Category Archives: Women

Period Stain-To Show or Not?

I came across a lot of posts and some photos, where girls were showing their period blood. Spots on bed sheets or pants. With Captions- “There is no shame, do not shy away”. With no offence to anyone, I don’t think showing blood stains on purpose is a great idea. I squirm when I see blood in the washroom or see a used pad thrown out in open. It is similar when I see stool leftover in the washroom or in open. To be fair, the sight is not pleasant and I have no qualms in accepting that. Why should it be beautiful??It is as natural as passing stool or urine and neither of them look or smell good. We are taught to keep washrooms clean. We potty train our kids and use diapers. We don’t display photos of our or our babies stool and urine (I hope not, I ‘ve seen so many weird updates on Facebook that I won’t be surprised if someone has actually done that).

I would not wear a white pant, if I know my flow is heavy and it can cause stain. To me it is as natural as the other two motions. The way I control my sensation so that it is not displayed for public, on the same lines is my period. As I mentioned in my earlier post, the advertisements idea (of wearing white pants, running) do not resonate with me.

Achievement would be, when we can discuss freely about periods with anyone under the sun. Neither me nor the person I am discussing it with feels uncomfortable about it. When all the myth surrounding the period is broken. When women can freely enter temple, period or no period. When women are not treated as untouchables. When women who suffer from period pain are shown empathy. When boys and girls are, both educated equally about periods.

When this is achieved, the girl won’t feel embarrassed if there is a stain unknowingly. She will simply go change and carry on without any prying or questioning eyes.

“This blogathon is supported by the Maya App, used by 6.5 million women worldwide to take charge of their periods and health.”

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No shame I have Period Pain

My first tryst with my period was no fairy tale. It was painful with heavy flow.It would reoccur in 20 days and I bled for 8-9 days.The nightmare continued months after months. Till today,I fret when my period dates is near.

But there is a difference between my acceptance of my period pain today and when it started.The sanitary pad ads showed that you can do anything you want ( dance,jump,run) during your periods. This time of the month is like any other time. My naive mind believed what was portrayed. However my body was giving me different signs. It was asking me to relax,to take it easy,to find a comfortable position to sleep for the pain to subside. Growing up with two elder sisters who absolutely had no problems during their menses,made my determination to lead a normal life during my periods all the more strong.However my body was not with me. Forget running,I couldn’t even get up from bed at times. I was told that pain is normal,but i should not let it deter me. I sighed thinking my pain bearing capacity is less. It kind of isolated me. I found it hard to describe to others what I went through. I consulted doctors and they helped me in normalizing my period flow and pain.Yet,it was not completely painless. Yes I could carry on my with normal work ,it was not as bad but it was there. Over the years I think you learn to live with the pain.

        In early 2000, I discovered the magical world of Google and searched how many girls suffered like I did. To my surprise I realized many girls had exactly the same problems like I do. It occurred to me that our society is uncomfortable talking about periods. Many of us must be suffering from stomach ache due to periods but when asked what is the problem,we would say head ache,back ache. This is more soever true if the other party worrying about your health is from the opposite gender.It is like there is some shame in saying you are in pain due to periods.When we buy the sanitary pads,we don’t carry it openly.It is wrapped in newspaper.We even change our pads in office by secretly carrying it.It is like “Voldemort” from Harry Potter. Everyone knows it but address it as -”You know who”.The boys gang say,”It is that time of the month”,like if they say “Periods” it will engulf them and they would start to bleed.

      Probably growing up with a girl dominated family,we discussed it openly.My dad concerned about my health would keep track of my period date.He also has taken me to doctor and explained my condition.I have seen hesitation in both genders to talk about “Periods”.Girls giving subtle hints to other girls about having periods and guys plain ignorance on mistakenly overhearing the conversation.

I would like to say to all the girls ,”Having period pains and sometimes in extreme is not so uncommon.Do not go by the advertisement,they are fabricating lies.Why you suffer while others cakewalk through their time, is something no one can answer.It is like some have dust allergy and some dont. Do not shy away in communicating about it.It is one thing that is responsible for evolution of the world.So why the shame?Take pride in your contribution!!

“This blogathon is supported by the Maya App, used by 6.5 million women worldwide to take charge of their periods and health.”

