When I co-founded Recircle (a menstrual cup brand in Pakistan), I got to hear many interesting things, from:
“Omg, you’re so brave!” to “Ew, how can you sell this openly?”
My co-founder, who happens to be a man, heard things like “Haw, koi mardon wala kaam karo!”
Not that this bothered us. We usually just laughed these comments away. But selling menstrual cups in Pakistan made us realize that the word period is not commonly found in desi people’s vocabulary. It makes you either ‘besharam’ or ‘bold’ to say this word, and we think both these associations reveal a lack of acceptance of a natural, recurring, bodily process — and that needs to change!
Why? Let me explain.
1) Almost half of the world’s population gets their period every month. Why should it be such a big deal to talk about it?
2) There is nothing ‘dirty’ or ‘impure’ about a period. Period discharge contains blood, endometrial fluid and tissues, cervical and vaginal mucus, and vaginal microbes. None of these are toxic materials — they are safe enough to nurture a baby inside a woman’s womb. Why should then talking about period be considered ‘besharmi?’
3) Many women do not know what menstrual product options are available to them in Pakistan, because ‘period-talk’ is a no-go zone. Menstrual cups, for example, are barely known to the women of Pakistan, whereas they have been available in the world for as long as 75 years.
4) Education related to menstrual health is absolutely essential for women to stay healthy, active, and safe during their period. How can we do that unless we have open discussions on period?
5) Many men have little or no knowledge about periods because it’s not ‘manly’ to talk about it. Talking about periods can actually help create a more empathetic society, instead of cracking jokes like: “why so cranky, is it that time of the month?”
We are helping change things by talking about the period taboo through our blogs and our social media channels. Moreover, we are providing a menstrual product alternative to women of Pakistan that is reusable for up to 10 years and is safe for their body and the environment. Many women order Recircle Cup on their husband’s name, but we hope that, soon, every woman doesn’t feel ashamed to use this menstrual product and that, in Pakistan, periods are treated as normally as breathing. Being desi should never mean that you cannot talk about periods!
This article is written by Wasma Imran, the co-founder of Pakistan first Menstrual Cup Brand. Find out more about recircle cups here