In a patriarchal country like India, we rarely get to see such “odd” combinations like man-shame, man-manners, man-boundations, or man-kitchen.
I had read about the real story of padman (Arunachalam Muruganantham) at the beginning of 2016. Somehow I had anticipated the arrival of a movie on it. And am glad, it happened.
Akshay Kumar’s movies automatically take me to the theatres. But watching padman was a completely different feeling for me. It was like facing the most untalked and dense reality of our life on such a big screen.
Things were much easier for me, growing up. I have always been around progressive women in my family. And I emphasised on women because I believe a girl being around empowering women doesn’t need a man to lift her up.
Men see our struggles, understand those and then stand along with us. Amidst this, the taboos of society make it harder than it’s shown in the movie.
But if a woman comes out for a change, she won’t have to go through the first two procedures. Because we all know how it feels to be a woman.
From my school life to the college, I have been with a few amazing girls. I remember the times when I was careless about my state of being and watching my friends taking care of themselves couldn’t even come as a lesson to me. Because few things were really out of my control. I think we all are different and we have our ways to deal with certain problems. We take time and learn to tackle. And then, one fine day we master it like we had never failed. But I think, one of the few things that I never see myself mastering is my menstruation phase.
From the very beginning, my menstrual days used to be those days when I wished, I was dead. Then and there, I made my real best friends. And those were the ones getting along with me to restrooms, teaching me how to handle leakages, and then, at last, handling me. I wish I could go and thank each of them. These small gestures are the fundamentals of women empowerment.
I won’t bring men to my subjects. Not because I don’t count them as someone to understand women but because I think if you are stepping out and asking the world to change, why not begin the charity at your home first. So my focus is on the women. Not on just women, but the perfect ones. I got this idea of perfection when I encountered women who talk about women empowerment on social media, claim to be feminist and then end up judging the very next woman sitting next to them. They can mortify the other woman and make her want to kill herself out of disgust. And the reason would be just general fun.
You must be thinking about one of your incidents. I will tell you mine.. but in a free verse poetic way..
It’s my interview day in a MNC….
Yes my pad is soaked in red
My pant might get stains
and cross when
I sit on that couch
Which is oh so not red.. or black..
Or dark enough to
Soak up the blood
It’s already late
“I’m so disgusting ”
10 years since it started
8640 hours of cramps
1800 sanitary pads
All wrapped in hours of shame..
And plus 11520 hours of
How to keep it concealed …
And yet now,
Am messy and gump,
Oh please !! That’s nothing !
My mother at this age
Had me in her womb..!
The clock strikes 12
My turn is the next..
They have interviewd the rest..
File in my hand has
The experiences , they need
The qualifications, they ask
The answers , they must admire
The degree, they seek
So I stand, poised
Pretending nothing makes me weak
As I walk by,
Something behind holds me back..
It’s not a friendly cheer
Or an advice
To handle the sitch
There are laughters
And that’s where it starts
My first step to glitch
I can hear those giggles
Too feminine to believe
the words being said
Sneering at my stained pants
I’m so disgusting
I curse again
“Oh,you damn woman !!
Perfect you had to be. ”
This needed to have a nice end, but things turned out to be so mortifying and disappointing that I don’t want to put a bad example here. I went home with a pulled face and an unattended interview. I failed myself at the point when I put my self-esteem down believing in the words I heard.
Since then, I haven’t let myself down due to the words and actions of others. This is the worst thing we do with ourselves. I had never thought, I would be able to write that incident in words. I carry a message that I can pass to every woman out there. Be it the ones who are just experiencing the changes or the ones who are going through various other changes along with this mandatory cycle. The message is loud and clear.
Appreciate your body type, skin tone and the changes you are experiencing. Your flaws are okay. They are as natural as you are.
That pad gets displaced, and when it needs to be adjusted or replaced, it’s alright to stand in the middle of the class and ask to go out. The looks on their face should not stop you.
Stains are okay. Treat them like other stains. Wash them. Don’t get ridiculed, or ridicule yourself !
You might have heard of the period gang in friends. Friends who tend to have their cycle around the same date. It’s really interesting. Through this data, we get to know that in an area of around 60 to 70 girls around 15 girls are having their periods around the same time. A little more or less, but the cramps, the mood swings and small malfunctions go along too. With this massive unit of women going through the same functional cycle every month, and having the experiences of how things are, why can’t we be more supportive to each other.
We often are found blaming men for not understanding our struggles during periods. We are fighting against chauvinism and patriarchy for a very long time. Actually, it got too intense that the word “feminist” has now become a social abuse.
It’s high time, we, women started asking each other to behave well. We sometimes are incredibly mean to each other, and that is pathetic.
Let’s appreciate each other. Let’s empower each other. Let’s teach each other what we learned way too late. Let’s make it much easier for each other what made us fall.