Started by 19-year-old Elone Kastrati from Karlsruhe, Germany, in March 2015, the “Pads Against Sexism” movement stems from the fact of how offended society is by sanitary napkins - and yet not so much by the routine sexism and harassment that women face in their everyday lives!
To make people take note of this problem, Elone wrote little notes on pads and stuck them in public places around her city.
Soon, the movement went viral across the world, with even students in Delhi picking up the baton
- Delhi college campuses too started sporting pads with feminist messages such as: “Period blood is not impure, your thoughts are” and “Don’t change your clothes, change your thoughts”.
The campaign began anonymously in Delhi, but the group behind it - students from Jamia Millia Islamia University - soon released a statement
to the public explaining their stance. “We did not recreate this initiative in Delhi for attention, only for awareness and as a way to push forward the conversation and debate of gender equality and anti rape culture in India
,” they said. “We are among many who are disgusted and horrified by the December 16th gang rape of Jyoti Singh and all the rapes that have continued to occur after it. Students who watched their country ban a documentary about the gang rape named India’s Daughter
, which showed how some in our society think. We are students who strongly believe our society needs to stop being passive about rape culture and accept gender equality.
Soon enough, the movement spread outside the bounds of college campuses and to other public spaces. And men and women from various walks of life agreed to pose with these “message” pads.
We think this campaign is BRILLIANT, because it gets the conversation going not just about rape but also about menstruation.
Getting one’s period is a completely natural process, and it is absurd that there are so many taboos associated with it
, and how the label of “impure” is stuck on menstruating women, even today.
Only a couple of weeks ago, Sikh poetess Rupi Kaur had her photo removed from Instagram because it had violated “community rules”.
Rupi wrote a strong response
about the hypocrisy of photos of girls as young as 12 wearing only underwear being allowed on the platform but having issues with the picture of a fully clothed woman who was menstruating. “i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak,” she said, and brought up one of the most obvious yet most ignored truths about menstruation: “I bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. my womb is home to the divine. a source of life for our species. whether i choose to create or not. but very few times it is seen that way.”
Instagram put the photo back up.
It’s important to remember that fighting the good fight for women is fighting for yourself. Mejaz, Kaainat, Mohit, Sameera (the people who started this movement in Delhi) and everyone else who participated in the movement, more power to you to make the right kind of changes in our society!
You can keep up with the Pads Against Sexism campaign by following their Facebook page
Images: Pads Against Sexism - Delhi
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