When you get your period in middle school, it feels like the world is ending. You feel like you couldn't possibly move on or even step outside of your house. And then you realize there are ways to make this part of the month easier. You get a pad, you eat some chocolate, and you grab a heating pad and realize that you won't melt into the earth after all.
You still go to school, you still play sports, and you still interact with your friends and family. You still live your life as normal.
For the young girls in a village in rural India, this was a reality that they had once longingly wish to have, but it was far from their reach. Many young women experience a great stigma attached to their menstruation, so much so, that some even drop out of school because of the shame that follows them. If you didn't catch that, let me tell you again. Young women stop going to school because of the shame they receive from having a period. Imagine feeling so ashamed, so embarrassed, that you can't even attend school anymore. This was a reality for so many women. It's not that they wish to stay home, they feel so scrutinized that they have no other choice.
Many people were misinformed about what a period even was. And because of how many people are scared and reluctant to go near what they don't know, periods became highly stigmatized and shameful. It seemed strange and mysterious, and no one wanted to cross those boundaries to find out what the women in their community truly had to go through. Even though this a natural process that every woman goes through, these groups of young women in a village in rural India felt as though this was something to be incredibly embarrassed by.
As I mentioned before, when you first get your period you almost immediately have the tools to access whatever you need. Pads, tampons, heating pads for cramps, whatever you can think of. In fact, periods in the U.S acknowledge periods so highly, we even encourage young women to be open about their menstruation cycle. You don't feel the world stare at you when you buy sanitary products, you just do it. It's ready-made for you wrapped nicely in a box.
Before we see these hardworking women make their own pads just from some cotton and a machine, they used rags as a form of sanitary needs when it came to their period. As you watch the documentary, you begin to see confidence rise in the young women of this village who find their voice and learn how to use it in a way that can bring change.
Behind this group of powerful women tells a story of bravery and dedication. What once was something they had to talk in whispers has now become a topic that they can freely talk to anyone about.
If you want to feel empowered and courageous, this is the documentary to watch. As you watch these young women step outside their comfort zones we should feel called to do the same in whatever are we are needed in. Let these powerful women remind you that you have a voice that carries, a voice that has a purpose, and a voice that can change the world.