A group of women studying in the prestigious Jamia Milia Islamia, New Delhi, are speaking out about sexism and violence against women in a rather creative way- using sanitary napkins. These students are sticking sanitary pads with feminist messages on them, all over the Jamia campus.
They adopted this idea from a growing international campaign that was started this women’s day, with the hashtag #PadsAgainstSexism.
Elonë Kastratia, a young woman in Germany, began to write messages about rape and sexism on sanitary pads, then stuck them in public spaces for all to see. She got the idea from a tweet she had noticed once, that said “Imagine if men were as disgusted with rape as they are with periods.” In a matter of days, the campaign started to gain momentum, with the picture being viewed and liked all over Tumblr and Instagram.
One of the girls involved in this project said that the initiative was strong, blunt, and innovative, and gave a perfect message about how women face sexism every day in their lives.
She also expressed her views about how they want to make people aware about feminism, and how important it is to have it in our nation. “In a country where sexism is still so rampant, this was a blunt initiative to spread awareness. The message is strong, trying to remove the stigma attached to periods, something extremely natural. Our pads talk about sexism in everyday life and how rape culture affects people in our country. We hope to focus on promoting feminism and recognizing that it means equality, not men hate. We want to make people think. Along with being so blunt it is an extremely enlightening project. We are trying to help people realize that the natural phenomena such as a period should not have a stigma attached to it while rape and other instances of violence against women go seemingly unchecked.”
However, the campaign wasn’t taken as well as they’d expected it, and it was cut short mid-way after security officials stopped them from going on.
“We expected people to at least be curious and read it, but instead they shunned it and avoided it and were even disgusted by it. In Jamia, among so many educated people we expected a slightly less disgusted response,” she said.
But that hasn’t weakened their will to go on and continue the campaign, and they said they would extend the campaign outside of Jamia, into various public places in Delhi.