We are a nation of more than 1.3 billion people. For a country that shies away from talking about sex, Indians are definitely having a lot of it. Despite this, the conversation around contraception continues to invite raised brows. This conversation turns even more hushed when it is centred around women. With these topics still being taboo, buying contraception can be a galling experience for women.
Let’s have a look at five ridiculous things that women hear when they go to buy contraception:
The land of Kamasutra somehow seems to think that a woman buying a condom can sabotage its culture. Popular belief has it that a woman buying contraceptives for herself possesses the ability to uproot our age-old culture. Society is so accustomed to the oppression of women that a woman’s sexual expression in something as basic as this scares it.
To all of these people who think they are champions of our culture, how brittle is your culture to be vanquished at the sight of a liberated woman?
Our society is so afraid of sexually expressive women who have the ability to make decisions for themselves that it automatically labels a woman buying contraception as a slut or whore (Words that are inherently sexist, by the way). You know you’d be lying if you’D tell me you didn’t immediately attract the judgmental gaze of bystanders when you went to buy contraception for yourself. It is 2020, people! It is about time we start accepting that sex is meant not only for procreation but also for recreation!
That people have sex is an age-old reality. That women as well have sex is a fact. But another common unsolicited advice given to women with regards to purchase of contraceptives is, “Let it be your man’s job.” Contraceptives are a basic necessity. It is always better for a woman to be in charge of her own safety before she gets involved in sexual activity. And it SHOULD be okay for her to ensure that for herself.
A commonly asked question when a woman reveals that she is sexually active is, “What about your Izzat?” If your respect for a woman fluctuates with her choice for a sexual partnership, there surely is nothing wrong with her decision, but something major is definitely wrong with you. This parochial mindset, of a woman’s respect lying in her genitals, needs to change. The same question pops up even when a married woman goes out and buys a contraceptive. Why does she have to tell the world that it is necessary for her to safeguard herself from unwanted pregnancy and STDs, right?
If you are a woman who’s not married yet and someone gets to know that you are sexually active before your marriage, you are sure to draw ire of people. You suddenly don’t remain suitable as a potential bride for having messed with your ‘chastity’. First of all, virginity is a social construct. Secondly, why would you choose a partner who has an issue with sexual experiences you might have had in the past? Your past experiences do not change the person that you are.
This September 26, as we celebrate World Contraception Day, let us remind ourselves that voluntary sexual activity is not the yardstick to measuring someone’s character. Women taking decisions and making choices for themselves should not be vilified. With a lot more sexually active youngsters in the country than earlier, normalizing the conversation around contraceptives is not only desirable but also necessary.