupadi campaigns. But across the district women see the practice differently. Some despise it and some love it, which raises complicated questions for organizations trying to stop the practice. Who should decide what is best for Achhami women? Is chaupadi a beloved tradition or a manifestation of extreme discrimination? Are the women who like it oppressed to the point of oblivion? Or is their perspective as valid as women’s activists trying to end the practice?
Puja is of the set that wishes she didn’t have to practice chaupadi, but she doesn’t feel empowered to stop, “even if I tell them, they will not let me stay in the house—they will be angry,” she explained, “only one saying that I want to stay in the house, it won’t work. All of us have to say it.”