The day began in the worst way possible with severe cramps and nature’s wickedest way of congratulating a woman for all the days and nights of protected sex during the previous month. Men just don’t understand how dangerous a woman on her period can be. Believe me, annoy a woman who’s menstruating and she’ll devise the cruelest method to murder you. And I’m not exaggerating. To avoid committing a murder, I usually stay away from men. In fact I stay away from all human beings. Coffee and music calm me down (only for a few minutes and then I start cursing the whole mankind and curse my parents for bringing me into the world). Luckily, my S.O understands this is a difficult time for women. Probably, the idea of bleeding continuously for five days scares him. Before he starts making me eat (to make up for all the blood I’m losing), I tell him that all I need is a coffee and some solitude. This is one time when I actually get what I want.
So, I settle down with a cup of coffee in front of my computer in a position which seems comfortable enough. I open youtube to watch an Emraan Hashmi song (a bad idea to watch something with too much of eroticism, but then I’m determined that I’ll pay more attention to the song than to the video). Then I’m struck with an ad with no ‘skip ad’ option. What the hell! As I sit there, waiting for the ad to get over, I realize that it is a sanitary pad advertisement. Wow! What a coincidence! But this one is interesting. I find it somewhat realistic and it made some sense. It is about periods and sleeping positions. There are women sleeping in different positions and then a voice in the background says something about everybody sleeping in ‘attention’ when they are menstruating. The problem is solved by a particular brand of sanitary pads. It is longer at the back and has wings and thus, a woman is free to sleep in any position without the fear of staining the sheet (though I don’t understand what’s the problem if the sheet gets stained. I’m sure anybody can afford washing powder and a bucket of water). I realize that sanitary pad ads have started talking about the more practical side of periods. I remember the time when I was a child (before periods and womanhood happened and nature started having a good laugh at me every month), when the whole ad used to be a demonstration of how a pad soaks up more ink than cloth. Ink! Seriously? And then ad agencies realized that periods are not a big secret anymore and started coming up with more explicit ads. But then they all used to be about how women have to jump around or do some hard physical exercise only when they are having their periods. How about showing something realistic, like a woman sitting and working the whole day? Sadly, with all the open-mindedness and innovations, none of the ads deal with the more practical side of periods and the use of sanitary pads. None of them demonstrate how to dispose a pad. Of course it is clearly written on the cover that they are not supposed to be flushed, but that never stops some women from doing it. But in some cases the women cannot be blamed. I remember going into the ladies’ toilet of my school to change my pad. This was the early 2000s when we did not have many options. The only pad available was something like a small pillow that had to be changed every four to six hours. Winged pad was a luxury that was not easily affordable. I scanned the entire place for a dustbin, but couldn’t find one. A ladies’ toilet without a dustbin! What do they expect women to do? Carry the used pad in their bags and dispose it later? For a moment I considered flushing it but I didn’t. Since my home was close I decided to go there and change. I missed half of the class in the process. Not everybody can push away that first thought. And once a pad is flushed…well, I think most people are aware of the consequences. To those who are not, I will write a post about it.
Of course, I’m not criticizing the ads. If we have come a long way from being cavemen to the super humans with the globe just a click away, it is because of technology. And sanitary pads are indeed a part of it. I wonder who might have thought about it first. All the taboo associated with menstruation was probably related to hygiene. With sanitary pads, the taboo has almost completely vanished. I am happy to see all the feminism in sanitary pad ads, but practicality would be more useful than ideals.
Wow! I was so busy ranting to myself that I missed most of the song. I have to replay it and this time, I hope the ad comes with a ‘skip ad’ option.