To be filed under ‘Hateful misogynistic stupidity’

I pass on to readers this story of how religion can drive people to make the most absurd rules restricting women.

India’s uncomfortable relationship with periods is back in the headlines.

College students living in a hostel in the western Indian state of Gujarat have complained that they were made to strip and show their underwear to female teachers to prove that they were not menstruating.

The 68 young women were pulled out of classrooms and taken to the toilet, where they were asked to individually remove their knickers for inspection.

The incident took place in the city of Bhuj on Tuesday. The young women are undergraduate students at Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute (SSGI), which is run by Swaminarayan sect, a wealthy and conservative Hindu religious group.

They said a hostel official had complained to the college principal on Monday that some of the students were breaking rules menstruating women are supposed to follow.

The idea that menstruating women are ‘impure’ or ‘unclean’ is a widespread and long-standing belief among particular religious groups, leading to the creation of rules limiting their interactions with ‘pure’ and ‘clean’ people. As the article goes on to describe, this school seems to have gone to great lengths to identify menstruating women and create onerous rules for them to follow, along with sanctions for ‘violators’.


  1. says

    The 68 young women were pulled out of classrooms and taken to the toilet, where they were asked to individually remove their knickers for inspection.


  2. says

    If a woman uses a menstrual cup, it is impossible to tell whether she is menstruating or no without actually putting fingers in her vagina. The same goes for tampons—it is possible to hide the end of the string inside the vagina so that it isn’t noticeable upon glancing at the woman’s body. Thus staring at women’s underwear is an unreliable form of inspection anyway. Granted, a silicone menstrual cup or tampons can be pricey for women living in a poor country, but still, such an inspection is unreliable. I’d say that the whole point of such shit is to abuse and intimidate women rather than actual concern about when they have their periods.

  3. VolcanoMan says

    I dunno what the deal is. It’s a bodily function, like any other. If you’re not monitoring the ways people deal with the other necessary activities that all animals go through in the course of their existence, why would you go after THIS one in particular? Unless it was just a way to shame women (and any transman who is courageous enough to be public about who they are in such a regressive culture) into submission?

    And unfortunately, we can’t exactly point to this behavior sitting from our comfortable houses in America and Canada and Europe and say, “at least WE’VE fixed these attitudes in OUR countries,” since we still have sizeable numbers of people here who are intent on controlling the reproductive behavior of those who are assigned female at birth (and only AFAB people, generally-speaking, even given that there are symbolic policy efforts meant to protest this douchebaggery that do so for those who are AMAB as well). For whatever reason, the patriarchy persists. Fuck ’em all. The only way to fight this is to normalize the behaviors that are being stigmatized, while ensuring that enough vagina-havers are in leadership of our communities…and countries, that the voices of those who (for whatever reason, and there are many) want to keep them submissive are ineffective. Anyone who has a vagina has the right to a LIFE while menstruating, a right that is as undeniable as their right to decide whether they wants to abort a life form that REQUIRES their body to sustain it. And any effort to deny these rights is illegitimate, regardless of the supposedly genuine motives of some of those who advocate for this BS. If we want women to be truly equal to men, then we need to treat them equally…which means NOT disrupting their lives for nonsense reasons, and RESPECTING their bodily autonomy.

    smh…this world sometimes…drives me absolutely bonkers.

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