Apparently the above photo by poet Rupi Kaur was removed by instagram. Whenever a controversy of this kind erupts I like to read comments in the hope that someone will challenge my own interpretation, or better yet offer some new knowledge about the themes, ideas or cultural contexts presented.
While many of the commenters interpreted this as a sign of diminishing of the value of women in society, I thought this comment offered an alternative explanation which is interesting, regardless of whether or not it applies to this example:
In native culture, it is not allowed around sacred objects because a woman on her menstr[u]al cycle is considered very powerful. She is connected to the oceans, the tides, and the moon, and this has always been respected. It’s not because it is considered a sin. Women used to go into Moon Lodges away from the rest of society during their cycle to practice their medicine traditions. A woman’s “magic” far outweighs that of a man’s, so men were not allowed to be anywhere near it. In fact, we have old traditions that a man has to go on 4 vision quests and ultimately find a woman in order to be considered a medicine man, and even then, the only reason he would be considered powerful, is because of her lending him her power.
I’d be willing to bet since your culture’s spirituality is also quite ancient, that women also used to be considered powerful as well, maybe those ways were lost. Men have always feared and misunderstood menstral cycles and were not allowed to be involved in women’s medicine. All that being said, that makes it even more important to respect the menstral cycle and I’m not entirely sure if I personally agree that posting photos of it all over the internet is [not] very respectful.
You can read the post and comment thread here.