Comprehending the Bleeding Body: Epistemological Violence and (Un)Tabooing Menstruation in Selective Media Texts in India
The representation of menstruation in Indian media texts (films, short films, and advertisements) is limited. Besides the advertisement of industrially produced sanitary napkins, we hardly come across their mention. Even in cinematic spaces with female leads, the issue remains unuttered. Since the last half of the previous decade, there has been a conscious attempt to raise awareness around menstruation. Considering menstruation as a socially mediated biological process, in which bodies become sites where social constructions of differences are mapped onto human beings to inflict violence upon the subject, these works have resisted this systematic patriarchal oppression by asking an appropriate question, “which bodies are producing knowledge about which other bodies?” (Harcourt, 2009, p. 13), indicating that this assigning of impurity to menstruation through myths, taboos, and restrictions is a patriarchal construct. In many parts of India, menstruating women are not even allowed inside the kitchen or the temple. This forced isolation is indeed gender-based violence, which is driven by socio-cultural and religious beliefs compounded with gender norms. The research paper argues that by reading menstruation through the lens of body politics and in the context of media representation currently prevalent in India, it is now possible to understand and decode menstruation as a phenomenon of gendered oppression. Additionally, through these compelling narratives, it is also possible to reflect on the process by which these interventions contribute to the altering of everyday practices and their limitations. This might lead to social change by demystifying taboos around the menstrual body and showing women their situation in a way that affirms they can act to change it and reconstruct a meaningful relationship to their bodies.
Basu, Argha and Tripathi, Priyanka
"Comprehending the Bleeding Body: Epistemological Violence and (Un)Tabooing Menstruation in Selective Media Texts in India,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
6, Article 18.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss6/18