Unusual beliefs around menstruation

Have you been told that you can't make mayonnaise during your period too? These kinds of urban legends don't come out of nowhere! Every country in the world is full of old and often laughable beliefs about menstruation. Unfortunately, some of these more problematic legends still prevent women from living normally during their periods…

Defiled woman must not cook

Periods are clear proof of fertility. However, they are very often associated with the sterility of the land or the premature rotting of food. Therefore, in various societies, women should not approach stoves when their bodies are bleeding. Thefilthy and impure character of their being should in no way contaminate the food.

The absurdity of such a rule can all the same give us a glimpse of a positive aspect. This exempts women from this domestic task considered too recurrent by some ;)

Typical French beliefs

Here are other examples that make you laugh more than cry. Under no circumstances should menstruating women:

  • touch the bottles of wine at the risk of making it sour (sacrilege!) without forgetting not to undress in front of vine plants because otherwise they would be unproductive forever

  • to sit against a tree for fear of seeing its fruits fall one by one

  • look at a swarm of bees: it would be instantly decimated.

This mysterious power over insects was, however, used in a “positive” way in agriculture. Considered a powerful insecticide, women's blood was spread on the fields to kill the caterpillars that ravaged the cabbage plants. This totally organic practice lasted until the end of the 19th century in certain French regions.

And elsewhere in the world?

While in some countries women can't even set foot in the kitchen during their period, like in India or Italy, other cultures offer more selective versions. For example, in Argentina, periods and whipped cream don't mix. Blood prevents the cream from rising, it is well known! It is therefore impossible to eat strawberries with whipped cream throughout the month…

Socially excluded women

Discriminatory traditions persist in some societies and are not about to change. Nepalese women, for example, are forced to leave their homes during the entire period of their periods, so as not to defile either the house or their family. Difficult in these conditions to overcome the taboo of menstruation which is transmitted from generation to generation.

In Japan, sushi must be prepared by human hands. If a woman on her period touched raw fish, it would taste bad. As no one knows if a woman has her period or not, it is better not to take the risk and outright forbid this activity to the female sex! Of course, the law goes against this rule, but traditions die hard and women find it very difficult to get hired in such positions.

Some old beliefs make you laugh heartily, others still current make you turn pale with despair. The way of thinking has evolved greatly in France but has remained unchanged in many cultures for… far too long. Our feeling of powerlessness in the face of this situation should not discourage us to the point of failing in our mission: to educate, educate and educate again! So that one day, all women enjoy the freedom that should be theirs, unconditionally.

By Emily