Periods emoji: I am a woman, and I am sick of all this ‘public display of periods’
Menstruation is not dirty or shameful. But it’s private. I don’t want my privacy to become an opportunity for people to prove how cool or ‘bindaas’ they are.
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Soon, I hear, smartphones will have a period emoji, in the shape of a drop of blood. This comes barely weeks after the Sabarimala row, where a question of faith-vs-law was somehow turned into long discussions about periods and ‘carrying dirty pads’ and what not.
Across different parts of the country, there have been #happytobleed campaigns and ‘sanitary pad protests’.
And frankly, as a woman, I am rather sick.
Exactly whom will you send this to? Were your conversations so far incomplete because they lacked this 'empowering' emoji? (Photo: Twitter)
Yes, we need to have healthy discussions about periods. Yes, we need to create an environment where women and men are not embarrassed to have their doubts about menstruation clarified. Yes, young girls need to be told about periods in a way that they are not scared or ashamed of it.
But that cannot happen if your ‘awareness campaigns’ are so brash and in-your-face that people are turned away by them.
In fact, such ‘let’s display pads and blood’ type campaigns are so embarrassing that they can push people like me further inside my shell.
In an all-women seminar about menstrual health, I might feel comfortable enough to ask questions and have my doubts clear.
If men and women together are shouting slogans with sanitary pads and graphic posters on display, I will run a mile away.
And this is not just me being ‘over-sensitive’. Menstruation is not dirty or shameful, true. But it’s private. I don’t want my privacy to become an opportunity for people to prove how cool or ‘bindaas’ they are.
I can see it's a sanitary napkin. I don't see why it's important to display it. (Photo: Twitter)
I am in my twenties, live in a metro, grew up in an upper middle class family. My father made it his priority to ensure that my sister and I got a good education and a job, we were always told we were no less than our brother. Yet, after we reached a certain age, he would knock before entering our room. I am not comfortable if a pad advertisement comes on while we are watching TV together.
Awareness is one thing, exhibition quite another. Any campaign that wishes to be successful has to keep its social context in mind.
My brother often buys sanitary napkins and painkillers for me during my periods. But I don’t discuss with him if I am bleeding too heavily this month, there is simply no need to.
Exactly whom will we send the periods emoji to? I ask this to all women, had your life so far felt empty because you didn’t have a big red drop of blood to ‘express’ periods?
What we actually need to do is conduct awareness campaigns against the superstitions surrounding menstruation, teach young girls and women about the hygiene and health aspects of it, approach men and clear their misconceptions about it.
But it has to be done in a way the ‘intended beneficiaries’ are comfortable with.
Too much public display of periods does not empower, it embarrasses, intimidates, and alienates.