Are Women Still Labelled Impure Just Because They Menstruate ?

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A shocking divorce plea submitted by a city-based man in Vadodara states that his ‘faith was violated’ because his wife was on her periods on their wedding day.

The said man married his wife in January who works as a teacher. One would think that the conversations around menstruation have helped destigmatising it and yet there is a city-based professional who is divorcing his wife because of how she couldn’t control her menstrual cycle on their wedding day.

What did the divorce plea say?

The plea submitted in a family court said that his wife revealed that she was on her periods when the two reached a temple after their wedding and this shocked the man and his mother. One fails to imagine what is so shocking about a woman entering a religious place during her periods. If there really is a God who resides in those places, then why would he mind receiving women any day of the month? After all, he made us all.

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The man further accused his wife of being too demanding and asking him for a monthly allowance of Rs 5,000 and an air-conditioner. He also said that his wife tells him to not contribute to his family expenses as his older brother already takes care of that.

The man claimed that when he told his wife that he cannot afford an air-conditioner, his wife fought with him and went to her parents’ house. He also claimed that he tried to reason with her but she didn’t listen and stayed her parents’ house for several days.

His wife allegedly told him one day that she would have slept with 10 other men had she known that her husband would not be able to afford luxuries for her. He also claimed that his wife threatened to commit suicide one day by jumping from the terrace.

Why it is problematic?

Even if we assume that everything the man states in his divorce plea is legitimate, the clause about his wife being on her periods still does not make sense. He said that he was shocked to know that and his ‘faith was violated’. This stems from the brahminical patriarchal line of thinking that always labels women as impure. They think so less of women that they can’t even take biology into account. When activists started revolting against the religious places that keep menstruating women from entering those places, people thought a fight against the stakeholders of those religious places. Rather the truth is that those protests were against a larger idea. A deep-seated thought in people’s minds that menstruation is a dirty, impure phenomenon.

Men should be allies to women in their fight to equality and not the ones posing challenges. If the said man really finds it difficult to stay in the marriage then he could have easily stated all the other clauses. Nobody should stay in unhappy marriages but there is a limit to what you can object. Dear men, if you are really so disgusted and shocked at people performing their natural functions such as menstruation then you really need to rethink your values. Maybe get yourself introduced to science for once in your life.

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The views expressed are the author’s own. 

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