In India today, that the personal is political is perhaps best exemplified by the notion of menstruation. Amongst other equally appropriated aspects of Indian citizenry. You have the Sabarimala issue on one hand, and the quiet but persistent devotion at the Kamakhya temple on the other hand.
While these two are positioned at the end of the spectrum, what remains in between is getting your period in daily life. It differs for people, depending on where they come from, what access they have, what their bodies demand, and what age group they occupy.
For ensuring proper menstrual hygiene management, which by definition, involves being able to manage menstruation hygienically and with dignity, access to accurate and pragmatic information (those who do and don’t menstruate) about menstruation and menstrual hygiene is crucial. Here are five resources you can learn from, cite and enjoy!
Sensitive skin and sanitary pads is a saga best compared to any Akshay Kumar movie in the last three years. It may start out comfortably, but the end result isn’t always… the best.
Carmesi is a brand that has taken up this challenge head on. Tanvi Johri, co-founder and CEO, has a clear objective: to create a product that is sustainable for the environment, and to give every girl and woman a menstrual hygiene solution that would relieve them of the stigma surrounding their period while offering a safe, comfortable alternative.
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While we often write about body love and acceptance, we know that loving your body isn’t always the easiest task. A girl with poker straight hair might long for luscious curls, or a woman with broad hips might feel too self-conscious to wear tight jeans. From bad hair days, sun-tans, unexpected pimples, and unsolicited hair fall, a lot can make you feel low about your body. So maybe it’s time we redefine what Body Love really means. Body Love, like loving your family members, is accepting your body with all its faults, and learning to still have fun with it. It means being unfazed by what others think of your body, and doing your best to keep it healthy, clean, and happy. Forgive your body for its shortcomings, like you forgive your annoying siblings. Feed it healthy meals, pamper it with a good massage, and take pride in your ample bosom and hairy armpits. But, body acceptance does not propagate body negligence. It does not mean dismissing your weaknesses and limiting yourself to what feels comfortable. It’s striking a balance between your body, and your expectations of it. ? @focale_creative #bodylove #selflove #bodycare #womenshealth
While the first is ensured by the fact that all Carmesi pads are biodegradable, and thus made from biodegradable bamboo fiber and corn starch, Johri is also committed to ending period shaming. This is carried out by Carmesi’s informative, practical, awareness-oriented Instagram feed, that you should definitely check out.
Moving the conversation about menstrual hygiene management to access is pointless without addressing the stigma attached to periods. A study found that out of more than 355 million menstruating women and girls in India, 71% report having no knowledge of menstruation before their first period.
An unwillingness to discuss periods remains prominent despite efforts of sensitisation. One person who’s addressing this is Gandhi Fellow Annu Jha. A perfect example of thinking global but acting local, Jha conducted various workshops in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan, one event among which witnessed a participation of over 309 students, 56 women and 53 male members from the community.
Post the success of her initiative, the model was adopted by the Additional District Project Coordinator of RMSA, Jhunjhunu!
Humour can be highly effective while communicating about complex matters, as observed by Rachita Taneja, the creator of this webcomic. Taneja addresses political, social, and cultural notions attached with menstruation through her aptly titled comic, while offering acute commentary on various other current affairs.
While it is important to demand better resources and engage with policymakers for improved access, a lot of changemaking is futile if questions aren’t asked on an individual level. If you’re struggling with the answers, head straight to the profile of what’s down below.
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Have you been following @theypfoundation's awesome campaign promoting Comprehensive Sexuality Education amongst young people? Join them in spreading this important message here by clicking the link in my bio! Menstruation is a normal bodily function that comes with not very normal taboos. Isn't it time we teach children and young people that menstruation is nothing to be ashamed of and give them access to stigma-free and unbiased information about their bodies? #KnowYourBody #KnowYourRights #ComprehensiveSexualityEducation
One person can change things. Especially when the matter is traditionally kept hush hush. Saleha Khan is a Save The Children Child Champion, but more than that, she is representative of millions of Indian girls who fight their circumstances every single day to break out of the culture of silence they grew up in.
Khan is a resident of Govandi, Mumbai and after one (ineffective) menstruation session in her school, she realised the conversation around periods needed to break taboos as well as be inclusive. Bridging this gap, Khan conducted more than 250 sessions on the right menstrual health and hygiene with the youth of her area. Here’s a sneak peek of what her contribution means for MHM in India.
While accessible and practical resources about sexual and reproductive health have increased over the last few years (think of the Red Book series by TARSHI), issue and experience specific myth busting is the need of the hour if we are to move towards a socially just way of life. Menstrupedia is Aditi Gupta’s brainchild that uses comics and a YouTube channel to impart information about everything that having your periods mean.
Gupta’s work not only aims at revealing taboos for what they are, but also the normalcy of puberty and other biological processes, a positive portrayal of a perfectly natural phenomenon, and the social implications of good and bad health.
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To empower our community members to conduct menstrual awareness workshops, we enable you to crowdfund for #MenstrupediComic on our website. If you want to be the among the first set of campaigns we would be realeasing. Get I touch. DM for write to us at: email@example.com
The aegis of MHM in India is set to expand – we are talking about it, taking action, educating others and coming together more than ever. If you have thoughts and experiences you’d like to share, click here to publish now. And if you think this list missed out, leave a comment below!