Last year, a video had surfaced on Youtube – Parineeti Chopra taking a male Indian journalist to task because he found difficult to speak about periods, while at a periods awareness event.
It’s a funny video, no doubt, seeing the man struggle among so many women to even speak. But in reality, there’s nothing funny about it. He was a 24 year old man who hardly knew anything about periods, found it difficult to speak about it (even though he is suppose to be covering the event), and called it a problem.
But that’s unfortunately just the way it has been in India. We’ve never really spoken about it. Forget speaking about it generally, we’ve never even spoken about it in sports where a mistimed cycle can cost a sportswoman a medal, until recently. Well, to be fair, the world hadn’t really spoken about it either and it was British Tennis player, Heather Watson who was the first to speak about it in a post match press conference.
“I think it’s just one of these things that I have, girl things,” she said The world followed her suit and a whole lot of sportswomen came up and spoke about it. But from India, just a few voices heard, one of who was long jumper Anju Bobby George.
But Indian women DO have something to rejoice about. The awareness is spreading and people ARE coming out and speaking about it more openly.
From ads that speak against taboos such as ‘don’t touch pickles during periods’ to websites that aim to spread awareness such as, ‘Menstrupedia’ (www.menstrupedia.com), India is talking. Call it a revolution in the making as an outcome of feminism, more awareness or simply just run out patience from the women’s side, things are changing and the women are determined to shun the negatives and taboos associated with the very regular bodily function.
Media and internet has been one of the biggest key players in this revolution. Take for example the below video of stand up comedian Aditi Mittal. She spoke about periods in one of her shows, but thanks to the internet, thousands of women across the country can now laugh on a topic like ‘periods’ or ‘science in your chaddis,’ as Aditi puts it.
A place where periods are looked upon as ‘normally’ – we’re not there yet. No we aren’t. But we’re definitely trying with all our might. The ladies today are educating their boyfriends, standing up against taboos in their families and what not.
Yes, there’s a long way to go, but the journey has started.