I cannot believe a 26 minutes documentary on a much-stigmatized topic in a Women’s life“Mensuration” just won an Oscar. I just finished watching the very much talked about and an Oscar-winning documentary, “Period. End of the sentence”. The movie beautifully depicts the real women and their views on periods.
The film follows girls and women in Hapur, India and their experience with the installation of a pad machine in their village. One young woman, SNEHA, tells her dreams of becoming a police officer. Another girl discusses the taboo of menstruation, the importance of education, and how she had to drop out of school when she got her period. Soon, all of the women we meet are determined to work on the pad machine (which will earn them more money than their prior work in the fields) and to create a micro-economy to support themselves for the very first time. As the inventor of the machine, Muruganantham says: “The strongest creature on earth is not the elephant, not the tiger, but the girl.” ( Source: The Documentary)
As a woman I also feel, to really smash down the stigma attached to the periods is by beginning to openly talk about it. As rightly mentioned by the very director of the movie, Rayka Zehtabchi, who could not believe that a documentary on Period got an Oscar Award.
“A PERIOD SHOULD END A SENTENCE, NOT A GIRL’S EDUCATION”, this quote took a storm on twitter and we just can’t get over it.
It is very natural and very much essential for a woman’s body to undergo this cycle. It is simply a process which takes place every month, the uterus lining inside gets thicker to prepare for a fertilized egg if the woman becomes pregnant. If the egg doesn’t get fertilized, that lining is released from the body like blood through the vagina. The bleeding is caused by the breaking of fine blood vessels within the womb as the lining detaches itself. This monthly process is called menstruation or a period. So how does it leads to impurity or unholiness? We, woman, are designed like this. This is something beyond our control and very natural, I am not even talking about the pain and discomfort it brings with it.
It is a very surprising and disappointing fact that although we are developing as a nation only 10 percent of the woman population use sanitary napkins in their menstruation cycles. Out of the 90 % of the remaining population, forget about the tampoons and a menstrual cup, they are not even aware or allowed to use pads. The usage of any cotton cloth is still a preferred means of sufficing those three days needs by almost 50% of woman,even today, remaining one wants to switch to the usage of the pad but due to family restriction and the cost involved in purchasing the pad, which is higher than the normal cloth, they resist.
Recently a movie Padman was released, based on the story of a man behind the movie Mr. Muruganantham who invented low-cost machines to make biodegradable sanitary pads. The movie was inspired by his true story and it tried breaking some serious taboos related to periods and promoting the use of sanitary napkin instead of repeating cloth. From where should we start, this is a problem of a woman by a woman. We have only created these rules of not touching, not entering into the kitchen and all, just ask them and you will be blown with so many old tales to prove it. It is so deeply inculcated in the minds of a woman, that they feel so shy, so humiliated while talking about periods. This documentary shows the real picture of 80 % of woman who just doesn’t even want to talk about or try a Sanitary napkin or even to just accept it as a natural form of producing new life.
I still remember some years back when I had to go to the medical shop to purchase the Sanitary pads, I use to choose the most less crowded shop, would silently whisper the name and shop keeper too would wrap it in a newspaper and finally packing it in a black polythene so that no one sees what drug I am going to smuggle across the streets. This is so deep routed that now when I go and freely ask for my brand then people around give me an awkward look, but I don’t care. I have to buy it, nobody is going to deliver it to my house.
Can you believe many girls leave their education in between just because they cannot cope up with periods and various beliefs surrounding it, they are not even allowed to use better facilities? We have come a long way, at least now we have mediums and means to come out of this stereotype, at least we can make an attempt in spreading awareness about Periods. We stay in such urbanized, modern culture and live in ignorance, but the maximum part of the population is so unprivileged to even think about their basic rights. A period is not a sin or sign of impurity and let no few days of your entire month take away lot many opportunities from your whole life, let no piece of cloth give you a shitty feeling, sitting at the corner of the house, sulking and blaming self for being a girl.
Let’s not sit on this thought, we can spread awareness right from the house, maids, relatives, friends, people living in rural areas. We can also support the Pad Project by spreading the word, donating or by starting with your own Pad Project.
Be present. Be aware, Be there.
Much love and gratitude
(Fact and figures: Wikipedia, Picture: Google images)