In the Indian state of Kerala, menstrual cycle simulators are found in malls.
Indian women stand in a circle with their cell phones ready and a somewhat conservative but amusing smile on their faces. Men sit on chairs in the middle, screaming and writhing in pain, which the menstrual simulator transmits to their bodies via two cables.
As in many countries around the world, menstruation – and everything that goes with it – is still a taboo topic in India. In many areas, a woman is still considered impure during menstruation. They are kept away from social and religious gatherings, even the kitchen. A new campaign wants to change that.
“I don’t want to try that again.”
“It really hurts.” Influencer Sharan Nair Zor says, “I never want to experience this again BBC. Try the simulator in a mall in Kerala, southeast of the country. While “the men, including me, shouted and shook the shop, ‘the women’ didn’t feel anything,'” he recalls. Some young men even yelled to shut down the machine immediately.
This reaction is not rare – on the contrary, says Achilles Manuel of the local division of the Indian Medical Association. “Women don’t wince even at level nine, while men find it hard to get past four, even though the simulator only captures 10 per cent of actual pain,” he told the BBC.
“Life Cup” sets a world record
The project was initiated by local Congressman Hebe Eden (39) and the Indian Medical Association, which represents physicians. Menstrual cycle simulators are now ubiquitous in Kerala – whether in malls or at the university.
Pain simulators are the tip of the campaign mountain. A few months ago, Representative Eden launched an initiative as part of the “Cup of Life” project, in which thousands of menstrual cups were donated to women in the village of Kumbalangi. Earlier this year, the governor of Kerala declared Kumbalangi the first tampon-free village in India.
The Life Cup campaign concluded on Wednesday with the distribution of 100,000 menstrual cups. This even set a new world record. “This is the beginning of a revolution,” the leaders wrote in their Instagram posts.
The goal is an open approach to menstruation
With a pain simulator, organizers are now making the topic up close and personal with people. The simulator helps men understand how poorly they have been suffering from such intense pain for years, says attorney Sandra Sunny, one of the women behind the campaign. “For men, it’s a machine they can stop. But we can’t.”
The goal of the campaign is to break the barriers that make open discussion about the menstrual cycle difficult. The people behind the campaign want to stimulate open discussion and create a healthy and progressive attitude toward menstruation. And they did succeed: At colleges in the Ernakulam district, the simulator there sparked huge open discussions, according to the BBC report.
“If you ask boys at school directly what they know about menstrual cramps, they are reluctant to talk about it,” Lawyer Sunny explains. After trying the simulator, they became more open.
Menstruation is still a taboo topic
In this way, sustainable improvement can be initiated. Until now, women’s health, especially with regard to menstruation, has been a topic that has not been discussed much. Although it’s changing slowly in urban areas, many women still feel uncomfortable talking about their periods with their employer or even just male family members — even if they’re experiencing cramps like hell day and night. They prefer the strictness of their teeth.
Some companies around the world have started giving women vacations during their lifetime. But this idea is very controversial. Campaign organizers in Kerala are happy if they can make a general change of mindset. (hey)
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