For many, it’s still unusual to see men holding or buying sanitary pads. This stigma results in some men feeling uncomfortable and others go to the extreme of refusing to buy pads or hold them in public.
A man walking into a store and buying the pads will either have people mumbling uncomfortable remarks and sometimes evokes ridicule.
Some men find it shameful to buy sanitary pads because of traditional beliefs and stereotypes. Often, it’s believed that menstruation is dirty and that people who menstruate are defiled during that time of the month, and should be treated differently to the extent of not being allowed to cook for their husbands and families.
From this, then, the question arises: what are we teaching boys and young men? Are we indirectly planting in their minds that it is shameful to be involved in menstruation?
These questions inspired Lindiwe Nkuna, of Lindiwe Sanitary Pads, to start the #AreYouManEnough initiative. The purpose is to get men involved in the fighting against menstrual poverty and how men view menstruation as a whole.
“The aim of #AreYouManEnough is to change the status quo. We have lived with these myths and stigma for far too long and they are setting us back as a nation. I know a lot of men that would love to make a change, but societal norms are holding them back. Lindiwe Sanitary Pads says no man should be stigmatised for buying sanitary pads,” Nkuna explains.
Her initiative, which started on 17 July 2020, wants to change the perceptions that exist about men buying pads.
One of the major objectives is to have men walk into stores and buy sanitary pads with pride. Nkuna says that on Fridays there will be a secondary hashtag, #MenInRed, on all social media platforms to encourage men to wear red clothing items of their choice as a symbol of menstruation.
This is to show solidarity with people who menstruate by being involved in the campaign. Nkuna encourages men to post pictures of themselves in red clothing and the menstrual products they bought.
Nkuna concludes: “There are men who have been buying sanitary pads for their loved ones for years, this initiative is also a way to show appreciation to them for not falling victim to societal stereotypes and pressure.”
This story was edited for brevity.
Written by Lindiwe Nkuna
The views expressed here are the author’s personal opinion and do necessarily reflect the editorial policy of The Daily Vox.