Menstrupedia: The wikipedia on growing up

Aditi Gupta on how Menstrupedia is tackling the existing lack of proper approach and knowledge on pubescent development in the digital age.


#8yearsback is trending on Twitter as we write this.

And the one thing we can think of that wasn’t as widely available were the many safe, healthy and informative forums online for young adults to understand the natural yet confusing and complex changes their minds and body undergo. While information in its many definitions was available for the post 2k kids in India, it was either shrouded in mystery or scores of Google pages (not to mention those annoying pop ups).

8 years onwards, sensitive topics like menstruation, hormonal changes and sexual hygiene has many references in pop culture with interactive sites like Menstrupedia as reliable ‘wikipedias’ on the subject. We spoke with Aditi Gupta, the founder of Menstrupedia, to tell us more on how it is tackling the existing lack of proper approach and knowledge in this age of quick and real time information.

How would you position yourself differently from other material around menstruation, sex and teenage development available online from very good and reliable resources? 

There is plenty of material around the topic of Menstruation on the web. The problem lies in its academic nature. Taking useful facts out of such textual information is extremely hard with the current content on the web.

That is where Menstrupedia has an unique offering. Led by a team of interaction designers and communication designers, we invest time to design our content. We supplement it with extremely easy to understand illustrations. The use of friendly illustrations drives the threatening/taboo nature of the topic out of our content and create a comfortable narrative that is easily consumable.

The unique storytelling narrative that we build makes the content extremely engaging and readable. We intend to take this style forward and build illustrative comics, a style of information delivery that has historically succeeded as a tool for educating youngsters.

What is your target audience for this site? (age, location, socio-economic category, cultural community?)

Due to the nature of the problem we are tackling, Our audience is all females around the world, who experience menstruation as a biological process. Within this, we first want to focus on urban teenage girls who are new to the experience of menstruation and are extremely confused about it. This is predominantly girls aged 9-15 irrespective of location and cultural affinity. To target the rural population we are developing printed comic about menstruation. A prototype of the comic can be found here: http://www.talesofchange.in/

Having said that, older women can also benefit from Menstrupedia if they have concerns/doubts around the topic. Because of the taboo nature of the topic, a heavy percentage of older women have a lot of doubts as well. Our Q&A section allows anyone to post their doubts around the topic and receive an answer. We expect this to be widely useful to anyone who is concerned about menstruation in their lives.

Last, the content can also be used for educational purposes by the likes of educators & parents.

Do you think that while enough material might be easily available online for young girls, there is a skewed disproportion in this respect for the amount of reliable information available for boys?

Our opinion is that there is enough information available for both boys and girls. The root of the problem lies in this information being too academic and hard to understand. Most of the time instead of benefitting them, it leads to more doubt and insecurity in the minds of young readers.

Information around such important topics need to be carefully designed to deliver on consumability and friendliness.

What kind of a social media strategy have you thought for such a product feature? How do you plan on actively engaging audiences on a topic that still remains hushed and is not typically initiated? Do you aim for a day when menstruation becomes such an open talk that people would openly leave a tweet/message on your wall?

We are using social media to reach out to a large number of people such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube and Google plus. We create menstrupedia’s monthly video journals so that we could connect to more number of people.

People have been tweeting and writing on facebook wall as how Menstrupedia helped them in explaining about the subject to their younger sisters and niece. People in general do not want to discuss their personal experiences about menstruation very openly and require a degree of privacy while discussing the subject. We highly respect their privacy. Our main aim is to make people aware of the facts about menstruation. Getting people to openly discuss it might take quite a long time. However, people have posted questions about menstruation and sex in Menstrupedia’s Q&A section.

Do you plan on tackling questions around sexuality and relationships?

At the stage Menstrupedia is (we are 6 months old), we are intently focused on driving content centered around menstruation. This in itself is a huge undertaking and takes up all our time. So at this point we are not actively handling other bigger topics like sexuality. However in our question and answer forum we receive query about sexuality and we answer those questions to the best of our knowledge.

How do you plan on making the site more interactive for young adults especially in this day and age of apps where they need to be entertained as they are informed?

Our product pipeline has a mobile application as an offering. With this application, we intent to help females track their menstruation, receive monthly dietary suggestions and essentially cover all aspects around the topic.

Because our content is highly illustrative, we hope that it is engaging enough for it to be entertaining and informative. We are also making an audio visual comic for tablet platforms to help introduce and explain the subject toyoung girls.

 


  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. more

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  ABOUT THE AUTHOR
The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created--created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. more

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