Aditi Gupta is breaking illogical taboos about menstruation
Necessity is the mother of invention-this is perfect in the case of Aditi Gupta. She had no idea about her body when she got first period at the age of 12, but that was an eye opener for her to lead a movement on spreading awareness about menstruation. Now, she is breaking the taboo around menstruation with comics.
With Tuhin Paul, she cofounded Menstrupedia, a friendly yet comprehensive guide to periods which helps girls and women to stay healthy and active during their periods. Aditi tells about her social venture and Indian society’s misconceptions about menstruation
A comic book on menstruation! How did you come to this innovative idea?
Me and Tuhin were friends and later we got married. So when we got into a relationship, I used to share him my inconvenience, pain and mood swings. That was a routine thing every month. And, Tuhin used to google it to find solutions to help me. Why we need to google it? Because the topic is stigmatized. Even after having periods for the last 15 years, I don’t have a clear idea about why I am menstruating?
We have chapters related to periods in our school syllabuses, but our teachers used to skip it. Thus menses has become a taboo among the people. Thus after long discussions, we have decided to start something which easily gives the public an idea about what menstruation is. And that was the beginning of Menstrupedia.
Is our society not aware about sexual health in its true sense?
Certainly! Still, people are not aware about sexual health. Most of our educational institutions skip the chapter. It is only because words like sex, menses, semen etc still under stigma. This should be changed.
What’s the way to deal with this?
We have to conceive an open approach. Sexual health and menstrual hygiene are very much important in one’s life. Why should we feel shame to talk about it? It’s not a disease; it’s a state of body. I think it may take more time to change the existing scenario. Menstrupedia is taking a small effort to change the taboos related to menses in our society.
Could you tell us about the content in Menstrupedia?
Menstrupedia is a comic book, talks everything about menses. Many mothers and teachers in our country are very much hesitant and shy to talk about menses and so that they fail to give the proper idea of menses to their younger ones. In such a scenario, Menstrupedia comes for your help. There are four characters in the comic. One aunt and three girls of different age. The entire comic is a conversation among this group on menstruation.
The language used in Menstrupedia
Initially we started with English, and now it is available in Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Nepali and Spanish. It’s also available online.
It’s a social enterprise, what about the funding?
Menstrupedia has raised funds through crowd funding. And we are happy that, being entrepreneurs we hit the right traffic.