An Initiative by Schbang and Boondh Cups
Menstruation has historically been a taboo subject in India. In recent times, while a lot of conversation has driven the discourse out into a space of open discussion, most of it has been led by cisgender women. The highly feminized language around menstruation has caused thousands of non-gender-women menstruators to wake up and still feel incorrect about a physiological process that doesn’t define their identity. To tackle the lack of representation in this space, Schbang For Good, the impact communication division of Schbang, & Boondh Social Foundation, a social enterprise working in menstrual health along the verticals of menstrual literacy, advocacy, activism, policy, programming, and sustainable menstrual products, collaborated this Menstrual Hygiene Day, to shed light on the experiences of menstruating people who do not identify as cis-woman and highlight the shared struggles of every menstruator.
Thousands of menstruators in India who identify as transgender have been systemically rendered invisible from the conversation around menstruation and the creative campaign featuring three menstruators acknowledges their stories and their struggles. Conceptualized & executed by Schbang For Good, #UngenderMenstruation is India’s first-ever gender-inclusive menstruation campaign. It aims to make menstruation in India truly gender-inclusive, petitioning menstrual products and hygiene brands to replace “women” with “menstruators” on all their branding and communication. The visual representation of the campaign has been crafted to create a conscious act of calling menstruators, “menstruators”.
Commenting on the campaign, Riya Parekh (she/her), Group Creative Head, Schbang for Good said, “As Creative professionals in the Advertising Industry, we’re constantly shaping the narrative of our culture. Therefore, it is our responsibility to write stories that do more good to humanity, than bad. In India, menstruation has always meant a cis-gendered woman in white pants conquering the world with blue liquid dripping on cotton strips. However, we know that isn’t the entire picture. Menstruators are more than feminine over-achievers and the menstrual experience is authentically painful and pure. With Schbang for Good, we’re working towards building communication that doesn’t put people into boxes, but questions the need for one. By starting India’s first gender-inclusive menstruation conversation, we hope one day every young teenager encountering their first stain feels confident and represented in the narrative, without the crippling feeling of body dysphoria or guilt.”
Sonal Jain (They/Them), Founder, Boondh Social Foundation says, “I look at menstrual health as an indicator of good hormonal health. There are months I like my period, try to sync it with the moon cycle, etc, and there are months when I hate it, especially given I live with PMDD, a menstrual-mental health disorder. Nothing I do in life is from a gendered lens – my role in the family, society, or my choice of romantic and sexual partners. Can’t imagine a bodily process being gendered – it sounds ridiculous to me. I sigh and move on. However, I know it’s really distressing for some trans & enby folks I know and I want media, society, and the govt to do better, to minimize dysphoria among the people AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth) who are not women.”