In an environment where speaking about menstruation is taboo, and most of us have been conditioned to never speak about it at all, this RJ is ending the stigma one speech at a time.
Joseph Annamkutty Jose is an RJ with Radio Mirchi in Kerala. He was invited to St. Teresa’s College in Ernakulam to launch a “Stain the Stigma” campaign. He had already delivered two talks in the college, but the topic of discussion this time took him by surprise.
“When I was invited this time, the first thing I asked the coordinator was—sorry, can you repeat that? To speak on menstrual hygiene, here is a man who has never in his life used a sanitary pad,” he told The News Minute.
However, he got over the initial hesitation and decided to speak about the topic with the students.
Joseph revealed that he grew up in a setup where healthy conversations on menstruation were not encouraged, and this resulted in the wrong perceptions and lack of sensitivity about menstruation.
He also admitted that it was only during Class 12 that he came to know what menstruation was.
“We had games to find out which girl in the class was on her period. If we saw a girl run out of the classroom on the 22nd of a month, we would eagerly wait to see whether she would run out of class the same day in the next month. We used to even ask to see a girl’s bag. If she refused, it meant that she had sanitary pads. This was cheap behaviour from our side, but sadly, that’s how we understood menstruation,” Joseph said.
A lack of education about menstruation can result in an insensitive attitude towards what is a purely biological process.
It also creates a stigma that results from unsatisfied curiosity.
Thankfully for Joseph, the women in his life spoke to him openly about what menstrual cycles are, and what girls go through during this time. These repeated episodes helped him become more sensitive to the topic, and he now utilises his position as a public speaker to engage in open dialogue about menstruation.
In his talk, Joseph said that in many instances, the only way for a boy to know about the female body is through movies, adult films and spiced up stories by their male friends. He insists that the best person to educate about a female body is a woman herself and urges women to talk freely about their periods with the men in their lives.
While the onus of educating men about menstruation does not necessarily lie with women, it is definitely interesting to see a man speak about the need for open conversations on the subject!