Monday, May 23, 2016

Shame on Me ???

Or is that shame on you ?? For making me ( and all women in general ) feel that menstruation is a cursed act of God and any and all visual images related to it should be hidden from public view. Or at least kept wrapped under layers and layers of brown paper. For that is what everyone including my neighborhood chemist would like me to believe.

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It so happened that I paid a visit to the neighboring chemist to buy a packet of baby diapers. And since it was almost time for 'that time of the month' , I asked the guy to throw in a packet of my sanitary napkins along with the baby stuff. Now as soon as he put it on the counter, i nonchalantly picked it up and put it in a clear transparent bag that I was carrying with me. As I shoved the money towards him, I happened to catch his expression. The fellow seemed too scandalized for words. I followed his fingers as they pointed at my bag and more specifically at it's offending content. Taking pity on him, I put the bag back on the counter. Almost magically a brown paper bag materialized in his hands and in a jiffy he had the packet covered and placed in my bag. Then only did his expression return to normal. Ok, let's amend that to 'almost normal'.

This was just one of the random incidents that I recollected when I reminisced about my tryst with the sanitary napkin. Everytime I have felt pity and disgust in equal measure for these ill-informed mortals who have been taught to stay away from the 'bad blood'. This wonderful video that I found on FB proves that for all our technological advances, we remain slaves to our own prejudices .

What do you see when you look at this video ? A man peeing in public which is a common sight in India versus a woman holding a packet of sanitary napkins in a see-through bag ( a sort of firsts, isn't it ). At a cardinal level, both of these have to do with the discharge of bodily fluids. But while most people tend to ignore the man's indiscretion, the reactions to the woman perceived imprudence are just about hilarious. Especially the bit when one elderly lady gestured the guy to step away from the girl. What was she expecting ? Was the packet going to blow up if it sensed any kind of male presence ? Or did it contain some kind of contagion that could eliminate the male of the species if unleashed on mankind ?. None, as per common knowledge. They are just harmless layers of gel designed to soak up liquids. But getting back to the man, is there anything aesthetic about a man flashing his dangly bits in public ? If not, why does everyone (save a few) prefer to turn a blind eye to him ? To me, it merely seems that men are allowed get away with anything. And we, the so called 'progressive lot' are just too afraid to raise our voice and do away with this mindless status quo.

Agreed, all that blood can make one swoon ( ahem i remember being told that men are the stronger lot ? ) but girls/women of a certain age have to deal with it every month. It is just a sign that the female reproductive system is up and working. Sanitary napkins are just a part and parcel of the whole thing. Not something that needs to be flaunted ( it's hardly that chic) but neither to be kept hidden under wraps. At times, the whole hypocrisy surrounding it seems to be similar to the one regarding the usage of condoms. We know everyone is doing it ( going by the billion plus population ) but we still prefer to live in denial. This scene from the movie 'PK' exposes our hypocrisy in all it's gilded glory.

But honestly, do you really need a martian to arrive on our planet just for raising all those relevant questions ? Why can't we think like 'PK' does ? Let drop the hypocrisy and adopt some rational thinking !! 

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