An ad campaign called 'Blood' by Bodyform, a UK based sanitary products brand, came up with a campaign which shows women from different walks of life bleeding while playing a sport, and yet fighting against their physical limitations with the tagline 'No blood should stop us'.
A woman boxer’s bleeding head, the bleeding knuckles of a trekker and the bleeding foot of a ballerina dancer conveys the message bang on to viewers, who have so far been only fed false impressions about the whole concept of menstruation.
Something as basic as showing actual blood instead of a blue liquid gel is not loud or disgusting, but it conveys a very powerful message in a subtle manner.
Another example of such a message is a photo campaign in Kathmandu, which was conducted by WaterAid, an international charity that works towards improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation across the globe. In it, Nepali girls showed how menstruating women are ill-treated in their society by clicking pictures of things that they are deprived of when it is 'that time of the month.'
While one of the girls clicked a picture of a mirror, to show how they are not allowed to comb their hair or look into a mirror when menstruating...
...another girl took a picture of her mother feeding her sister and said “This is my mother and sister in the picture. Here, my mom is feeding my sister with so much of love. Mother loves me very much as well. However, during my menstruation cycle, I am kept away and have to eat at a distance. When nobody touches me, I feel unloved. We need lots of love and support during our menstruation but, when I am separated and treated like an untouchable I feel no love from my mother and father, and I feel only hatred. I feel sad being treated that way.”
These campaigns are unique because they educate people about the true essence of menstruation, without false representations or taking this to an unhygienic extreme. Such ideas mark a stark contrast to several other disturbing incidents in the past, where feminists from across the globe have been too crude about menstruation, stirring controversies and attracting unwanted and divisive attention from audiences worldwide.
For instance, last year Rupi Kaur uploaded a picture of her blood-stained pants on Instagram. Though a lot of people appreciated her effort to break the taboo revolving around menstruating women, it did invite criticism from another set of individuals who felt it was too loud and ‘disgusting’.
“I will never post a picture of my blood stained pants because it is not required. However, I would appreciate it if I have the freedom to ask for a sanitary pad in my workplace, before my male co-workers, without hesitation,” Nivedita, a teacher who spoke to Asianet Newsable said.
However, having said that, the social media platform was also mistaken in its attempts to have the picture removed, which it did 'accidentally', not once, but twice.
These legitimate arguments on taste simply derail the conversation, rather than contributing anything useful to the cause. Kiran Gandhi's 'run' is a perfect example of this sort of crude deviations.
According to a 2015 report from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 500 million women globally lack adequate facilities for managing their periods.
In another research by Nielsen and Plan India, one in five girls drop out of school in rural India after they start menstruating. Of the 355 million menstruating girls and women in the country, just 12 percent use sanitary napkins.
Instead of doing something substantial towards creating awareness about proper sanitation care for women around the world who are deprived of sanitary napkins, Kiran Gandhi decided to run the 2015 London Marathon without wearing a sanitary pad and letting the blood run down her leg.
She wanted to make a statement for women around the world not to be ashamed of their period blood, clearly showing her level of ignorance about such an important issue.
In the end, campaigns like 'Blood' which bring users face-to-face with the reality of menstruation, while also disabusing them of their misconceptions, will do far more towards ending discrimination against women than wild displays of unhygienic 'statements'.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 6:54 PM