Respecting the Maori Menstrual Taboo

Communication, Objects, Religion/Spirituality

Female visitors to Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand) are faced with a difficult moral dilemma regarding the taonga Maori collection included in an upcoming tour.

An invitation for regional museum staff to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of some of Te Papa’s collections included the condition that “wahine who are either hapu [pregnant] or mate wahine [menstruating]” were unable to attend.

Te Papa spokeswoman Jane Keig said the policy was in place because of Maori beliefs surrounding the taonga Maori collection included in the tour.

“There are items within that collection that have been used in sacred rituals. That rule is in place with consideration for both the safety of the taonga and the women,” Keig said.

She said there was a belief that each taonga had its own wairua, or spirit, inside it.

“Pregnant women are sacred and the policy is in place to protect women from these objects.”

The policy does not apply to the entire exhibit, but to a “behind-the-scenes” tour offered November 5. Visitors’ reproductive status will not be verified in any way, but women are expected to be honest about it and obey the request.

Menstruation Myths PSA

Menstruation, Newspapers, Television

Menstruation is DANGEROUS!!!The Jamaica Observer has published a list of menstrual myths, apparently as a public service to its readers. Among the fallacies:

  • Do not go to a funeral and look at the dead while having your period as this will cause your bones to rot.
  • If a menstruating woman cans fruits or vegetables, the fruits will spoil in the can.
  • Dentist visits should not be done during the menses, because fillings put in during this time will fall out.
  • During menstruation a woman should not go hunting as the animals will smell her blood, which will drive them away.

And if you happen to be from New Jersey and of Italian descent, stay away from the tomatoes.

Menstrual Tracking 2.0

Internet, Religion/Spirituality

Mikvah CalendarI haven’t studied every online tool for period tracking but this one appears to be the most sophisticated yet: helps observant Jewish women track their cycles, including her niddah (ritually impure) time. It automatically calculates sunrise and sunset, sends email or text reminders, and can be customized for Chabad, Ashkenazic, and Sephardic traditions. And it’s Rabbincally Approved.