After noticing a period stain on Anushka Dasgupta's clothes, people around her tried to help her cover it up. It turns out their encouragement to conceal the evidence of her period only made her want to talk about it even more.
In a Facebook post from Jan. 17, the 16-year-old from Kolkata, India, described the reactions she received after her pants became stained while she was on her period.
"There's nothing unusual about my evening except for the fact that multiple women walked up to me on my way home and asked me to pull my tee shirt down, most men ogled, all the kids I met didn't notice/care," she wrote.
After recognizing that something so natural as her period caused such a response from people around her, Dasgupta wanted to send an important message.
"I AM NOT ASHAMED," she wrote several times in the post, directed to the women who wanted to help her "hide [her] womanhood" and the men who "ogled" her.
The teen also had advice for the children who didn't react to the stain on her clothes, but who one day might fall victim to the stigma surrounding periods.
"Do not whisper when you utter the word 'PERIODS,' do not subtly offer a woman a sanitary napkin, or a fresh change of clothes," she wrote. "ASK her if she needs one, TELL her she has stained her clothes, DO NOT HELP HER HIDE IT."
Dasgupta told The Huffington Post that she wanted to highlight the importance of standing up to period-shaming with her post, which has been liked more than 12,000 times as of Monday morning.
"There's an ingrained stigma that's been instilled in us from before we even hit puberty," she said. "There's always a cloud of silence surrounding menstruation, and I really don't understand why it should be so."
To continue combating period-shaming, Dasgupta encouraged others to step up and talk about menstruation.
"We need to start conversations around menstruation," she told HuffPost. "We've already identified the problem, and it's high time to start talking about it and annihilate it."
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