Features Friday, March 27, 2015 - 05:30
Monalisa Das | The News Minute | March 13, 2015 | 05:32 pm IST Follow @Mona_Lisa_Das "Period blood is not impure, your thoughts are", reads a message on a sanitary napkin stuck on a brick wall in one part of the Jamia Milia Islamia University in New Delhi. The message is part of a campaign, called "Pads against Sexism", which was recently started by a group of students from the Jamia Milia University. The members of the group, who choose to remain anonymous, have been going around the city, sticking sanitary pads with feminist messages in public spaces including metro stations, market places and bus stops. The “Pads against Sexism” campaign reportedly began in Germany. Elonë, a young woman from Karlsruhe, has been garnering international attention after she put messages against sexism, street harassment and victim blaming on sanitary pads in her country. Elonë herself is said to have come up with the idea after she read a Twitter user’s message from last year- “Imagine if men were as disgusted with rape as they are with periods.” today i shared some of those in the city, im not sure if its illegal but seriously i dont care bc they are easy to took of haha. I think its a good way to make attention on it. #feminism A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ e l o n ë (@elona_x) on Mar 8, 2015 at 12:47pm PDT "It is Elonë’s idea that inspired us", Nida*, one of the group members, tells The News Minute. “We think the idea is great. It is simple and blunt at the same time. And it provokes people to think”, she adds. "Periods are a natural process, so are menstrual pads. It is something every woman uses and yet it disgusts some people", says Javed*, who is also a member of the campaign. "Menstruation is natural, rape is not", "Streets of Delhi belong to women too", "Rapists rape people, not outfits", and "Kanya Kumari, Gandi soch tumhari" are some of the other messages being used in the campaign. Nida speaks about the recent incident in Bengaluru where a girl was beaten up by her father on the road in the presence of several onlookers. "They behaved as if they didn’t notice a thing. But these people will be offended by a pad", she says. (Image: Facebook/Pads Against Sexism - Delhi)  (Image: Facebook/Pads Against Sexism - Delhi)  (Image: Facebook/Pads Against Sexism - Delhi)  (Image: Facebook/Pads Against Sexism - Delhi)  (Image: Facebook/Pads Against Sexism - Delhi) Pads against Sexism is not just an attempt to tackle the stigma attached to periods but also aims at spreading awareness on several women rights’ issues. The group's initiative has shocked some, and few have chosen to not look at the messages. When the group first put the sanitary pads on their college campus, Nida says, “People were not going near it.” But it has also been able to impress many. “We saw two girls reading our messages that we had put in Hauz Khas. When we approached them, they told us that they had already heard about the campaign”, she says hinting at the popularity their initiative has achieved in a short span of time. (Image: Facebook/Pads Against Sexism - Delhi) The group knows the sensitive subject they are dealing with and say that they are “expecting a backlash”. Some have also termed the initiative “vulgar” and have expressed that it could have been dealt with in another way. “The taboo of menstruation means that people are not willing to discuss it openly. A campaign like this makes them uncomfortable”, says Javed. But the overall response to the campaign so far has been mostly positive and “pretty amazing”. (Image: Facebook/Pads Against Sexism - Delhi) (Image: Facebook/Pads Against Sexism - Delhi) (Image: Facebook/Jamia Journal) Nida narrates another episode where they approached a group of auto rickshaw drivers and asked for their opinions on the issue. “To our surprise, they didn’t shy away. They even told us that they’d help forward the campaign’s message,” she asserts. (Image: Facebook/Pads Against Sexism - Delhi) The group is trying to spread the campaign by involving their friends who in turn are roping in their pals. Men are as much part of the campaign as are women, Nida says. She is quick to repeat Elone’s message- “feminism is all about equality, not men hate.” (All names have been changed to protect privacy.) Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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