An outrageous comment by the president of Travancore's Devasam Board, which manages Kerala's Sabarimala temple has caused major social media outrage, resulting in #HappyToBleed to go viral.
The temple had been surrounded with controversy regarding it's policy to ban young girls, who are of menstruating age, from entering the temple. On being questioned regarding this, the president, Prayar Gopalakrishnan said, "There will be a day when a machine is invented to scan if it is the 'right time' [read: not menstruating] for a woman to enter the temple."
Outraged by this, college student, Nikita Azad, wrote an open letter to the president of the temple saying:
I am a girl, of 20. I have eyes, nose, ears, lips, arms, legs just as any human on earth. But, unfortunately, I also have breasts, hips, and a bleeding vagina. I recently came to know that my blood pollutes the temple Sabrimala, and I am denied entry into it because I am a woman who menstruates. When questioned, you said, "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 scan bodies and check for weapons. There will be a day when a machine is invented to scan if it is the 'right time' (not menstruating) for a woman to enter the temple. When that machine is invented, we will talk about letting women inside."
I am not furious at your statement, but I am saddened.
Soon this took traction and people took to Twitter and Facebook to protest against the age old taboos against menstruation and the sexism that women go through because of it.
The Facebook page of the campaign has the following note summarizing the cause:
This is a campaign against menstrual taboos that prevail in our society. Women are considered 'impure' during menstruation, are barred from entering kitchen, are isolated within homes etc. Happy To Bleed is a counter campaign launched against menstrual taboos, and sexism that women are subject to through it. It acknowledges menstruation as a natural activity which doesn't need curtains to hide behind. It urges young women to hold placards/sanitary napkins/charts saying Happy To Bleed, take their pictures, upload it to their profiles, and send it to us, in order to oppose the shame game played by patriarchal society since ages. Devaswom chief of Sabrimala temple, Kerala has given a sexist statement that once purity checking machines are invented, that check whether it is "right time" or not, (whether women are menstruating or not) are invented, he will think about letting women enter. By this statement, he has reinforced misogyny and strengthened myths that revolve around menstruation. Although this has become the immediate reason of our campaign, our focus is identifying all forms of patriarchy and preparing ourselves for struggle.
It began trending all over the country and people took cue from the initiative and posted their own take on #HappyToBleed: