Indian women stand in a circle with their mobile phones and a somewhat reserved but amusing smile on their faces. Men sit on chairs in the middle, screaming and moaning in pain, which the menstrual simulator transmits through two cables to their bodies.
As in many countries around the world, menstruation – and everything that goes with it – is still a taboo subject in India. In many regions, women are considered impure even when menstruating. They are kept away from social and religious gatherings, even the kitchen. A new campaign wants to change that.
“I never want to experience it again”
“It really hurt. I don’t want to experience that ever again,” says BBC influencer Sharan Nair. He tried out the simulator at a shopping mall in Kerala, in the country’s southeast. While “including me The men shouted and shook the store,” the women “felt nothing,” he recalls. Some youths even shouted for the appliance to be turned off immediately.
This reaction is not uncommon – on the contrary, says the All-Manual of the Local Section of the Indian Medical Association. “Women don’t bend even at level nine, while men find it difficult to overtake four, even though the simulator only captures 10 percent of the actual pain,” he tells the BBC.
“Cup of Life” set a world record
The project was started by local Congressman Hibi Eden (39) and the Indian Medical Association, which represents doctors. Menstrual simulators are now everywhere in the state of Kerala – whether in shopping centers or universities.
Set up Pain simulators to build an expedition mountain top. A few months back, MP Eden launched an initiative as part of the “Cup of Life” project, donating thousands of menstrual cups to women in Kumbhalangi village. Earlier this year, the Governor of Kerala declared Kumbalangi as India’s first tampon-free village.
The “Cup of Life” campaign culminated on Wednesday with the distribution of one million menstrual cups. It also set a new world record. Under their Instagram post the leaders wrote: “This is the beginning of a revolution.”
The goal is an open approach to menstruation
With Pain Simulator, organizers are now bringing this topic up close and personal with people. Lawyer Sandra Sunny, one of the women behind the campaign, says the simulator helps men understand how debilitating it is to suffer from such severe pain over the years. “For men, it’s a machine they can stop. But we can’t.”
The campaign aims to break down barriers that make open discussion about menstruation difficult. The people behind the campaign want to encourage open discussion and create a healthy, progressive approach to menstruation. And they have already been successful: as the BBC reports, in colleges in the Ernakulam district, the simulator has sparked great open discussions.
“If you directly ask school boys what they know about menstrual cramps, they are reluctant to talk about it,” explains lawyer Sunny. After experience with the simulator, they are much more open.
Menstruation is still a taboo topic
In this way, a lasting improvement can be initiated. Until now, women’s health, especially with regard to menstruation, has been the subject of little discussion. Although this is slowly changing in urban areas, many women still find it uncomfortable to talk about their periods with their employers or even only male family members – even if they last from day to night. Suffer from convulsions like hell. They like to grind their teeth.
Some companies around the world have started giving vacations to women during their periods. But this idea is very controversial. Campaign organizers in Kerala are happy if they can bring about a general change in mindset. (Oho)