View Full Version : Menstruation through History, and it's Taboo's.

March 28th, 2002, 08:06 PM

April 19th, 2002, 12:02 PM
What was the most rediculous Taboo, or Rumor about menstruation that YOU ever heard?

I remember my Grandmother freaking out when she found Tampons in the bathroom closet. She couldn't believe I used tampons, and told me that I wasn't a virgin anymore, because I used tampons. Ugh.

April 19th, 2002, 01:31 PM
Reading novels about tribes etc (usually in prehistoric times, etc.) that believed if a menstruating woman stepped over a moving body of water the water was then poisoned.

Or the moon hut thing. I'm so totally not into that being secluded for a few days every month so as not to "poison" my people.

April 19th, 2002, 03:45 PM
The romani make their women wash their clothes far down stream from the men, or preferably in another body of water, from their own, because they too believe that menstrual blood taints their power.

I have read differen't theories on the womens seclusion in huts. Some said it was so that they could meditate more deeply, some said it was sort of a sabbatical for them. Then I've also heard the theory that many tribes believed womens power was so great at that time of month, that it could make all sorts of things go haywire. I think My husband could attest to that.

April 19th, 2002, 05:46 PM
i love the moon hut. a few days a month when i don't have to cook, or clean.
just hang out with my sisters and collect my thoughts. maybe do some magic or study.
i sure miss the old days:)

April 19th, 2002, 11:32 PM
I read an article about a culture that secludes its menstruating women where the author suggested that the function was to establish paternity because women's cycles and their sex partners are public knowledge. I'll look up more info about the article later if anyone is interested.

April 19th, 2002, 11:52 PM
Sounds interesting, Loon :)

April 21st, 2002, 01:13 AM
The article was called "A Woman's Curse?" and was written by Meredith F. Small. It was about the work an anthropologist named Beverly I. Strassmann did with the Dogon culture of West Africa. The culture itself explains the taboo as being necessary to protect religious alters from the pollution of menstruating women, but, like I mentioned before, the researcher found a practical function in that it helps establishes paternity in a patrilineal inheritance system. Since women are economically dependent on men, they don't really have a choice in following the taboo, but they don't enjoy doing it. If their husbands convert to a different religion, they stop going to the menstrual hut. The author summarized Strassmann's findings by saying, "the taboo is established by men, backed by supernatural forces, and internalized and accepted by women until the men release them from the belief."

Another interesting aspect from the article is the discussion of menstruation in natural-fertility cultures like the Dogon and industrialized societies. In the former, women spend more time pregnant and nursing and thus have less than a third of the cycles women in industrial societies have, putting us at greater risk for reproductive cancers. The author suggests that it would be better if contraceptives were based on the lactation phase, where ovulation and menstruation are suppressed, instead of making women cycle every month.

April 21st, 2002, 09:20 AM
I've heard that theory before, that many people in indiginous cultures, and in History, only expected to have a hand full of menstruations in their lives, due to how many children they bore. Interesting :)