Traditional attitudes, a lack of understanding about proper hygienic practices, and limited availability of adequate and accessible products can make menstrual hygiene management difficult. A menstrual cup is stigmatised even today in many households. It is frowned upon too. Amidst all this, 21-year-old Akhila Asokan, the founder of a women’s wellness startup Womelle Care, is fighting to break the menstrual cup stigma.
Also Read: Menstrual Cup: The A-Z Guide For Beginners
Who Is Akhila Asokan?
A mental health advocate and a clinical psychology student at Mount Carmel College in Bangalore, Akhila is an internationally qualified yoga instructor (RYT300). She teaches classes to people of all ages both online and in person. She has even acted in two Malayalam films, one of which is available on Amazon Prime and the other which is yet to be released. She is also a trained classical dancer who enjoys travelling and is continuously striving to fulfil her desire to learn new things.
“I’ve been exposed to plenty of negative stereotypes about menstruation since I was a child. I couldn’t understand why such a normal act of elimination was so stigmatized. From being warned not to go to the temple to hiding sanitary napkins like they were illegal weapons, I’ve seen it all,” Akhila Asokan says.
She further adds, ”Even though it is as natural as sweating and crying, it is nevertheless stigmatized. People enjoy watching blood in movies and glorifying it when warriors battle, yet something as natural as menstruation is deemed “too filthy.” Since it is a topic that is humiliated, many people even avoid discussing their period products or the challenges they experience.”
Akhila who personally had discomfort while using sanitary napkins approached other women and shared her experience. She discovered that they too, experienced similar issues, but everyone stayed quiet since “periods are not to be discussed in public.” Thus, she decided it was high time to break that stigma, and it was also around this time that she first learned about menstrual cups.
“Trying it for the first time was a tough experience, but it entirely transformed my period experience from terrible days to a delightful and active lifestyle. I knew I had to share it with others,” Akhila says.
She modified the cup based on many feedbacks before creating her product Womelle cup in the hopes of assisting other menstruators with their period troubles as well as their health and wellbeing.
Because of the social stigma associated with periods and period products in general, there is a lack of knowledge and teaching of various methods to use them in easy ways. It takes time and patience to try new things. As a result, many are terrified of the first learning curves. They are concerned about the size of the cups. A few of the stigmas people still believe are:
a) Using menstrual cups breaks your virginity
b) You cannot go to the washroom wearing a cup
c) A menstrual cup will get stuck in your body
d) Using a menstrual cup will loosen your vaginal muscles
e) Decent and modest girls should not use menstrual cups
f) A menstrual cup hurts when you use
“We have conducted campaigns for Colleges like Christ (Deemed to be University) in association with the environment club called the S.A.F.E club. We are in the process of being part of the ACTS group of schools in Bangalore and Mount Carmel College. We have also conducted workshops for doctors and hospital staff in Avitis hospital, Palakkad,” Akhila says.
Womelle care consists of a small team of four people, two women, including Akhila, and two men who love to discuss and shatter the taboos around periods and mental health. Along with this, they have a team of physicians and psychologists.
Is A Menstrual Cup Safe?
A menstrual cup is composed of platinum cured medical grade silicone, which is ISO certified. The precise bell-like structure with a firm grip and a flexible and soft rim is created by pouring molten silicon into specialised moulds. As a motive to help the Indian economy, they create their cups in Bangalore, India, using the best methods available.
The Womelle cup can be used by all menstruators from the age of 15 through menopause. Celebrities such as Gouri G Kishan and Neeraja, as well as creators like Dalsa Davis, Irene Ann Rohan, Mithila Venugopal, Abina Xavier, and many other women, have taken the step to change to Womelle menstrual cup.
On this March 8th, Woman’s Day, Womelle care will turn one.”We hope to continue to eliminate the stigma because menstruation is a normal biological function. It is the same blood that creates the placenta, which is so crucial for newborns and maintaining life. It should not be stigmatized,” Akhila says.
To reach Womelle care and to clarify all doubts regarding menstruation you can contact them through the following links-
Whatsapp: +91 9980640942
Through Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/Menstrual-Reusable-Protection-Infection-Silicone/dp/B092JKBMM5/ref=sr_1_5?crid=19SFE5XFA5U08&keywords=womelle+menstrual+cups&qid=1644852414&sprefix=womelle%2Caps%2C428&sr=8-5
Womelle care is also available in limited stores in Thrissur, Kayamkulam and Palakkad.