Having your period is a natural physical phenomenon for women and should not lead to inappropriate behavior or humiliating and coercive measures. Yes, but here we are in some parts of the world where we are not aware of these little rules of benevolence yet. Many women are still rejected from public space, abused or even assaulted during and because of their periods.
In Germany caviar is taxed less than buffers and yes, it’s crazy, but it’s true. Periodic protections are taxed at the full rate of 19%, while less essential products such as coffee or salmon caviar benefit from the reduced VAT rate of 7%. This is quite surprising in a developed country like Germany. There are certainly no beliefs about potentially transmissible diseases during menstruation (there are none), but how can we explain why we tax so much on an essential product for women? Even in Europe, there is still a long way to go.
In Nepal, the chhaupadi tradition requires that women remain confined for one week during their menstruation. This practice is widespread in rural villages in the west of the country. Women are isolated in shacks and have almost no contact with the outside world. They are not immune to the elements and remain at risk of infection and deadly diseases.
For the SDF, the rules are a terrible ordeal because, since they do not have access to sanitary protection, they are threatened by infections. Sanitary napkins and tampons are difficult to access in homeless shelters because they are expensive products and donors rarely think about donating them, favoring food or other hygiene products. As women cannot take a shower regularly during this period, it also increases the risk of infection. Thus, rules are a source of anxiety for women living on the streets.
In Afghanistan, many women think they will become infertile if they shower during their period. Washing during menstruation appears to be a problem in many countries for different reasons. Here it is the fact of washing one’s genitals that would be perceived as promoting sterility. As a result, women give up washing during this period and their self-esteem suffers.
Almost half of the Iranian schoolgirls think that menstruation is a disease. Again, this is due to the lack of information on the subject. As a result, as in Bolivia, they do not wash during their periods. According to a UNICEF study and thanks to some courses on rules in schools, 61.6% of girls still start washing during this period. Like what to get to know your body and how it works well is not a bad thing.
In some parts of Japan, women are not allowed to be “sushi chef” during their periods. It is a traditionally male profession, so there are very few female sushi chefs because it is estimated that the menstrual cycle would lead to a gustatory “disorder” in women. But apart from the fat content on the skin, it doesn’t bother you much. We thank a Japanese businessman who, to prove the absurdity of these beliefs, insisted on opening a Japanese restaurant with exclusive women.
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In Bolivia, women are forbidden to wash during their periods. They are also not allowed to throw their sanitary pads in the garbage because it is believed that they could transmit diseases such as cancer. Some foods are also prohibited at this time of year, such as milk or honey, or even certain activities such as walking and playing.
In Malawi, in some ethnic groups, men are responsible for “sexually initiating” young girls at the time of their menstruation. In this country, rules are a taboo subject between girls and parents. It is the aunts who are responsible for educating young girls at the time of their period. They are kept away from unsolved girls and boys.
In India, only 12% of women have access to hygienic protection. Since they do not have access to these protections because of lack of resources or because of their distance from the points of sale when they live in the countryside, they use sand, dried leaves, old clothes, grass or ashes that promote infections and the development of diseases. A great documentary on Netflix, The Rules of Our Freedom, captures the difficulties faced by women in India and highlights a local initiative to create sanitary napkins.
In Kenya, a teenage girl humiliated because of her period committed suicide. It’s a recent news item that we could have done without. On September 6, teenage Jackline had her first period at school. As she discovered her blood-stained uniform in class, her teacher, a woman, noticed her and publicly humiliated her in front of her classmates before driving her out of class. On her return home, the girl told her mother about it and then went to get water from the river to clean her uniform. Her mother found her hanging from a tree a few hours later. Otherwise, you can decide to die less stupid by learning a lot about rules because rules are not just blood.