As a generation X-er I grew up in a world that was challenging sexuality but only encountered the instability of gender as an adult in radical new academic texts which were not then yet part of our everyday narratives. My daughter born between Gen Z and Gen Alpha is growing up in a world of gender fluidity and multiple pronouns.
As a girl, I was made to believe that pleasure was something that existed outside my body, something that I had to seek out, something that was necessarily a product of a partnered experience. I don’t think I was even allowed to want pleasure, especially in its sexual forms.
Period tracking applications can also inform you about your general reproductive health and also caution you in case of an anomaly with respect to it. As menstruators in our undergraduate years, the primary reason I saw my friends using period trackers were to keep a track of when to carry menstrual products to college or avoid the risks of pregnancy.
Most of us, during childhood, internalised the lesson that sex or pleasure is ‘dirty’ and ‘bad’. Artists around the world are increasingly using ‘tactile art’ to challenge the shame and embarrassment that people feel when they look at their bodies.
But what about the “moments we don’t Instagram”? What about the uglier parts of our physical lived realities? What about the parts of our body, our identities, our sexuality we don’t perform on social media, but are still an intrinsic part of who we are?
So, even though “home” is supposed to be a place of comfort – a personal space which should allow us to express our gender, sexuality and bodies freely – this notion of home stands defeated in reality, where there are certain unsaid rules which govern the distribution and use of space.
Just this morning, I got an alert on my phone from an app with a grey icon that brims with seriousness; in a no-nonsense way, it announced: PMS is coming up.
इस बात के अनेकों कारण हो सकते हैं कि महिलाएँ बच्चे क्यों नहीं चाहती हैं, ठीक वैसे ही जैसे इस बात के अनेकों कारण है कि वे बच्चे क्यों चाहती हैं। बच्चे होने के कारणों को सामान्य करार दिया जाना जबकि बच्चे ना होने की इच्छा को ‘सामान्य से अलग’ माना जाना, शर्मिंदा किया जाना और संदिग्ध की तरह करार दिया जाना, सभी के लिए नारीत्व का ‘एक ही अर्थ’ बनाने वाले है।
I love children and have at various times in my life flirted with the idea of adoption. But I have known since I was a child that I did not want to birth children. I have never been vague or ambivalent about this decision. I have been consistently clear and concise that this is not my calling.
A short documentary on India’s menstruation man, Arunachalam Muruganantham, who wore an artificial uterus, was left by his wife for five years, and was called a pervert by the neighbours – all in his pursuit to create cheap yet effective sanitary napkins for women who cannot afford safe menstrual hygiene products.
A movement back to reusable cloth pads or even towards the use of menstrual cups aims not only to create ways of dealing with menstruation that are healthier for the body and the environment, but also to open up a dialogue regarding the taboos and inhibitions regarding menstrual blood that stem from culture as well as paid media.
This post is part of TARSHI’s #TalkSexuality campaign on Comprehensive Sexuality Education in collaboration with Youth Ki Awaaz. The author chose to remain anonymous. Menstruation was…
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[slideshow_deploy id=’6158′] I remember the first time I learnt of menstruation as a ten year old. One of our friends…