Before I ever got my first period at age 12 (almost 13), I had heard of the monthly female discharge as ‘the curse’, something that supposedly was placed upon Eve and all women that came after her for eternity or at least until the end of time. I was told that having a period would make me smell, and that I would have to be careful to keep myself clean ‘down there’, and when I wanted to know why boys didn’t have to worry about menstruation, that’s when I was told about the Biblical Curse.
Guess what? Your monthly menstrual woes are not the result of some mythical curse, so get that out of your head right away. I had stopped believing in God, Jesus Christ, and all the accompanying nonsense some years ago, yet I had not given much thought to this ‘curse’ all us earthly women suffer through every month, unless we have not yet started having a period, have gone through menopause, are pregnant, or ill in some way that prevents menstruation.
All primates – that’s right, humans and our close relatives in the wild, apes – have a menstrual cycle. Even elephant shrews and some bat species do as well. Other female mammals go through an estrous cycle too…my boyfriend’s nephew has a miniature Spitz who spots every time she goes into ‘heat’. They have to put a special ‘doggy pad’ on her to keep the blood from getting on her bed or the carpet. So there is nothing mysterious or Biblical about getting one’s period. Read the BBC article for more.
Unfortunately, many taboos and outright sexist notions exist to this day regarding women and the menstrual cycle. Back in the 1920s, a physician by the name of Bela Schick conducted experiments in which menstruating women handled various items, and non-menstruating women handled the same items. His conclusion was that menstruating women made flowers wilt when they touched them, stopped the growth of yeast and prevented dough from rising – all because of ‘toxic secretions’ from their skin!
Romany women cannot be touched while menstruating. They typically – when the family can afford it – have separate bathrooms, don’t sleep in the same beds with their husbands, and are basically set apart from everyone else. They must use different eating utensils and aren’t allowed to cook food while on their periods. Women were (and still are) treated similarly in other cultures, mostly because of religious attitudes. If it weren’t for religion, a lot of the superstitious bullshit that we must face as females would not exist today. Religious menstrual taboos .
It is truly awful that there are backwards people who yet believe in this outmoded rubbish but so long as there are male religious leaders that keep women ostracized due to a normal biological function, and religion itself, I see no hope for women in the near future. If the world is still here in the year 3000, perhaps views will have changed by then. Oh wait, the world is going to end soon – the 2nd Coming of Christ is nigh!