Came for the clickbait? Stay for the content.

Our media is (in)famous for all sorts of false representation, altered portrayal, and unnecessary censoring of content. A very interesting phenomenon to explore here is how Indian media depicts menstruation and markets sanitary napkins. Please note that I haven’t mentioned anything other than a sanitary napkin, for neither has the media. Tampons and menstrual cups seem to be a big no-no in our country, because nothing goes inside a woman’s vagina; at least until marriage, for purity purposes of course.
I looked up a few advertisements on menstruation; ads that are very easily available on the television, and even social media sites – ads that are viewed by millions of Indians.

Here are the top 5 motifs across these ads that made it to the “Whoa did they really?” list.

  1. Blue is the Warmest Color
    Blood that flows in your body is red, but period blood is depicted in blue. Maybe it’s because you tend to feel blue during that special time of the month? Or maybe it is what God intended. Whatever the reason may be, according to Indian media, blood coming out of the vagina is blue. Period. (Pun absolutely intended).
  2. The White Pants Syndrome
    This is a serious condition that affects women on their period who wear insert brand name’s napkins and suddenly feel the need to flaunt their white-trouser bottoms, which they probably would not have worn, if not for the magic pad. This syndrome is often accompanied by a need to embark upon adventurous endeavors such as going on a trek or running a marathon, specifically on the days of the individual’s period.
  3. The Sanskari Side Effect
    On your period? This sanitary napkin will not let that stop you from fulfilling your duty as a beti, bahu, or biwi.
  4. Rule #1 of the Period Club: You Don’t Talk About It
    Make no mistake – brands will show you how you can beat your monthly cramps and staining, but will never actually say what causes it. Words like “period” and “menstruation” are mysteriously absent in most Indian sanitary napkin adverts. These ads really leave things up to the viewers’ imagination.
  5. The Event Tomorrow Phenomenon: Did you just get your period? Chances are, you have a big, possibly life-changing event tomorrow! Congratulations, you have something new to deal with! Don’t fret, this company’s sanitary napkin will make sure you get all the protection from evil blue liquid and nothing will stop you from winning at your event tomorrow!

In all seriousness, how do we create a stigma free, period positive world, when the media seems to propagate a hush culture and shame associated with period blood?
We do this when we accept that this is a phenomenon that occurs to most people who have a female reproductive system. We accept the fact that our vaginas bleed red. We realize that while this is a potentially devastating phenomenon for a lot of individuals, it does not make us less capable than our non-bleeding counterparts.
We take pride in our period.
Our blood is not impure and we do not let anyone else let us believe otherwise.
This is a plea, a call for action, whether we bleed or not, it is our duty to make the world free of period stigma. We need to educate people around us, start dialogues, bust myths.

Scream it with me, #VaginasBleedRed!

Author: Radhika Joshi

Radhika often describes herself as an enthusiastic bean. She recently graduated from Christ University Bangalore, and is currently living in Pune. A mental health and sexuality education advocate, Radhika hopes to one day live in a stigma free, period positive world.
She loves reading/ writing short stories. You can buy her book ‘Denial Diaries’ on Amazon.

You can find her on Instagram here: @radrumz

Edited by : Divya Rosaline