A lack of information available to the general public, coupled with a long-standing social stigma associated with its discussions, have made talking about menstrual health nearly impossible.
In an attempt to lessen that void, rapper/activist Sofia Ashraf uses a Villu Pattu – a style of storytelling to colourfully breakdown the pros and cons of various menstrual products, in an attempt to raise awareness for Menstrual Hygiene Day, which was on 28 May.
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Ashraf has used her unique abilities to fight a variety of issues. After her hugely popular rap Kodaikanal Won’t! forced Hindustan Unilever to settle the mercury poisoning dispute, Ashraf has gone in a different direction to use her abilities to expand peoples’ understanding for a variety of menstrual products, from sanitary napkins to tampons and menstrual cups.
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Though Ashraf’s previous hit videos have been characterised by sharp and witty jibes towards socio-political issues, in Period Pattu, Asraf has drawn largely from personal experience to simply convey the damages that menstrual products cause, both to the individual and the environment.
The video largely follows a formulaic pattern of presenting each menstrual product, listing down all it’s benefits before explaining all their shortcomings, of which there are plenty. Her two fellow singers added an element of comedy that serves to accentuate her most important points, rather than distracting one from them.
The key aspect of the video, however, is that it’s not a one-sided rant. Ashraf lists a series of viable solutions, from treating sanitary pads like medical waste, to making changes in one’s lifestyle whilst using menstrual cups.
The video sheds light on the variety of menstrual products that are available to women. Furthermore, Ashraf’s closer, who advised women to simply be informed about whatever menstrual product they used, was remarkable as it gave Ashraf’s message a logical conclusion.