Doesn’t Shakti Menstruate?

Raja Festival, Odisha

In Indian context, Menstruation of a woman is a subject to be hushed and treated with lot of hypocrisy. Even one of the prominent brand name for Sanitary napkins is “Whisper”. As if this natural phenomenon of menstruation is a taboo, a disease and the woman becomes untouchable, suddenly every month. The very biological quality, symbolic of the power of reproduction of a female which should be celebrated instead, becomes a mental torture for her. She should hide in a cage as prescribed by our patriarchal society. The divine quality of the power of womb capable of creation of entire human kind is so ill-treated.

I feel menstruation is empowering the women to be in harmony with nature as the length of our menstrual cycles are synced up with the waxing and waning of the moon, occurring around every 28 days. Thus women are more aligned with nature biologically and withdraw energy from the nature as a creator.

Why Should There Be Shame Around Menstruation Asks Twinkle Khanna

Even in the silicon valley of Gurgaon, a posh city inhabited by urbans, I witnessed a discussion on a portal of women where even in today’s times still the women can’t participate in major Puja in their own house. They can’t enter Puja room, can’t fast during Navratris. One particular instance was that a lady was so excited for her housewarming puja for which she had dreamt since years and just because she was undergoing menstruation, she had to stay away from everything. Isn’t this sheer hypocrisy?

A festival where a Goddess, a female form is worshiped and other woman at home is not allowed due to her female characteristics.

This reminds me of a poem of mine, aptly emphasizing this:-

Woman is named with a prefix of Wo

To mark that ability of carrying another being

That Womb, terming her a Woman

Or is it the Woes?

She goes through being her

Being the earth to nurture

To let the being blossom

Providing the nutrition to prosper

Without any ado

Yet go through feeling less than the other

She is also of the same gender

Of that Devi enshrined in the temple

Are Devis less of a woman?

I don’t think so

Then Devis must be getting naked

While they consummated

Are Devis less of a woman?

I don’t think so

Then Devis must be dancing

While they rejoiced

Are Devis less of a woman?

I don’t think so

Then Devis must be getting impure

While they menstruated

Why don’t we decide then?

To keep the Devi away from the temple during periods

To call that Devi names if she made her own decisions

To restrict that Devi within our limits

To molest that Devi if she wore less clothes

To keep that Devi mum while we talked

Why don’t we decide then?

For the woman at home, and that Devi in the temple

To apply the same rules

Or just acknowledge that Wo of the Woman

That Wo which stands for Wonder

Menstrual Hygiene Day

Menstrual Hygiene Day

It’s time to herald a change, to talk about menstruation in our society boldly. Get creative and spread this message of respecting the female form embracing all its characteristics and cycles with dignity.  It’s time to letting go of ways or beliefs and attitudes that no longer serve – both metaphorically with  courage and intentions and literally elevation of society with the blood. It’s time when a woman doesn’t need to hush about periods at home or workplace. It’s time to claim your equal space on earth and celebrate the characteristics of your own form i.e. female and menstruate happily with no taboos. It’s time to take measures towards menstrual hygiene and awareness.  It’s time for a woman to transform from She to Shakti and get empowered.

Meenakshi M Singh is Founder – SheTheShakti Inc and Author, Award Winning Poet.
Views expressed are the author’s own