Campaign against menstrual taboos goes viral

Updated - November 17, 2021 01:01 am IST

Published - November 30, 2015 02:22 am IST - MUMBAI:

Youth register their protest against patriarchal attitude towards women with ‘Happy To Bleed’ placards. Photo:Special Arrangement

Youth register their protest against patriarchal attitude towards women with ‘Happy To Bleed’ placards. Photo:Special Arrangement

On November 20, Nikita Azad, a Patiala-based young woman, wrote an angry open letter to Sabarimala temple chief Prayar Gopalakrishnan who said the Kerala temple would continue the ban on menstruating women until purity checking machines are invented. Next day, the letter was converted into a social media campaign, #HappyToBleed, which has gone viral with hundreds of women and men supporting it.

Hundreds of young women are posting their pictures on their profiles holding placards, sanitary napkins, charts saying #HappyToBleed as a protest against patriarchal attitude towards women.

“Menstrual taboos prevail in the society where women are considered “impure” during menstruation and are barred from entering kitchen, are isolated within homes. Happy to Bleed is a counter campaign launched against menstrual taboos, and sexism that women are subject to through it. It acknowledges menstruation as a natural activity which does mot need curtains to hide behind,” Ms Azad says on the campaign.

“By this statement, he [Gopalakrishnan] has reinforced misogyny and strengthened myths that revolve around menstruation. Although this has become the immediate reason of our campaign, our focus is identifying all forms of patriarchy and preparing ourselves for struggle. Smash Patriarchy,” the note says.

Apart from several women, some young men have also joined the campaign holding #HappyToBleed placards. “I appeal, not only to every woman, but also to every man, to take this campaign to all different corners of society. Being a man, I would like to say that we men, who have considered women not human, but a slave, a maid, a cook, a caretaker, should stop seeing women as our property in the name of ‘honour’. We should stand with them in solidarity in their fight,” wrote Sukhjeet Singh in support of the campaign.

Activists like poet Meena Kandaswamy, and Menstrupedia founder Aditi Gupta, who use comic books and other means to create awareness of menstruation, have also joined the campaign.

Encouraged by the response, Ms Azad has now extended the campaign till December 4, and created an online petition through

“Through this petition, we urge National Commission for Women to take stand on such discrimination and make such practices illegal," the petition states.

It adds: "We find this as a first step towards breaking menstrual taboos, which affect women’s health in many ways when society doesn't give them space to use the word menstruation. We hope that this petition will initiate sensitization of society on menstruation, and accept it as a biological process, fundamental to reproduction,” the petition states.

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