Diwali mela which used to be a fun and leisure outing spot is now seen as an appropriate place for marketing and advertising new products and innovations.
Hygiene and you participated in “NOOR” Diwali Mela hosted by LSR College of Women in Delhi. Our main objective was to spread awareness and knowledge about the ill effects of sanitary napkin and tampon on one’s body and how women can benefit from using menstrual cups and reusable cloth pads which could be seen as a good and healthy alternative.
For us, the day started pretty early – around 6:30am and didn’t expect the footfall to be in large numbers. Crowd started to pour in around 9.30. Our stall was nicely laid and was placed near the exit. We were told that we are the first ones to advertise publically about menstruation which is a taboo in our country. We were skeptical about how women will react to a public display of banners and hoardings on menstruation, side effects of using commercial napkins and alternative methods but we like to have an optimistic approach. The first visitor on our stall was a teacher of LSR and she was pretty excited to see the menstrual cups as she vaguely knew about them but didn’t know how to use it. Her queries and doubt wsere answered by Priyanka Jain, the founder of hygiene and you. As the day passed, we had good number of visitors on our stall and some seem confused and surprised to see these alternatives. Few women already knew about menstrual cups and cloth pads and appreciated our efforts in promoting healthy option for women. Also, women were loaded with doubts and questions about why should we insert something in our body? How to wear the menstrual cup? Will it fit in? What if it gets lost in the body? It was such a delight to answer their questions and see their reactions after the conversion.
Many of them stared at us from a distance, read the banner and whispered with each other, some looked shy and nervous to talk about these in front of other people. Lot of them seemed over confident and thought they knew everything about what we were doing. It was surprising to see a mixed reaction from women as few of them just walked pass our stall as if they do not menstruate.
Ironically, being all women college, the reaction and the approach towards this topic of menstruation was confusing. It shows that in 21st century, where people think they are modern and liberal in their thinking contradicts the statement as till now menstruation seems to be a taboo.