Sabarimala controversy: #HappyToBleed campaign on social media gains momentum

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Pathanamthitta, Nov 24: Hindu Pilgrimage Sabarimala, predominantly for men of all ages, has come under social media backlash, as the temple's board allegedly wants a machine that scans menstruating women.

On Saturday, Nov 21, a young girl, Nikita Azad created a social media campaign on Facebook, titled, "Happy To Bleed", in response to Sabarimala authorities misogynist statement.

Sabarimala

Within four days, over 800 people have shown interest in the event including men while over 4,000 have been invited.

The Facebook page says:

"Friends, 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 women.

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.

Smash Patriarchy"

Earlier this month, Travancore Devaswom Board president, Prayar Gopalakrishnan, had triggered a controversy by saying that "menstruating women would not be allowed to enter the Sabarimala temple", while talking to reporters at the Kollam Press Club.

"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", he had reportedly said.

On Friday, 20-year-old Nikita Azad described herself as 'A Young Bleeding Woman' and penned down an open letter to the keepers of Sabrimala temple.

Here are some tweets that support this campaign:

Lord Ayyappa Temple is opened for the annual 66-day pilgrimage on the eve of the auspicious Malayalam month of 'Vrishchikam'. [All you need to know about Sabarimala pilgrimage: Explained]

Devotees, especially from various South Indian states, throng the premises of the hillock shrine when the traditional high priest Kantararu Mahesh Mohanaru opens the temple portals for the first phase of the pilgrimage, the 41-day "mandala" season.

One of the most-visited pilgrimage centres in this part of the country, Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple attracts crores of pilgrims, including foreigners, every year, under heavy security.

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