Machine needed to check ‘purity’ of Indian women
Prayar Gopalakrishnan, above, the new head of the famous Sabarimala temple in Kerala, sparked outrage after saying that women would only be allowed to enter the temple after a machine was invented to check their ‘purity’.
According to this report, Gopalakrishnan told reporters at the Kollam Press Club:
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 that machine is invented, we will talk about letting women inside.
His statement instantly sparked a backlash in the form of a “Happy to Bleed” Facebook campaign.
The campaign, which began last Saturday, calls on women “to hold placards/sanitary napkins/charts saying Happy To Bleed” and post the pictures on their profiles, and it says:
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.
Sudha Ramalingam, a senior lawyer, is quoted here as saying:
I can’t comprehend this. How can a machine determine the purity of women and what is the standard? How can a machine judge the purity of women? How scientific is it?
It seems to be ridiculous. I am against the view that menstruating women are impure. People must first understand what woman and womanhood is and must talk with sensitivity.
Poet and activist Ravi Shankar pointed out:
There could also be a machine that scans and finds out whether men have led a celibate, teetotaler, vegetarian life for 41 days before entering the temple. This will help reducing the crowd by 90 per cent.