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Men Didn’t Like My Take On Feminist Porn, So They Wanted My ‘Lower Chakras’ Fixed

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In 2013, I had just begun college. My energy levels and enthusiasm were shooting through the roof. I was beginning to understand the complex ways in which the media worked. This was also the time when a lot of us were first introduced to important theories/ideologies/ways of life, like, feminism, Marxism, capitalism and the like.

I was fortunate enough to have made it to the Youth Ki Awaaz Writers’ Training Program in my very first semester in college. The training program gave me the space to voice my opinions, and write about issues/topics that I hadn’t delved deeper into before. Two months into the training program, and a few articles later, my mentor thought it was time for me to test troubled waters, and she asked me to write about feminist pornography.

I was excited. I didn’t know a lot about feminist pornography, but I had, of course, watched porn before. I spoke with a lot of people, mostly friends, and asked them what their perception was of this particular kind of pornography. I did a lot of literature review. Watched more porn. It was enlightening in more ways than one about how deeply patriarchal sex is, as an act. How power equations are extremely skewed, and the male gaze is so omnipresent and pervasive, not just in pornography but also in pop culture. We’ve come to accept and normalize this predatory gaze in our lives no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel.

When the article was published on the YKA website and shared on their Facebook page, comments started pouring in, and they were not kind. The men, in particular, were not kind with their comments. They were not happy to know that women too, not just watched porn in large numbers but also had an opinion about it. All the mansplaining did affect me.

Here are a few gems:

A lot of readers (who were also women) came out in support of the article, and it was very reassuring. Their comments helped me think deeper about the issue.

I learnt a great deal more about patriarchy and misogyny, and the many ways it can manifest after going through all the comments on the article. It was interesting to observe how little it takes to get people to take personal digs at you, especially when they’re using a fake or anonymous account. I was disappointed with the overall engagement, but it made me very happy to know that the article resonated with lots of women. And that really was the whole point.

I’ve continued to write on various issues, and the comments don’t bother me anymore. I look for comments that reflect thought, and genuine engagement with the text. I’ve come to understand that it’s very easy to start a conversation on the internet, and it’s just as easy to trash that conversation.

I have blocked several people over the years who had taken it upon themselves to try and bully me for my opinions, but why should I have any of it? We shouldn’t be hesitant to protect our mental and physical even for a second.

I was just really thankful to all the women who wrote unabashedly about watching porn, about wanting to see better porn, and for calling out patriarchy in one of its most prominent forms in the 21st century. They helped me strengthen my resolve to be a better, more informed feminist. For a 19-year-old, it was a lot of help and I am really grateful.

P.S – My ‘lower chakras’ need no intervention, I am doing just fine. Thank you.

You must be to comment.
  1. Rahul K

    You are partly right and partly wrong, there has always been what you call ‘feminist porn’ it is sometimes referred as porn for women. But when you say women are shown as sex machines and it is wrong you are just plain wrong when men watch porn they want to see a women with big tits and ass and similarly when women watch they just want to see a man with a big dick,great body and a good looking ass and they(both men and women) watch porn in a complete sexual way cause they are just looking to quickly bust a nut. People who watch porn and think thats normal are morons and people who force their sex partners to do certain sexual acts which they so in porn movies are called RAPISTS and porn or no porn they would be still people capable of raping another person and porn doesnt encourage, I watch porn and I am yet to come by a porn video where people enact to be raped, the only porn close to rape is hentai which is like anime porn so your allegations are wrong.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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