I am sure all of you have seen the whisper ad “she touche the pickle”? The ad is an initiative by whisper to began a campaign to break India’s period taboos. Whisper recently conducted an event in Bangalore’s Oberoi hotel where some popular personalities spoke about these taboos and what they meant to them when they were growing up.
I was invited to the event and had a conversation with each of these personalities about the same. I took several pictures and shot a video too.
At the event, actor Kriti Sanon, Golfer Sharmila Nicollet, Mandira Bedi, Founder of Menstrupedia Aditi Gupta, Veteran actor Tanvi Azmi and Dr. Suneela Garg, came together to share some shocking facts about primitive practices related to women’s health and hygiene prevalent even today.
Whisper begins journey to break India’s period taboos:
Whisper and independent researcher IPSOS shared disturbing findings of a recent survey on menstruation undertaken in key metros of India:
- 91% urban women residing in Bangalore do not wash their hair during periods*
- 68% urban women from Bangalore don’t water the plants during their periods*
- 65% urban women from South India don’t go outside during their periods*
What Kriti Sanon, Sharmila Nicolette, Mandira Bedi and Tanvi Azmi had to say about Whisper’s journey to break India’s period taboos
Linking sanitary hygiene solution & good quality sanitary napkins to confidence, Actor Kriti Sanon said, “While some of us women go about our professional lives with relative ease in the days of our periods, there are thousands my age who live every day bogged down by restrictions and taboos. A shocking 58% of urban women from the southern states of India do not touch pickle during their periods, more so 60% of Women across South India agree that it’s embarrassing to watch sanitary napkins commercials while watching TV with family. I want to encourage & urge all these women to go forth and defy regressive traditions in their pursuit of success.
Giving personal instances, she added, “My profession demands extensive travel, long shooting hours and rigorous rehearsals – and I simply cannot restrict myself due to these taboos imposed on us. When we have a superior solution such as Whisper Ultra with its all day long protection & superior technology, we need not worry.”
Talking about importance of menstrual education, Golfer Sharmila Nicollet said it’s time to ‘Whisper Out Loud’, “I think it is imperative that every young girl is imparted the right menstrual education, so that from a very young age she is aware of menstrual hygiene and practices. Hence I would like to advise family members, educational institutes to be supportive to the young girls when they get their periods and encourage them to participate in physical activities to be fit and confident everyday of the month. In this modern era we are blessed with a myriad of choices when it comes to high quality sanitary napkins, hence every girl should be educated on their usage and importance. Whisper’s strong advocacy and communication programme of bringing this topic out in the open and discussing it in public forums is a very positive step in removing the taboo of concealment. In a bid to change this mindset I applaud Whisper for taking up a cause and bringing it to the forefront of the society.”
Veteran actor Tanvi Azmi also shared, “I have personally successfully defied these taboos during my time. If I had followed these ‘pseudo’ traditions like my peers did, I would have been stuck with a regressive mindset and would have brought up the next generation with similar restrictions! As parents, we must have the right discussions around menstruation – and at correct times – with our children. Taboos that perpetuate our society must simply have no place. It is very encouraging to see that 96% Women from Bangalore agree that they should talk more openly about menstruation. Menstruation is considered a sign of good health & fertility and should be taken in that spirit.
The fundamental step towards empowering women during their menses is to create awareness on the importance of maintaining menstrual hygiene. On this note Whisper has committed to educate 15 million girls on menstrual education by 2017”.
About Touch the Pickle Movement
Indian women in the 21st century still adhere to primitive practices of women’s health and hygiene. Menstrual unawareness leads to unhygienic practices, social taboos and low self esteem among girls. When girls are on their periods, they are often imposed with a list of restrictions: Don’t exercise, Hide your purchase of sanitary napkins, Don’t wear white clothes, Don’t say the word ‘period’ out loud, Don’t wash your hair, Don’t venture out and so on.
Contrary to these age-old beliefs, growing whispers on the street say that these restrictions are no longer needed. It’s about time women broke free from these taboos. You know that you’re perfectly capable of doing everything you could have done on a normal day, then why let age old myths hold you back?
The genesis of these taboos happened years ago, due to a lack of proper sanitary solutions, and has been passed on from over generations of women; they have no significance in today’s world with superior technology in sanitary pads such as Whisper.
So ladies, if you believe in any of these myths and taboos, its time to break them and chase your dreams!