It’s the 21st century, and women in India are still considered impure for a few days every month. Part of the reason for this is religious, involving ancient superstitions about periods, while the other part is the reluctance and ignorance of people, especially women themselves, about their menstrual cycles.
Aditi Gupta and Tuhin Paul started Menstrupedia Comics in response to the taboo that surrounds menstruation. This stemmed from a personal place for Gupta, who comes from a conservative society and spent her youth treating the subject as a forbidden topic. She paired up with Paul, now her husband, at National Institute of Design (NID) to come up with comic books that would help young girls deal with menstruation, and would also dispel the misconceptions.
The video (above) is part of a series by Blush, a women’s and lifestyle channel by Culture Machine, which is trying to create awareness about menstruation. The latest in the series covers Menstrupedia, whose comic books are today being used by various schools and NGOs all over India, and even globally.
The social practices that deny rights to women during their periods continue to be active in India. Says Gupta in the video, “It has nothing to do with how educated you are or which kind of socio-economic background you’re from. It’s somehow seeped into our behaviour.”
A survey by AC Nielsen in 2010 revealed that in rural India, 75% of women lacked adequate knowledge of menstrual hygiene and care. Menstrupedia’s comics adopt a friendly and healthy approach to the topic. “We are trying to raise a generation of mothers who would then themselves take care that their daughters are getting to learn about this subject in a proper way at the right time,” Paul says in the video.