Disclaimer: This post is more of an art project than a fashion project and my apologies for the length of it too. Did not feel like editing more, as it felt important to include all of this to make a point.
Photographer: Alison Wynn
Editing by: Prutha Raithatha
First I have to say that I didn't want to write anything at all for this post and have you guys make your own interpretations. But I feel so strongly about this topic that I decided to spell it out just incase some people missed the point. So here goes.
There is a large part of the world culture that treats women like untouchables when they have their menstrual cycle. Hindus especially. A woman is not allowed to take part in any kind of religious ceremonies for the first four days of her menstrual cycle. She can’t go to temple, do poojas, touch any idols of God or even a picture of any God and some take it as far as disallowing the woman from entering the kitchen. In a nutshell, she is ostracized. So much so that she is made to feel like a sinner if she goes against such beliefs. It is sad that even in today’s much more educated and highly technologically advanced age, this superstition just won’t die. People as liberal as my own mother will not understand that this is a ridiculous superstition to follow even after her daughters have tried time and again to explain the (ill) logic behind it.
In the olden days it had become an unspoken norm amongst society because the basic rural lifestyle required more physical strain than today as women did physical work like fetching water from the wells, cleaning the house, cooking, helping in the fields, etc. And with no painkillers or sanitary pads / tampons, this practice made perfect sense, both from the point of view of allowing the women some down time to rest, as well as from a hygiene point of view. But now times have changed and we have no reason to keep following this ritual. Yet we do. I know a huge population of people my own age and younger who blindly follow this and believe and promote it. It embarrasses me to know how many people I grew up with back home will not use their brains to stop following such superstitions of the fear of having to battle their moms and aunts, or they believe that God will punish them if they do.
The trick is to just ignore. You don’t have to announce that you have your period to the world and just do your thing. If you’re reluctant about inviting God’s wrath if you don’t follow this superstition, I can attest to you in full guarantee that I have broken this rule all my life and my life has turned out to be A-OK!! God did not punish me. People’s homes were not any more polluted than they were before I went to their places for poojas [prayer services] during my menstrual cycle and when asked if I did have my period on such occasions, yes I have lied through my teeth and felt no fucking remorse for doing so. Infact I always felt myself laughing at them in my mind. Anyway the point is that my life turned out to be just fine, infact spectacular!
So please, can we really stop this stupidity now! It just seems too fucking ridiculous to accept that this still exists. I know how strong the pressures of Indian society are and I know it’s not easy, I swear I do. But for God’s sake try. And if you don’t have the balls to stand up against this just make a pledge right now to not ever pass it on to your daughters. This goes to all the men too!! You guys are equal party to this nonsense by never standing up for your wives against your moms. Atleast try to protect the women around you from the world that will give them the evil eye for not following such blind faith, but if you can’t, just your approval will be enough for them to know that they are not doing anything wrong. I am sure once they understand that their spouse/ father has their back, they will fight their own battles and win easily.
Notes: Thank you Alison soo soo much for taking such fantastic pictures for my project. Thanks Wayne for the incredible abandoned elementary school location! And thank you all, whoever reads my blog. I don’t want to live a life of non-existence. I want to make a difference in the world even if it is in some small form. This I am hoping is a small form. Each image here speaks volumes to me. It has immense capacity for dialogue. I hope you enjoy the experience.