FEMINIST FRIDAY: Dismantling Period Stigma, Toxic Masculinity & Islamaphobia

You know the end of the work week is here when you’re reading one of our Feminist Friday installments! It’s our favorite way to head out for the weekend, by sharing the videos we are crushing on. And of course, as the name suggests, we think they send an important feminist message too.

The first video is a TEDx Talk given by entrepreneur and activist Aditi Gupta from India. This badass woman is on a mission to dismantle period stigma in her home country, where it becomes a barrier in more ways than one. Many girls, including her, grow up not knowing much about what menstruation is, but are only told they are “unclean” and forbidden to enter a temple during that time of the month.

“That is how I grew up, seeing myself as impure. That sense of shame was instilled in me from a very young age…We are taught that vagina is a shameful word, and a censored word. If the word is censored, that body part becomes censored, she said.

As a result, the awareness about menstrual hygiene is low and women, especially in rural areas, resort to using unsafe materials such as dirty rags. Inspired by Gloria Steinem’s essay “If men could Menstruate”, Aditi told Time.com that it was a light bulb moment which led her to create a comic series called Menstrupedia. Today, the website, social media channels and comic book reach over 30,000 girls across India, and Aditi hopes to take this further across Asia and Africa, where menstruation taboo abounds.

The second video is from artist and poet Guante, whose work is so brilliant and thought-provoking, we can’t believe it has even taken this long for us to discover it! Full name Kyle Guante Tran Myhre, this slam poetry champion based out of Minneapolis is also an educator who regularly uses his stage time to deconstruct traditional notions of masculinity, and challenge dominant narratives related to race and racism.

We’re not kidding when we say “run, don’t walk” to Guante’s Youtube Channel where you can see his short, sharp and searing performances on subjects such as white supremacy, consent, and faith, as well as some of his original rap. A video that recently went viral after being shared by Huffpost Women was his “Ten Responses To The Phrase ‘Man Up'” video, where he breaks down toxic masculinity.

This is a topic that is very important in today’s culture, and having it acknowledged and discussed by a man is what we need to see more of. We encourage you to take notes and share this video with anyone you know who would benefit:

Our final video is part of a new series by activist Zainab Salbi, a woman whose story and name has become synonymous in the NGO world for her work with women in conflict zones. Zainab grew up in Iraq under the Saddam Hussein regime, but was sent to the US at age 19 for an arranged marriage by her parents as they didn’t want their daughter to become a victim of the dictator in any way.

Zainab started Women for Women International, which has helped over 400,000 women to date in areas such as Bosnia, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Her work has branched out into media and journalism, where she has found a more powerful medium to share messages of importance and challenge people’s stereotypes and perspectives on certain issues.

She has partnered with The Huffington Post for an online series called ‘The Zainab Salbi Project’, where she tackles topics such as Islamaphobia in America, the radicalization of youth, and  India’s third gender. Season 1 has 8 episodes in total, and we have shared episode 1 titled ‘Fearless Muslims in Minnesota’. Zainab confronts stereotypes affecting Muslim women who choose to wear headscarves or hijabs as a means of empowerment and self expression — despite threats, harassment and physical danger.




One Comment

  1. Pingback: FEMINIST FRIDAY: I Can't Keep "Quiet" & "Pretty Big Movement" Destroying Dance Stereotypes - GirlTalkHQ

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