Getting my period during Ramazan shouldn’t mean I still have to pretend to fast
Being on your period is hard enough on its own without the added expectations put on you when it arrives during Ramazan. Even though religion has allowed for women to be exempted from fasting during their period, society has different opinions on the matter entirely.
Even though a woman might not be fasting, most women I know still get up for Sehri and don’t eat the rest of the day so as to ‘pretend’ for the men in their family they’re also fasting
HOW IS THAT FAIR?
When religion has given women on their period leniency why does our society want to take it away? I no longer will be shamed into pretending that I am fasting just so the men in my home do not have their sensibilities offended. While I don’t go prancing around announcing that I am on my period to every man that looks my way, I merely have stopped lying and pretending to fast.
I don’t get up for Sehri anymore; why should I when I am not fasting? I know so many friends who have Sehri every single day even though they have protested but have been met with their mother’s anger over the fact that the men should not find out that you are on your period?
Why is it so important to pretend for the comfort of men around you?
To not offend their sensibilities women suffering through their period, have to pretend to fast. Just so men are not confronted with the basics of female biology. Even my father questioned my absence from the Sehri table when I stopped pretending to fast; my sister merely told him she can’t fast. Nothing else and he understood and didn’t say anything. Because let’s be honest, Pakistani men lose their ability to speak whenever a woman mentions her period.
And it’s no secret, every man knows that women cannot fast the entire month. Otherwise, why would men ask women the ever dreaded question with their knowing smirks, ‘saray rozay rakhti ho?’.
Even with the men knowing about the fact that women cannot keep all the fasts in Ramazan, they still feel entitled to their mothers and sisters waking up for every single Sehri to cook for them. Have they never felt guilty that the women in their households have had to lie and pretend just so they do not offend their fragile sensibilities?
Most of this secrecy and lying has to do with the mere fact that women are made to feel like absolute shit when we’re on our periods. Words like napaak and the stigma around periods which mostly comes from a lack of understanding of the biological processes behind it have resulted in this lying.
Some of the stigma around periods can also be traced back into our shared history with our neighbors in India where women on their periods have their own set of hurdles
Some women in India who have periods still have to grapple with the archaic myths surrounding the natural process; they are not allowed to enter the kitchen, touch the food and some are not even allowed to sleep in their regular beds.
I honestly cannot pinpoint to one place or belief that has lead to menstruation being such a taboo in Pakistani households but I know one thing; I personally will no longer pretend the benefit of others. Periods are terrible; you lose blood, you feel weak and often are in pain. Put all of that together with not getting enough sleep because you wake up for Sehri and not getting any food because you can’t eat during the day; that’s just cruel.
Dear men, I ask all of you to tell women in your homes that they don’t have to pretend to fast anymore, because they are exempted in religion
This Ramazan be kinder to the women in your households and let them relax in times when even religion has given them leniency.
Cover Image Source: madhyamam.com