Delhi

An attempt to stop menstrual penalty

Menstruators will menstruate, poster of the YouTube film by Boondh

Menstruators will menstruate, poster of the YouTube film by Boondh | Photo Credit: SOMA BASU

We are in 2022 but the menstruation stigma still runs deep. Shame and secrecy surround conversations about periods -- a normal biological process for half the world’s population which lives with the ingrained idea that it is impolite to talk about it. 

Bengaluru-based  Boondh, a hybrid social enterprise, has created what it claims to be the first prevalence data report on menstrual discrimination in the country, based on its experience in raising awareness about practices that restrict and inhibit menstruators from participating in daily life activities. 

During the two years of the pandemic, Boondh volunteers reached out to nearly 2,000 respondents – 65% of them between 16 and 25 years and the rest below 40 years – to find out how home, school and offices change for them when they bleed. An overwhelming 75% reported that they faced some form of menstrual discrimination from the time of attaining puberty. 

The respondents, mostly from Delhi, Maharashtra and the North-Eastern States, highlighted that their families, school teachers and office colleagues were more often than not guilty of enabling menstrual discrimination. Building on the data, the team released a video this Sunday , Menstruators will Menstruate, for a nuanced understanding of the complexity of the myths surrounding menstruation in India, the lasting mental and physical health effects period shaming. 

Menstruators will menstruate, poster of the YouTube video film by Boondh

Menstruators will menstruate, poster of the YouTube video film by Boondh | Photo Credit: SOMA BASU

Bharti Kannan, founder of Boondh, says the routinely negative manner in which menstruation is portrayed drives home the continuous need for supplementing the education of young girls and boys. The six-minute short film pushes a more modest acceptance of menstruation by speaking about it in the most matter of fact way possible. 

It attributes fatigue, pain, cramps and blood to hormonal changes instead of cloaking them in myths. The message is direct and reminds us how as a society we fail to understand a natural body process and keep menstruating women from entering the kitchen, pooja room and temples or participating in social gatherings and in some cases even from touching each other. 

The film mentions that menstruation is a challenging experience not limited to cisgender women. Transmasculine and non-binary individuals too menstruate and have different relationships with their menstrual experience. But society labels all as dirty, impure, unclean and unutterable. 

Boondh has also developed a legal literacy toolkit of a menstruator’s rights based on what is already enshrined within the Constitution of India and other legislative tools. It has also published an info-comic that helps an adolescent understand the changes the body undergoes. 

“We need menstrual equity to progress as individuals,” says Bharti, who designed and led the #StopPeriodPenalty campaign. “What are your rights as a citizen when you are discriminated against by virtue of being a person who menstruates, is what we seek to understand,” she adds. 

(The film is streaming on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puiPSjNR4ds) 


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Printable version | May 26, 2022 11:49:29 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/a-creative-video-by-boondh-attempts-to-stop-menstrual-penalty/article65459751.ece