Rakshabandhan-through-the-lens-of-a-feminist

It is that time of the year again, when the local markets are flooded with beautiful rakhis. Commercialization has seeped in –  there are now designer rakhis and unique gifts.

The name ‘rakshabandhan‘ suggests ‘a bond of protection’. On this day, brothers make a promise to their sisters to protect them from all harms and troubles, and the sisters pray to God to protect their brother from all evil.

Hailing from a family with two elder sisters, we tied rakhi to our first cousins. In our family, the tradition is that the sisters tie rakhi even to their nephew (brother’s son) with the same intention (i.e. promise of protection). As kids, it was all about getting together and gifts. We used to get a lot of – “Oh three sisters! Hmm, so no brother! As rakshabandhan and Bhai duj approached,“Whom will you tie a rakhi to? Do you have any cousin brother?”

As I grew up, I realized that something was massively wrong with this whole concept. The tradition is deeply rooted in the patriarchal nature of our society. Why do I need a brother to protect me? Won’t my sisters protect me or stand for me if required? Will I not help my maternal aunt, if she is in trouble? When we sisters raised this to our mom, she told us- “It is a tradition we follow. If you wish you three sisters can tie rakhi to each other.”

We did not do that, since our sisterly bond was way above all the tradition. I knew deep down my mom did not believe in this whole concept, but she did not mind performing the ritual. Someone told us that if you have no brothers you can tie rakhi to Lord Krishna. He will protect you. I wondered, “Why not Goddess Durga or Kali?”

I am sure many people won’t agree with my views and will say that I bring feminism in to everything. I don’t have a problem with this festival, but I have a problem with the way this festival again glorifies “Man being the provider and protector and women being weak.”

I have seen so many cases where the boys hear, “Do one thing – you tie rakhi to your sister, instead of she tying it to you.” Are we not giving a wrong message here? If it is about sibling love, then why doesn’t a sister tie rakhi to another sister? Or a brother tie rakhi to another brother? Are not all siblings bound to protect each other irrespective of the gender of the other sibling?

So what change did I bring into my family? I tie rakhis to my nieces too (not just my  cousin’s daughter but my elder sister’s daughter too). I tie a rakhi not for any promise of protection but purely for the family ties that exist and bind us all.

This dairy milk ad says it all!

This post was first published here

Daughter-In-Law != Maid

Supreme court of India said,” Daughter-in-law should be treated as a family member and not housemaid” splashed across the newspapers.

Reading the news,

  • Women and hopefully few men too were happy to see the statement. Something they wanted to scream and say to their parents/in-laws was now out in open. They must have folded the paper with this news at top so that it could be read by their parents or in laws.
  • People identified with the concern Supreme Court expressed. The news was religiously shared on social media for the public who uses social media sites as their news source.
  • As for me, the news at first amused me, than disturbed me and then I felt ashamed.

The highest court of India had to guide millions of Indians on the way to behave with their daughter in law. Do we need to tell people, is it not obvious!!

As obvious as the values we received in our moral science class,

  1. YOU should respect your elders
  2. YOU should never cheat
  3. YOU should help people in need
  4. YOU should never make derogatory remarks about someone.

Or as obvious as the lessons a girl is bestowed with when she is about to marry,

  • YOU should always stand beside your husband and help him grow
  • YOU should treat his parents as your own
  • YOU should accept the new family whole heartedly.

Sadly, the reported facts of India tell a different story and hence the aforementioned statement from the court. If read by the intended audience it would deter them to badly treat their daughter-in-law’s, hopefully!!

For the future generation, I think we need to also include the following in the moral sciences lectures:

  • Treat your daughter-in law with dignity
  • She is not a maid
  • She is a living & breathing human being.

Hopefully, in the future generation the facts and figures would be different.

 

Own up Girl

I am what some may call as “Feminist”. Well I chose to call myself, someone who would not like to bog down just because I was born female. I have crossed thirty and I have realized that nobody can empower you. If somebody else has given you the power, then that somebody can snatch the power away too. Empowerment needs to come from within. One needs to feel capable enough to decide for oneself, have the courage to choose what one likes and not get dictated by norms and rules.

