In a recent conversation with reporters, head of the Sabarimala temple in Kerala, India, Prayar Gopalakrishnan made sexist remarks about women only entering the temple once there was a device to scan if it was the “right time” – alluding to menstruation. “A time will come when people will ask if all women should be disallowed from entering the temple throughout the year. These days there are machines that can scan bodies and check for weapons. There will be a day when a machine is invented to scan if it is the ‘right time’ for a woman to enter the temple. When the machine is invented, we will talk about letting women inside.”
Outraged by his comments, a petition was started by college student Nikita Azad and thus the #FreeToBleed Facebook campaign was launched. Many people have shown their support by writing supportive messages or #HappyToBleed on sanitary napkins or tampons. The temple website state that Sabarimala prevents all women within the reproductive age (ages 10-50) from entering the temple. Azad told BBC that this is not a “temple-entry campaign” but rather a “protest against patriarchy and gender discriminatory practices prevalent in our society.”
Cover image courtesy of Menstrupdedia.