Misrepresenting Menstruation

It should be considered funny that advertisements can make the bloodiest and most metallic part of the female into a celebration of flowers, pink, and ideas of femininity.

When I say misrepresentation of menstruation I don’t mean that advertisements tend to show women who do not seem to experience any pain, period (pun intended), I also mean the kind of female personalities that they choose to advertise their sanitary napkins. Unfortunately, I have no idea of how tampon advertisements go because in India, stuffing things up yourself is a taboo, whether it be for sex or for blood.

Sanitary napkin advertisements are one of two kinds: about either a woman who is troubled by the lack of sleep during periods, or about one who has major deadlines that she has to meet. As a parallel to the Indian Woman who handles office work along with her house work, the period inflicted female is either determined or troubled. Neither of these make sense because during your period, you don’t really think about whether you’re getting sleep because you’re not – period (pun intended, for the entire column).

For the sleepless female, the answer is always a pad which lasts all night and which allows for changing the slumbering/napping position as she likes. Let me tell sanitary napkin companies a little secret: we will wake up anyway and unless you make us a fully fledged diaper, we will not toss and turn. Isn’t the truth simple enough for you to swallow? Oh wait, you like us to be disturbed, don’t you? Menstruating females need to wake up at least once to check whether the blood has leaked anywhere and to check whether the so called pad of glory is continuing to withstand the onslaught of the battle.

This logic also stands for the pad that lasts the whole day and the woman in question who manages to go for a long walk.

Let me put this in terms that everybody can understand: as horrible as the pain is, as awful as the cramps are, as bloated as you feel during your period, you do not ignore what you do in your daily life because of the pain. If it is an unnecessary physical activity, then you do not do it in any case. If it is required and important, you will do it. Nobody has their period and happily goes for a long walk for no good reason. They go for a long walk because they need to go to the grocery store, or because they need something or because they feel bloated and need to do something about it.

Now, to our other menstruating heroine: the woman who is determined, who is ready, who is only accepting her period as a part of her femininity because she can obviously stop the period just by strongly saying ‘no.’ The woman who runs up and down the metro, despite her period – and does so with a smile. And never forget – she’s always wearing white and tight.

I know that people are barely aware of female biology, but on a day when relentless cramps and a bottom dripping blood cross all your limits of discomfort, you would not be wearing white skinny jeans. That just does not happen.

These advertisements are made to look like they are having sex with you: the practically orgasmic  Indian mother who just loves cooking for her family is made that way to make you think that she is your wife or your mother. Similarly, the period powered woman is made to look like she’s going to power through this while looking sexy – which makes no sense because periods just make you feel unsexy, personally speaking.

Periods don’t cripple us, but they also don’t make us happy about being able to beat them. When you are on your period, all you can feel is “Okay then,” along with the pain. Occasionally, it gets back-breakingly bad, and individual cases differ – so some people do have constant and unceasing pain, but most of us get through life just fine.

One would think that this wouldn’t be the case, since there is actual blood literally gushing out of a hole in your body but you just get used to it.



T in a Cup


A Cup of T
‘T’ as in me, ‘Cup’ as in tea, ‘Of’ as in preposition and ‘A’ as in article. Bringing you thoughtful rants on TV, books, society and various other things induced by too many cups of ice tea.

Written by Tanvi
Updates every fortnight

Column icon by Sanna Jain
Featured Image by Stuti Pachisia


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