B16_#157 // period, end of sentence // Berney Kimberley
The Sarangbang as culture sanctuary, defined as the mens room, often contains a separate study; the Sarangchae, forbidden to women as they aren’t to be educated. It is the place in which men cultivate and exchange their knowledge.
This gendered organisation is found in most societies through history. For some anthropologists, patriarchy and menstruations are deeply intertwined. In fact, the first signs of patriarchy were found in the Neolithic era and relies on the fact that men control their bodies, and women don’t. The fact that she loses her blood is understood as lack of control over her own body. This idea leads to a toxic assumption that she is made to suffer herself, to submit. On the contrary, as man is believed to control his erections, his emotions, his body, he is able to govern, to dominate. It is from that same time that periods are associated with impurity. As a result, while menstruating, women are excluded from religious and cultural activities as well as school. Those who menstruate cannot access the Sarangbang, cannot access knowledge. To this day, many girls cannot afford or access sanitary pads and are forced to turn to unhealthy alternatives.
As a symbol of woman empowerment and gender equality, the modern Sarangbang should be an inclusive space for discussions and shelter cheap sanitary pad machines for young girls to recycle their waste into hygienic pads for free. To keep learning, to keep moving towards equality.
Kimberley Berney has studied at The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)