Menstrual taboos are a sensitive subject. As a follower of Kemetic Orthodoxy, I do not engage in particular kinds of worship during my menstrual period. Many people hear this and consider it backwards. How can menstrual taboos be woman-positive, when something inherently feminine is considered “impure”?
I have given my opinions about menstrual taboos here a few times already, so I won’t rehash them, but a recent situation drew to light what I believe to be a very woman-positive side-effect of observing menstrual taboos. During Retreat, I had a purity crisis – I found myself unable to work as a priest due to an early cycle. I needed to talk about my cycle and my inability to work gracefully, without hedging or beating around the bush – and I found that I was.
There are more available euphemisms, to be sure – ‘purity issues’ is a favorite, I think – but in general, menstrual taboos have given me the right to talk about menstruation comfortably. It isn’t something awkward; it is a regular fact of life. I report for work as a priest, and when I cannot, I can say that it is due to my cycle. There are some who prefer not to be so overt, and I respect their decisions; but I feel that for me, practicing menstrual taboos has normalized menstruation and ironically, made it a topic that is not taboo.