Influencers dedicated towards normalising menstruation discussions

Chayanika Roy
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Periods... Menstruation... Blood... Sanitary Pad... Menstrual Cup... Tampons... Cramps... NO, I am not 'grossed out' by these words and you shouldn't be either!

Menstruation is a naturally occurring process in women, yet even today society considers it a social taboo and refrains from any discourse taking place around this healthy topic. While many people are embarrassed to even mention the word 'periods', there are some strong women creators kicking the menstrual euphemism with pride and boldness.

These women have used their popularity for a cause, to make the world aware that no women should be ashamed of having to undergo periods. Amidst persistent stigmas, misconceptions and stereotypes around menstruation, these superwomen highlight how menstruation is a superpower.

This International Menstrual Hygiene Day, let's pledge to advocate open dialogue about periods and hygiene, to educate the uneducated and to often bring this topic to highlight without shame and embarrassment.

Take a look:

1. Sharanya Iyer

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Yes, this is a Holy lake in Ladakh, and yes, I photographed a menstrual product against it in stern rebellion against the still-existent notion that Periods are dirty, unholy and disgusting. I'm back with a Menstrual Cup post (again) because I realized that this period of social distancing and staying at home is the BEST time for women to try their hand at using a Menstrual Cup, within the familiar confines, privacy and comfort of their homes. I've been using a Boondh Cup (#notsponsored) for 2.5 years now, and here's why I switched: 1. It's convenient AF for this budget backpacker who often holes up in the most basic of accommodations, carries limited luggage in one rucksack, and hates the odour, rashes and disposing distress that comes with using pads/tampons. 2. It's cheap AF. Like 700 bucks for up to 8-10 years of usage. A one-time purchase, reusable, handy to pack, and feels like a dream when it's inside you. 3. It lets me swim, DIVE, run, jump, trek, wear white, and go about my usual monkey business without the worry of leaks or the soaking wet consequence of using a liquid-absorbing product like pads or tampons. I also don't have to change/clean it as often as is required with pads or tampons. And, in case you forgot your Biology, I can simultaneously pee and poop while on the Cup. 4. It's eco-friendly AF. Bringing this up late cos many humans still want personal-gain motivation first and I get that. Cups are made from medical-grade silicone and don't fill up our landfills because they're reusable for years. The stats on how much plastic we can say NO to an individual level is mind boggling. I have a detailed bunch of Stories on Menstrual Cups pinned to my Highlights. Please please read through them and share them and this post with your friends (guys, this one's for you too!) And drop me a comment with any questions you may have, I'll be happy to answer them!

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2. Manali Saha

3. Shivya Nath

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“Until last year, the idea of using a menstrual cup during my periods made me shudder. Having never used tampons, I cringed at the thought of inserting an alien object into my private parts. To be honest, I couldn’t even fathom how it would work. Would it be painful, safe, hygienic, comfortable or messy? Would I be able to use it on the road, in public washrooms, on long journeys? Then something happened. While volunteering on a remote island in Cuba, I was shocked to see the seabed littered with single-use plastic that wasn’t even consumed on the island, slowly killing corals and marine life. I had already taken some easy steps to cut out plastic bags, plastic bottled water, plastic straws and plastic toothbrushes from my life. I needed to make more uncomfortable choices.” . . This is an excerpt from my latest blog post: Why I switched to a menstrual cup - and how you can too. A menstrual cup is currently the most environmentally friendly menstrual hygiene product, leading to zero waste. One cup could last upto 10 years with proper care; that’s easily over 1800 single-use plastic pads saved! It took me a few cycles to figure out how to use a cup, but once that eureka moment happened, my life changed. . . In this post, I write candidly about my apprehensions of using the cup, the mistakes I made while trying to figure it out, tips to insert and remove it, how to manage it on the road and recommended brands. Go read it at or at the link in my profile @shivya ✍? . . Then tell me, are you using or considering switching to a menstrual cup? Why or why not? . . PS: It’s high time we get over the embarrassment of talking about this openly, and inspire each other to embrace more eco-friendly periods. But if you really don’t feel comfortable commenting, my DMs are always open. . . #theshootingstar #menstrualcup #zerowasteperiod #sustainableliving #planetorplastic

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4. Monica Tata

5. Saloni Chopra

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That's right, it's just blood.. Y'know who gave it more importance than it needs? You. You who celebrated my very 1st menstrual cycle.. said it made me a woman. Then you told me to never discuss it publicly. First you made me feel proud of becoming, then you made me feel there was something wrong with me. You told me I couldn't visit holy places. You conditioned me to love cooking, but you wouldn't let me, that day. You yelled when I lit the diya in the mandir that morning. The kids at school laughed at me & my friends didn't sit next to me, bcos my blue skirt was red. I ate my lunch alone, crying in the washroom. I wasn't very proud of being a girl that day. Then I grew older & I met boys.. boys that liked me.. boys that knew nothing about periods, but got disgusted every time a pad fell out of my bag. I couldn't fathom that women raised such men. My girlfriends always whispered about it.. were they ashamed? My colleagues thought I was being a bitch bcos I was "PMSing" - my boss thought that was just my lame excuse to take a day off. I guess his penis never bled, he didn't know what it felt like to have his hormones go on a rollercoaster ride every month, yet all they could grasp from it was that periods were "yuck" & girls act "crazy" on them. I'm not mad at you cos I'm on my period, I'm mad at you for the ignorant moron you are. You think I'm overreacting when I speak about inequality, then you cringe at the idea of vaginal blood. You think it's impure. From you who gave birth to me, to you that wants to marry me, listen carefully - there is nothing about me that is "impure" every month. I'm not the creation of the devil. I'll have as many conversations about my menstrual cycle as I please, I will cook as many meals as I like & enter as many places of worship as I want to. For those 5 days, maybe you should keep your impure selves out of my kitchen, my temple, my work place & come back when you're ready to accept my body. I will never, ever accept my tampons wrapped in a newspaper again - there's a lot more dirt printed in that than a woman's body could ever produce. And if you try to hush-hush me, I'll only scream louder. Sincerely, Every. Damn. Girl.

