With the new Akshay Kumar movie– Padman, a film about Arunachalam Muruganantham, the man who revolutionized the perception of menstrual hygiene in the rural areas, the topic of menstrual stigma is in the talks. India is a developing country where women today walk shoulder to shoulder with men. But yet, the idea of a woman on her period is still a topic of shame.
There are ridiculous notions in our country. Women are considered impure when they are on their period. ‘Chhaupadi’ is still common in the rural parts of India. Women on their menstruation are not allowed in the kitchen. Some are even forced to live in secluded shelters, often dirty animal sheds. They are not allowed to do household chores, or even drink milk. In today’s age, in the year 2016, two women lost their lives due to harmful smoke inhalation while trying to keep themselves warm in makeshift seclusion shelters during their period.
Even in metro cities, menstruation is talked about in hushed voices. Mentioning periods in a mixed crowd is an act of shame. Pads are sold in black packets. Some ‘well meaning’ shopkeepers would go the extra mile to even wrap the packet of sanitary napkin in newspapers. Women are not allowed to visit temples or any place that holds holy meaning. But why? Is it not God who made women the way they are?
Hypocrites! Is it difficult to remember that if not for periods, none of us would be born and alive today? Women are considered impure or dirty during their menstruation. Why is period still a joke in an educated world? Men tease their guy friends using periods as a punchline. Even in sanitary napkin commercials, a blue liquid is used instead of a red one to prove the absorbance of a pad. Recently, a woman put a picture on instagram of her stained pants which instagram took down on grounds that is is ‘inappropriate’!
Dear world. I am a woman, and yes I bleed every single month. I am human and I bleed red. My blood is sacred and I am not afraid to walk into a temple and thank God for making me the way I am. It is not a ‘girl problem’; it is not a ‘time of the month’. It is my period and it is important that the world knows because it IS appropriate. And I am not afraid to say it.
Akshay Kumar and Aranya Johar, in their powerful poetry– Bleeding Rani, about menstruating women, hope to educate the world and to tell women to be unafraid of this monthly boon, that is a gift of God.
Watch it here: