What are men most afraid of?

In Pakistan — as well as many other places in the world — periods are heavily tabooed. The taboo arises from the menstruation cycle being directly associated with a woman’s private parts and, hence, the idea of sex. Another notion that feeds the notion of taboo is the idea of impurity. In South Asia, including Pakistan, women are not allowed to pray, enter the kitchen and touch food during their periods. In some South Asian communities, they are even secluded or kept out of the house while they are menstruating. More often than not, mothers tend to avoid educating young girls about menstruation. Thus, the cycle of taboo is perpetuated. 

In this video, Sujag — a Pakistani multimedia investigative journalism platform that focuses on issues and communities marginalised in the mainstream media and policy discourse — addresses the shame and secrecy associated with menstruation and sanitary napkins in Pakistan. It was recorded around International Women’s Day in Pakistan when a feminist organisation, Aurat March, ran a campaign to raise public awareness about these napkins as an essential part of an adult women’s life. 

"When our girls reach the age of puberty, so much effort is done to hide it as if we are hiding a state secret."

The video was originally published 4 December 2019 2020 by Sujag. Find the original here.

Navigating a changing world: media’s gendered prism

IMS’ media reader on gender and sexuality

Navigating a changing world: media’s gendered prism

IMS’ media reader on gender and sexuality