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WaterAid / Sushma Diyali

Nepali Women Spotlight How The Mundane Becomes Taboo On Their Periods

Girls in Nepal took pictures of the social taboos they face while on their menstrual periods.

By Melissa Prax | May 29, 2016

In Nepal, women on their menstrual periods are considered "impure." So several teenage girls took pictures to show exactly what that means and what their culture says they can't touch. 

The project was conducted by WaterAid to build awareness of menstrual hygiene but also shows all of the taboos that come with that time of the month in Nepal.

Some of the things that are off-limits? Participating in social events, crossing a river for fear a demon will inhabit a girl and touching different foods or male relatives for fear of "contanimating" them. 

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One picture shows the dishes one of the girls must use while she's menstruating. She also isn't able to sit with her family during meals or go into the kitchen. 

A lot of these cultural taboos set back girls' health, education and self-esteem. 

Not being able to hang their reusable pads out to dry risks bacterial buildup on the cloth and possible infections. 

And girls typically have to miss multiple days of school since there's no place for them to change their pads. 

Although some of these novice photographers might have a different idea with pictures showing them breaking some of the taboos, such as looking in the mirror. 

This video includes images from WaterAid. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

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