As they flinch to the slightest thought of ripping a single follicle of hair in some fancy wax parlour for men, here is us, going through the worst of pains through all.
When I was in 5th grade that is when most of my peers were changing. In a specific time frame, they used to hide away, be as alert as a thief who is robbing a bank hears a sudden siren chasing them. I saw them developing and behaving more responsibly than what most of the people of my age at that time would do. The picture is very clear when we as friends used to investigate which of the girls have actually started to wear bras. While we were going through the biggest changes in our lives to what men proudly blame everything on calling it PMSing, we had to go through what every girl in India suffers through, i.e., a feeling of being impure.
You are constantly alarmed and made aware of how weak and unstable you are in those 5- 6 days of time frame. “Don’t enter the kitchen! Do not sleep on the bed! Eat cold food! Don’t enter the temple! DO NOT TOUCH THE PICKLE!” These are a few common phrases that every girl like me in our country has heard over their time of adolescence. These trivial matters have been over hyped so much during periods that Procter and Gambler actually designed an entire campaign for their product Whisper titled as ‘She Touched the Pickle.’ The campaign revolved around the taboos associated in India regarding the myths like the Pickle rots when a girl touches it during her period, which gained momentum all across the country for it relativity with other women.
“Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself.”― Roseanne Barr (Stand-Up Comedian)
The most shocking part of this entire menstrual cycle is that women are considered near to abnormal when they are in their period. The awareness of PMS among men has to lead to a lot of awareness and a lot of blaming as well wherein every fluctuation in the mood is laughed off as PMS. Pads are still sold as if they are to be black marketed and sold in a very hidden way, and tampons are not readily available in the market as widespread as it is done in America. Sanitary napkins and periods are such a huge taboo that a man had to leave it all to introduce the concept of sanitary napkins in the village, the famous padman, Arunachalam Murugunatham. Period tracking apps are very new to this world as nobody has the proper knowledge of a healthy period. I would end my piece with this quote by the padman.
“If you go to the Indian Bureau of Standards, you’ll find that 99% of the products that we use in India has been standardised by Europe and America. What a silly thing! I am fighting to change the standardisation!”- Arunanchalam Murugunatham
Here is to the hope of turning the notion of sickness into health!
(By: Ashu Yadav, She ispursuing Masters in English Literature from Doon University, Dehradoon)