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.”

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Daughter’s Money-Who has the right to use it?

We are in the 21st century, where women have moved from managing kitchen chores to office chores. They are an integral earning member of the family now. However, these women are facing a dilemma today. The money they earn whom does it belong to? The car, house or any other valuables they must have bought before marriage with some or no help from their parents, whom does it belong to after marriage. What if they want to give a part of their salary to her parents even after marriage? Will it be OK with her new family? Will her parents accept it?

Many people have realized, that education provides the confidence and independence to a girl, needed if faced with dire consequences. So, thankfully many girls are being educated today. You can see the pride, if their daughters are scaling new heights in their career. However, many of them do not use their daughter’s money for their household expense. They either save it or invest it for their own daughter’s future. Some might use it for her own marriage, some might not even do that. Educating the daughter is their duty, but they do not believe they have a right on their daughter’s hard earned money. A message is silently passed on to their daughters, “You are only my duty but I have no right on you”.

However progressive we call ourselves, but we never get rid of the concept of girl being “Paraya Dhan”. The word “Kanyadaan” itself indicates giving away. As soon as girl is born, if a family is not dejected, deep in their heart they prepare themselves for the day when they will give away their beautiful daughter. Is not “Kanyadaan” objectifying women? Is she an object or a piece of land to be given away??Marriage is about two people spending their life together, why is it made to be a girl leaving her birth family!!!

There are many girls who financially support their family. However, once she is married, the right on her money is assumed to be transferred to her husband and his family. If the husband’s family is a good, they would say,” You know we allow her to help her family. After all they are her parents. We are not orthodox you know”. Who gave you the right to allow or not allow? It is her money, and she alone has the right to decide what to do with it!! The way, a girl’s parent has no right on your son’s income, similarly you don’t have any right on your daughter in laws income.If you have all rights on your sons money then why cant a girls parent have rights on her money.

There are so many women who help their parents secretly because their in-laws won’t like it or worse situation they might one day taunt her parents. Many parents seek help from their daughter secretly because they feel ashamed of letting the society know about it. It will hurt their so-called image in the society. Funnily, our society cribs if a son doesn’t take care of his parents but daughter has no such obligation. And if daughter takes care of their parents, they are labelled as – “Son”

By imparting education to our daughters, we have crossed one barrier. But true equality would be achieved when we treat our daughters with exactly same expectation as we treat our son. When we will truly believe that daughters too are an integral part of family irrespective of her marital status, the way our sons are.

This post is published here

Command, Not Demand Respect

Respect – I think is the most misunderstood word. The official meaning of respect is -a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. But we are always asked to respect someone irrespective of the fact that the said person may not have any single quality that can be respected. More so a girl is always advised to be more respectful (in other words subdued) in her behaviour. Is not respect commanded and not demanded??

  • Respect your elders -Just because they are born a generation before me. So? If they behave maturely, impart me good knowledge, have done some good work of course I would respect them. But if they behave rudely, throw their weight around I won’t respect them.
  • Respect your guests –I will entertain my guest, try being a perfect host. But if my guests are complaining for no reason (especially during any occasions), being difficult, then I will not respect them.
  • Respect your in-laws – This list is huge; anybody remote who will be your relative-in-law needs to be respected. And this becomes more important if you are a bride or from bride’s family. There are some disgusting customs, where the bride’s family is supposed to bend and show respect to the groom’s family (irrespective of the age of the bride and groom family member). How being the relative or parents of the groom gives any one extra brownie point? If you behave nicely with me, my family I’ll respect you. But if you on purpose try to taunt or disrespect my family for your own (being from the groom side) ego, I won’t respect you.
  • Respect your husband (Respect him as your GOD)- Yes of course, I will respect my husband and he needs to respect me. However, if he keeps treating me badly and insulting me, how can I respect him??No he is not my god and I won’t treat him like one.
  • Respect because he/she is at a very high post – You may be a CEO or the head of the police but if your behaviour or thinking stinks you won’t get any respect from me.

Then there are certain parameters to decide, how respectful one is. If you do not follow any one of these then you are an offender

1)Your attire- Yes, if you wear a saree and cover your head you are extremely respectful (You may be swearing them in your heart but that doesn’t count). They certainly don’t believe – “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. I fail to understand how what I wear can be a sign of respect for anybody else.

2)The way you talk – If you voice your opinion and if it is against what the elders say, then you disrespect them. If they hurl insults or accuse you in the most awful manner, you are expected to keep quiet. This is your way of showing respect, but if you back answer you are a manner less, disobedient child.

3)The ornaments you wear after marriage (for girls)- I was told that I show no respect for my marriage since I don’t wear any of the ornaments which signify that I’m married. I simply looked at them and laughed and by doing so I definitely disrespected them.

I will respect you as long as you do the same. But if you are a stubborn arrogant rude person, I won’t respect you just because you are any of the above. If you cross your limit do not expect me to be a mute spectator. If my clothes, voice or the way I live my life offends you, I am definitely NOT SORRY.

This post was published first here

 

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

I AM NOT A SUPERWOMAN AND NEITHER DO I INTEND TO BE ONE.

Super-Man– One who has extraordinary powers to save the world. He has great strength, ability to fly. He is super-intelligent.

Super-Woman– a woman with exceptional physical or mental ability, especially one who successfully manages a home, brings up children, and has a full-time job.

Why this difference? Why can’t a woman be a superwoman if she simply saves the world? Why does she need to worry about managing the home, kids, jobs etc? Isn’t the superman’s job a cakewalk compared to the superwoman’s?

He simply needs to focus on one thing, and if there is no threat to the world, he doesn’t need to manage the house, kids etc. to retain his superman title. However, a woman needs to be continuously on her toes to meet everyone demands to retain her title.

Why can’t a woman who simply chooses to focus and excel in her career be a super-woman? Why does she need to excel in the household chores?

Why does a woman who chooses to focus on her children and house not become a super-woman? Why does she need a high-profile, high-paying job to prove she is superwoman?

As they say, women are breaking boundaries. They are choosing fields which were hitherto male dominated. However, choosing a path breaking career does not catapult a woman to a superwoman position. She needs to prove her mettle in household chores, raising kids etc. There is a lot of pressure amongst women especially the working women to excel in every field. Doing an excellent job at work is great but can you bake a cake? Or do you get to spend enough time with your child after working so late?

And the housewives have a different dilemma altogether. Their work is not noticed to even garner appreciation. The funny part is, if she does a great job at managing the needs of her household, it is dubbed as a minimum expectation owing to the fact that she stays at home anyways. And if she is not managing well, then she is completely useless.

I don’t want to be a super-woman. After working for 12 hours in office, I cannot go back home and do all the household chores. I get tired too. And during my days off, I too like to relax. I would like to read a book or sleep or watch my favourite TV series all day. No, I don’t feel like cleaning my house or trying to cook a new exotic dish. I don’t care. I am human and surprisingly my hormones do not behave the way, they are expected. Since they are a rebel, so am I.

This post was published on  msaaw.in