If you’re a woman in India and have bought sanitary napkins, then it is likely that these were handed to you in a black polythene bag. You might wonder why the black bag of shame cover a product that is related to women’s menstrual cycle, especially in the 21st century, but things have not really changed that much.
A YouTube channel by the name of Prank Baaz finally decided to raise the issue in a video titled “Sanitary pad is shame?”
The video has a girl visiting various chemist shops in Delhi/NCR and asking for pads. She is given the product wrapped in black polythene everywhere. When she asks why she has been handed the pads in black polythene and not white or uncovered, she is laughed at by the shopkeepers and told that this is how people demand it.
After the girl leaves, the shopkeepers deride her saying that the item is related to ‘sex’ and therefore must be hidden at all times. The girl is also mocked because by demanding the sanitary pad in a white packet, she is being ‘American’ aka western. Another shopkeeper says, “Log gandi baat zyada karte hain,” if she is carrying sanitary pad.
You can see the full video here. (App users watch video here)
As the video rightly points out, the shame associated with sanitary pads just stems from patriarchal notions in India where a woman’s menstruation cycle becomes a matter of shame and something that must be kept secretive.
The black polythene is just another reminder of this shame, which is often thrust upon women and it is time that this was done away with.
(Warning: Video has some abusive language which has been edited out by the creators)