Filipinos are a superstitious bunch! Which I guess is not that surprising considering the majority of the population are quite religious.
The Strangest Superstition I Found
I can’t believe it took me five years to stumble across this little nugget of information.
Well, actually I can, as it is not something that I am discussing openly with a lot of women. Although women do seem to be much more open in discussing problems in this area than what I have experienced back home.
Now to anyone from the western world this will seem like the most bizarre and disgusting practice.
When I was told this I thought that it was a joke, and that they were just winding me up. But quite a few people put their hands up and said they had done this.
Apparently it is a widely believed practice that when a young lady has her first menstruation that if you wipe the blood on your face it will prevent your skin from acne in the future.
You heard me right.
Period blood all over the face! Seriously WTF!!
I did not believe this even after being assured it wasn’t a joke, and a number of female colleagues recounting for me their first facial. So I had to jump on Google to validate this.
Well, it was not hard to find a consensus that this is a widely believed myth that seems to have survived the spotlight that modern medical science can shine on things like this.
Now while a Cosmo article about Pinoy menstruation myths may not be the American Medical Journal. It at least attempts to debunk these ridiculous myths.
The others being:
- Jump off the stairs from three steps up so that your period will last for only three days.
- Don’t take a bath during your period, you’ll be infertile.
- Dysmenorrhea can be cured by marriage.
- Attending a wake during your period will make your menses foul-smelling.
The last one is…. aahhh forget it.
I would hope that articles such as these spread like wildfire and young ladies are not put through this torturous event for what is essentially a superstition passed down the generations.
As with anything like this, my brain always wonders who were the pioneers.
Who was that first person in the world who looked down and thought “I am going to rub this on my face and see what happens.”
Coincidentally this person was also blessed with perfect skin.
Due to some shoddy cause & effect analysis young ladies all over the country have been put through…. Ok I am going to stop there.
Being a man it is possible that I am overreacting here.
Women reading this may be rolling their eyes and wondering what the big deal is.
Maybe I am old fashioned in thinking that period blood on the face should only be the result of some ill timed cunnilingus resulting in the Dolmio Grin until you realize your mistake and rush to clean yourself up… or is this a new fashion?
I don’t know.
Either way, I will say it again. WTF!
I may be sounding culturally insensitive right now, but there is more to the issue of hanging on to superstitions that have no scientific basis that can be quite dangerous.
There is another widespread belief that you cannot get pregnant the first time you have sex.
Guess what, the Philippines has some of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the world.
Potentially feeding a perpetual cycle of poverty, limited opportunity, and reliance on offspring to survive in old age.
This is getting into territory beyond the scope of this article though so we will move on.
Conversation Didn’t End There!
In the same conversation, I also discovered the traditional method of circumcision in the Philippines. At this point, all the blood drained out of my face, and I turned white.
This sounded so traumatic that I could not repeat it here. All I will say is it involved a very large blade carved out of wood, and sounded to me like it had a very high risk of accidental cuts where they are not wanted.
I was already shocked, but then found out that this happens when a young man is already 12 years old!
At least if you were a baby you wouldn’t remember. But 12! Brutal!
This was without a doubt the biggest cultural slap in the face I have received in my time here.
Eating duck fetus, chicken guts, pigs blood. A
ll easy compared to this one conversation! No judgment towards those who practice these things. But I will forever be grateful that I never had to.