Saturday, June 29, 2019

Menstruation in India

It’s an interesting experience having your period in India. This isn’t about the inconvenience of having a period in summer and monsoon season. 

Even before our trip, I’d been thinking about the reality of having my period in India. We knew a local Girl Scout would be giving us period packs to bring to girls here. I understood a little through the news, the Netflix film “Period,” and the girl who was bringing us packs. 

The reality felt different once I was here and got my period. I feel privileged to have enough money to buy the supplies I need. The idea that women on their period are impure still persists. Since people sort through the trash, we have to put our pads in a special newspaper bag in the garbage can; when people go through the garbage, they know not to open those bags.

Last night was Bollywood night, and we watched “Pad Man.” Based on a real man, it tells the story of an Indian man and his creation of a low cost pad-making machine. He is concerned that his wife, mother, and sister have to separate themselves from the family whenever they have their periods. He seeks, ostensibly, to give them a chance to have those days for themselves, for living. 

The movie is quite a “wonderful” B movie, showing how the women face so much shame for even talking about their periods. He clearly did an amazing thing in real life. Yet, it serves as a perfect example of how a male privileged perspective is problematic. There is very little conversation about changing the wider culture. His machine looks like it had quite an impact, but since it’s his story, this sidelines how the women convince other women to give it a try. 

Just a sidebar blog post, since it’s on my mind. I have to process my thoughts somewhere! 

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