Whether it is about a 21-year-old woman dying in Nepal after she was forced to live in a hut due to the fact she was menstruating or about the little girl in Tamil Nadu who committed suicide after being reportedly shamed by her teacher for staining her clothes with menstrual blood in front of her class- menstruation continues to prevail as a curse to women!
Interestingly, many people from different walks of lives have talked openly about it in order to raise awareness and bust the myths and taboos revolving around it.
Recently, another feather added to this cap was the #PadmanChallenge- a marketing strategy used by the Padman Film’s Team in order to promote their film.
Before I raise my point here, I wish to state that I am not protesting against the movie. In fact, the portrayal of the real-life Pad Man and entrepreneur Arunachalam Muruganantham was a much-needed effort.
All I wish to bring forth are the much more important aspects of menstruation that the society as a whole needs to focus on!
NOT EVERYONE USES SANITARY PADS
Did you know, of the 355 million menstruating women in India, only 12 percent use sanitary pads?
The rest switch to unhygienic alternatives such as clothes, ashes, and husk, thereby welcoming severe reproductive health problems.
Celebrities are highly influential people with massive reach and their practices are followed religiously. Maybe educating why holding a pad in hand is okay and distributing them to girls and women across the country would have been a much better alternative than just posing with them.
Educating the child about their use and benefits is what schools, colleges, and communities must encourage.
IT’S OKAY TO TALK OPENLY ABOUT THEIR BODIES!
Majority of women do not find themselves in a comfort zone when it comes to discussing their bodies and problems associated with it openly. How do we expect them to take care of hygiene and prevention of infections during periods?
It’s crucial to teach boys and girls in the early years of education itself how natural this phenomenon is and it’s perfectly normal and not shameful to discuss these issues openly!
WHAT ABOUT THE DISGUST THEY FACE?
A majority of girls, especially in rural areas do not attend schools while they’re menstruating because of the flak they draw from people around in case of an unlikely incident.
The tradition of disallowing them to enter religious places and kitchens is what makes the foundations of these myths even stronger!
PADS- BUT OF WHAT KIND?
Did you know, a woman on an average sheds 125 kilos of menstrual blood in all the years and these plastic pads take 500-800 years to recycle?
Can you even imagine the levels of environmental damage we’re causing because of it?
Use of alternatives like biodegradable pads, menstrual cups, cloth pads etc. needs to reach out to masses!
There’s much more to periods than just bleeding and posing. Holding a pad in hand doesn’t save women from all the health hazards, social stigmas, and humiliation.