Sometimes we take our “first world problems” for granted. Well, actually, we almost always do. Sometimes we forget how strikingly different our culture is from the rest of the world. Sometimes it takes a story like this to make you realize that while it’s 2017 in the USA, in other places, it feels like centuries earlier.
So, the short version is that an 18-year-old girl died from a poisonous snake bite while she was living in a hut on her family’s property. Though she sought proper medical care, it wasn’t available and there was nothing anyone could do to save her life.
But this incident is actually a result of a tradition called chhaupadi, a Hindu practice enforced in the South Asian country of Nepal that isolates a woman from society during her period. All women are considered “impure” while menstruating, so they’re forced to leave the house for anywhere from four to 11 days to live in the condition of small huts or cattle shelters.
Chhaupadi literally translates to, “untouchable being.”
Want to take a bath? You can’t. Hungry for a hot meal? Good luck with that. How about spending time with family? Nope, women must stay far away from all these things as to not taint all of the normal people and goods within the community.
While the women’s issues in our country are abundant and important in their own right, other parts of the world spend their days shunning women from society as a whole, all because their bodies are doing the most natural and normal thing it can do. They’re forced to suffer in seclusion without access to proper resources to maintain anything close to quality of life –and they have no say in the matter at all.
When we have our period here in America, we take Midol and binge-watch Netflix while our significant others or mothers bring us whatever’s requested to satisfy our crampy cravings. We still get up and go to work and act like a real woman who can’t be stopped or put down by nothin’.
Most of our world has accepted this is what the body does (except a special someone), and they allow us to express our frustrations over it and speak freely about how it makes us feel. You’ve never felt so lucky to have your period after reading what happens to the women of Nepal.
The death of Tulasi Shahi is not the first to come from this antiquated and unlawful period “time-out.” And while the Supreme Court of Nepal outlawed chhaupadi in 2005, it’s been slow to phase out in the western side of the country where the living standards are low and the traditions are still engrained in the people.
But, there’s hope in a more conscious and deliberate effort to ensure this practice comes to an end for good, with three major women in power for the country of Nepal (including the president). Nepal needs to cool it with the “untouchable being” speak and make room for some serious girl power.
Two Buttons Deep is a news & entertainment website based in upstate New York.
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