12 year old Neerja wakes up one morning, confused and traumatised by the inexplicable wetness she was feeling in her pants and a faint pain in her belly. And then she saw it, the blood stains. What had happened to her? Who could she speak to about this? Was this her fault?
About 66% of Indian girls do not know anything about menstruation before their first period (Unicef MHM). The discovery of their first cycle is met with feelings of overwhelming shame and trepidation. Mothers often remain stoically silent, and hygiene practices are referred to in code words. These experiences condition them from an early age into believing that periods are something ‘unclean’ and not to be talked about.
Far from a celebration of womanhood, our society still treats menstruation akin to a taboo. Periods bring to mind the notorious black polythene bag and other socially awkward experiences.
At Azah (Meaning: Strength in Arabic), we believe that every woman is a goddess in herself. We understand that your period is simply an expression of our body’s natural rhythm. They represent the beauty, strength and mystique of femininity. We want women everywhere to be able to embrace and cherish their womanhood. Let’s end the false seriousness and shame associated with menstruation.
Embrace the woman in you. Bleed like you breathe.