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6. Regha Jha

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? cheers dears

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7. Sakshi Gupta

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Hello darlings, going live (IG) tomorrow with @projectzerowasteindia to talk all about MENSTRUAL CUPS. Friday, 6.00 PM IST I'll be sharing my personal experience of using the cups and answering all your questions about how you can switch to sustainable menstruation products and ditch the disposable plastics forever? So send me whatever questions you have ! Here in comments or through my stories? And if you are a fellow cup lover, come say hiii!? __________ #menstrualcup #sustainablemenstruation #periodpower #periodpositive #womenempoweringwomen #ecofriendly #gogreen #zerowaste #ditchtheplastic #womenshealth #wellness #india #igramming_india #yogalife #selfcare #selfcareisforeveryone #periods #pms #indianwomen #desi_diaries #selflove #zerowasteperiod #periodcups #bodypositive #betterindia #delhigram

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8. Nidhi Mohan

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Not ashamed to dry my reuseable pads in the sun ? cause i am a Woman and its a part of being me ?. . Today is #menstruationhygieneday ?. . Sustainability has always been on my mind. I have removed single use plastic from my life for the most part. But periods... That time of the month where you have to use some product. . Recent switch has been to move reuseable sanitary pads. I know the old cliche is washing drying is unhygienic, but thanks to an educative session with Dr. Shehla Jamal @smdhm3 . I have learnt how I can ensure usage safety without any fear. . ✅ First ! Remove the taboo around period discharge being bad / full of germs / etc etc. It's a normal discharge part of female physiology and we need to embrace it with love. . ✅ Which means pads, like our underwear would have a normal body discharge on them. Which needs to cleaned underwear too. . ✅ If you change your reuseable pad every 4-6 hours, wash it in mild soap like you wash your underwear, dry it in direct sunlight for 4-6 hours and keep it in a safe place. You don't harm nature by using plastic and a big bonus is that it saves you from toxicity of chemicals in a normal single use pad. . ✅ About washing, you need not use disinfectant or hot water. Infact its best to give it a soak and prewash in cold water and then run them in your washing machine cycle for best results. You wouldn't even have any stains. They would look new if you don’t wash in hot water, as hot water / harsh soap would coagulate protein to leave a stain and give it a soak and prewash before wash cycle. . ✅ Last but not the least one pad is good for 120 washes. So it's far more economical too in the long run. . ? for travelling going to school they need to packed with polyurethane side out. It wouldn’t leak and you can store it in a leakproof bag that’s washable and comes along. It’s a tiny inconvenience for the greater good for Mother Earth. . Is there anything you would like to ask me about these reuseable pads ?? Comment below. . Linking the product in story. PS : I am not a tampon / cup person It's a personal choice. #bleedyourway @peesafe #mensturation #sustainable #sustainability #womenshealth #womebhygiene

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 Unicef India teamed up with Post For Change, non-profit organization to use social media and India's biggest influencers to create awareness about menstruation. Through this shame-free revolution, they aim to break stigmas around the biological cycle by constantly posting for 10 days until International Menstrual Hygiene Day 2020. Using social media as a transformative engine for change, they begin to liberate women and to mark this as the beginning of a shame-free era!

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A year ago @UnicefIndia and @post.for.change teamed up for Menstrual Hygiene Day and by using the power of social media reached a 110 million people (!!!) with the #reddotchallenge . This year @Unicefindia and @post.for.change have teamed up with India’s greatest influencers to make an even stronger stand for Menstrual Hygiene. - Together with these influential men and women we will make a stand here today with all those who feel the same. For the time that girls feel afraid or ashamed of their natural cycle is over. #reddotchallenge - 10 days long we post together. Until International Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28th. - May this be the beginning of a new, shame free era!! Please join us in this shame free revolution by posting a selfie with a red dot ? on your palm and together we can show the world the power of social media for social change. Let’s reach even more girls and boys that need to hear this! We can ONLY do it together!!! ??????????

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Menstruation is still a hush-hush topic with so much taboo around it! It’s part of being a woman yet there’s so much shaming for it. From not letting someone on her periods to even enter the kitchen, having separate beds to hiding sanitary napkins/tampons in dark thick bags! The discriminatory practices for a woman on her periods not just lead to mental stress but a lot of times serious physical issues are ignored because no one wants to talk about periods! Why!? The idea is to stop period shaming and make reproductive health & menstrual hygiene an open conversation! @Post.For.Change @UnicefIndia #RedDotChallenge #PostForChange #menstrualhealth #periodproblems #stopperiodshaming #reproductivehealth

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Also Read: Influencers who raised their voice against cyber-bullying


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