As I met various women in my life, I understood that inferiority is deeply entrenched in them. And funnily they do not even realize it. The new Ariel Ad where the father apologizes to his daughter is the perfect example.

Women have been taught that it is their duty to look after all the household chores. Even if you are rich enough to hire a maid, you need to coordinate with the maid. It is like delegating the work you do not like or find time to your subordinate but you are the only one responsible for the output of the subordinate. My husband is super cool, but even he told me that I will not look after kitchen, it is your area. I told him, no its not. I have never done any ration filling or coordinating with maids before. I have led my life exactly the way he has. Thankfully he understood and now we share the responsibility.

I knew this relative of mine, who will not let her husband or brother do any household work. Mind it she is educated and is a working woman. How much ever dead tired she is, she says-“Why are you doing. I am there. I’ll do it.”  She gives me cold looks when I do not interfere when my husband is doing the household chores. She has been taught that men are not supposed to do this work. They are meant for office work.

Then there are women, who will share messages like how hard a women life is. She has to play different roles (sister/wife/daughter) to perfection (which means do all the stereotype jobs assigned) and manage office and yet maintain patience. Really, I think even the guys have to do the same, if that is the case.

Then there are other category who praise when their husband help them once in a while with some domestic chores. Or if they find somebody else’s husband/brother doing it. I think we should really stop doing this. Does anybody appreciate when women go out and earn? Then why such a big deal, when a man does household work. We should stop treating it as a luxury but demand it as a necessity.

The worst of all is the portrayal of women in our movies and tv serials. A girl who manages household chores and office both without any assistance from the man is an ideal woman. A woman who refuses to do so is the vamp. Other day I saw the song( udi udi from Saathiya) and I saw Rani Mukherjee doing all the household chores while Vivek Oberoi was simply watching her. I am sure while filming they dint even realize the message they are giving, because it is an accepted fact.

Also, women give up their lifestyle to adjust to the new family they are marrying into. My friend married a Jain and gave up Onion/Garlic etc etc. Another friend’s sister and one of my husband cousins gave up non vegetarian food as they married vegetarian men. Why? I am a vegetarian, I never asked my husband to give up. Why are you supposed to do that? Sadly, it is an accepted fact that a girl will have to do away with her lifestyle. Girls are expected to give up their jobs/career to move with their husband. And for them it is not a big deal. This is the norm, a girl always have to give preference to husbands career.

And then the ever eternal giving up your surname. I have been questioned multiple times by my office colleagues, friends, and family. Few of them have even send out invitations by adding my husband’s surname with my name. It is just assumed that a girl would simply take the name. Many of them have told me at least put your husband surname in the last. I have an identity that I created .It won’t change just because I married someone. If I have entered his family ,than even he has become a part of my family. Will he take my surname?

And most of the marriage customs are completely unfair. Our Pandit explained that during marriage groom is the form of Vishnu, hence the bride’s father is supposed to wash his feet. Really ? If groom is Vishnu, then the bride is Goddess Laxmi, then why the groom’s father does not worship her. And in the dowry marriage she indeed is the Laxmi. In some tradition a girl is supposed to display her skills (knitting/food etc ).Why the boys don’t display their skills? And then there are the blessings-“May your husband live long and you die before your husband” and “May you be blessed with boy”

Irritatingly, how much ever a girl succeeds professionally, she is always measured by how well she cooks or how artistic she is or how good she is at domestic chores. I have constantly been asked -Oh you know how to apply mehendi, rangoli etc etc. Or oh now she has learnt cooking, isn’t that good in few years she will learn everything. And most of these comments are by women.

Then are the free advice’s of taking your career slow; none other than by the working women. How difficult it is to manage both. Women should be the one who should slow down. Why should she be the one, because a child needs mother the most. And father has to work, he can’t stay at home. What will the world say? I rarely heard someone saying, that ask your husband to help you with the child that way you both can flourish in your career.

I know of very few cases where all of this does not hold true. Some would say that is because the husbands/fathers/brothers are supportive. I would say, it is because she never considered herself inferior to the male counterpart. Since she never moulded her thoughts and ideas as per what the society deemed correct.

A woman will be truly empowered, when she will be free to build her personality the way she desires. When a women will not be judged on predefined parameters. And when finally, she realizes that no one but she has the power to write her destiny.

The post got published here