The Biological Reality captures diverse menstrual health experiences and has been shortlisted at GoodPitch, Deccan.
The Biological Reality is an audio-visual storytelling project that captures diverse menstrual health experiences. The project’s primary goal is to represent the highly marginalised menstrual health experiences of menstruators in India.
The project was initiated by a team of four at BeyondBlood, a not-for-profit based in Bengaluru. The team comprises Anuhya Korrapati (Founder), Media Professional Geetanjali Gurlhosur, Photographer Namrata Menon and Team Lead Siri Sinchana.
Anuhya Korrapati, says “The idea for this project emerged from our peer support sessions. Each one of us has photographed ourselves at our worst and sometimes even at our best. These photographs served a purpose to us. It reminded us that our experiences are valid and real, it gave us hope for better days, it helped us articulate what we were feeling. It was cathartic.”
Geetanjali Gurlhosur adds, “This project adopts a participation-based photography method called auto-photography. The participants are given cameras to photograph themselves and retain the control of their narrative.”
The Biological Reality is patient-led and aims to create a patient advocacy network and peer support with the hope to empower patients to advocate for themselves. “Many of us have experienced medical gaslighting, and it can be traumatic. We want our stories to be heard, invisible illnesses and realities to be seen. We want to display these photos in galleries across India and hope that it throws some light on chronic disorders* like PMDD, Endometriosis and Adenomyosis,” Korrapati adds.
Evidence suggests that engaging in body literacy can encourage health-seeking behaviour and may contribute to an early diagnosis. The team hopes to inform policy reform to improve medical training and specialisations, which can increase diagnosis and treatment rates while also raising menstrual health awareness and body literacy.
Shortlisted at GoodPitch, Deccan 2021 – the project will be pitched to funders and partners in August.
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*Chronic menstrual disorders:
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) is a severe, and sometimes disabling extension of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that includes physical and behavioral symptoms. PMDD causes extreme mood shifts including extreme sadness, hopelessness, irritability or anger, breast tenderness, bloating etc.
- Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus and can be found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes or the intestines. The symptoms for this include pain and menstrual irregularities.
- Adenomyosis is a condition in which the endometrial tissue exists within and grows into the uterine wall. It often occurs late in childbearing years and disappears after menopause. This condition can at times cause heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, severe cramping, pain during intercourse or blood clots that pass during periods.