Sunday, July 13, 2014

I don't have balls, but I can explain.

Yesterday I had written a post about sanitary pads and I got hell lot of reactions, both good and bad. Some people totally misunderstood as to what I wanted to say. A man said I need to justify all their doubts because if I had dared to give my name under the article, I should have the 'balls' to clear their doubts. I am gonna do that. Not because I have balls, well, naturally it is not possible, but because I am tired of misconceptions engulfing and eating out our society.

1. Intention behind writing:

No feminist, modernist, whatever-ist intentions. I was having my periods, got reminded of this incident, remembered I had not written a blogpost for a long time, and wrote it. Once I started writing, I felt this is something serious, so I wrote it just like it happened. Usually when people give out an experience, their intention is to share the experience, and that's it.

2. So I am not a feminist?

Fallacy of exhaustive hypothesis. I am sorry for the huge term, but then I will take the time to explain it to you in very very simplistic terms- when there are two opposites, and when one does not conform to one, people think you are the other, when there is still another option left. If I say the post was not a feminist one, don't call me a non feminist. But I am neither a feminist nor the opposite of it. I am someone who faced an issue, had an issue and shared the issue.

3. Did I blame men in the post?

I did not blame anyone. The shopkeeper was a male, and he was doing his job. Sadly, no one saw the phrase 'he gave me a confused look'- people who understood it never made the point of the author blaming men. This phrase meant to show that the shopkeeper is USED to giving the pads in the same way to other women, and his confusion arose to my difference in opinion. So yes, the point this one simple line was making that I was going against the normal act which is a usual one in everyone's life. About my friend, if I was buying crocin, would he be embarassed? He was flustered, embarassed. But this does not mean I am blaming the male gender. Come ON guys. If he had talked to me, of course I would not have found him weird or spoiling my privacy. And someone said what will he talk about? About my flow? My dearies, just because I am buying a pad does not mean the guy will end up having only my periods to talk as a topic, isn't it? So please do not go for uneducated generalisations.

4. Ad hominem sentences.

I was not attacking intellect, of course. I WAS attacking prejudices because intellect has been marred by prejudices in our country. So yes, I don't regret it.

5. I did not show around pads.

The pack of pads come in a beautiful green/black/whatever color packets.  I took that PACKET around. Guys, please do not misinterpret without reading properly. Yes of course one can take it in a white polybag. But then, that day I was too enraged to take it in anything. I am against the newspaper, the cover up which is done for the pads before putting it in the polythene. Polybag is used for convenience. The cover up which I did not like is to hide the cover of pads. Some of you say, it is a private matter. Well, I never told you to ditch the polythene. I told you ditch the extra cover up. Take it home like you take your other goods and medicines. That was my whole point. It got forgotten amidst crap.

6. About DARING

I didn't dare. I did not find it daring to write my name. My blog is public to the whole world. I write these articles everyday. . It was not the first time a write up got published with a name. I did not need dare. I just wrote it.

7. It is not a professional article.

It is a blogpost. It is not meant to be one.

8. About panties.

Again, I did not show around pads.

9.About condoms.

You can show it around, not show it around, it is YOUR life, YOUR decision, just like it was mine! And in either cases, you are being responsible and you are having safe sex. I appreciate you dear!

10. About shame and privacy-

My point was to remove the hesitation, not to shed your shields. I shed my shield to remove my hesitation, that is my way. If your way is different, go with that. There is a reason I am not you and vice versa, right?

11. About the charas sentence-

First, I did not give the shopkeeper hard time. Actually, he laughed at this sentence. Well I dont really need to explain my relationship with the shopkeeper do I? :P (Again, not because he is just a shopkeeper. Nope. Not that. He is someone I respect, and we need not emphasise on consumer-seller relation here.) But yeah, some people said I am promoting illegal buying selling of hashish. This is so silly that I dont even want to GO THERE! It was a comedic expression.  Comedy, is never understood in India.
Then some people said this comedy trivialises the situation.

Well, I was trying to SHOW that it IS a trivial situation which people make a fuss out of. Hence, the trivialisation. To show HOW small the matter is, HOW big the issue is made out of it, and HOW simply it can be handled.

12. About my English-

Some people said I was just flaunting my English knowledge. Bhayee, yaar aisa hai to mai ek bhi shabd hindi me likhti hee nahi, Kyon? I don't even want to explain this silly notion.

13. About flaunting and hiding.

Again, Logic fallacy. If I am telling you not to hide, I am not telling you to flaunt. And about no one able to see me with the packet, it was not because I wanted attention. I just wanted to make a point there, not for atrracting attention, but to see for real how people react to this. Not for attention. I said no one saw me, because hell, no one SAW me. I was asking myself, WHAT IF someone saw me, how would have they reacted? That's it.

  People said I have not attacked the actual prejudices of temple going, not touching etc related to menstruation. It is because I was not sharing an experience to bring out all those things in one article. One step at a time.

And in fact, I have written a piece recognised by BlogAdda on the topics people think I missed out on and should have covered instead. Read on if you want to.

Please do not judge people and criticize for the heck of it. I took some criticisms with a pinch of salt. But some were really uneducated and not thought over. Hence this explanation.

And I did not write it with anger. the Caps lock is for emphasis, not for shouting. Chill people. Be cool. 


Nymisha Dhavani said...

Just found your blog through facebook. Brilliant stuff! And as for what your wrote, I thought it was perfect and not offensive or any of the other crap people commented. You got your point across in the right way.


chembz said...

I read your blog yesterday and wanted to leave a comment but sadly you'd closed comments then. Today I am early it seems! Yeah! :P
First of all, *applause*, that was a brilliant article! About this, I wondered why you felt compelled to explain your decision to write that, but I did not read through the comments, so maybe you found it was needed.
A lot of people believe in things that are passed down upon the generations, blindly, unquestioningly and this has led to many ideas, processes being considered shameful, to be hidden etc. Its stupid. But unless people start questioning their beliefs it cannot be changed. Occasionally though a voice like yours coming and putting it in the open helps open some eyes, and ears. So kudos!
And yeah whatever you write there is always going to be someone who takes offense, your reaction though has been splendid in ways more than one!

Sabrina said...

I may not live in India, in fact, I live in North America, but I think what you wrote about in your blog describes a common theme shared about our attitudes concerning the way we perceive "femininity" unrelated to men (sex appeal/perceived beauty), and women's bodies.
We do not have shop keepers here who wrap "feminine hygiene products" (a marketing term we use) (To me, falsely implies having a period is in someway unhygienic, wouldn't you agree?) (just a passing thought) in any type of newspaper, nor do they apologetically assume to hide it for us. (Making any store purchases is treated as something to be proud of in this culture.).
I read the comments on your blog and noticed, the people who chose to speculate internal dialogues of others, I had a hard time following their purpose. It would be easier to relate to if they had described how it felt personally, as a lot of the positive comments had done.
Maybe hearing about how they would react themselves, either as the friend seeing you, the shop keeper, or if they themselves were seen in public buying similar products, would have been more effective.
I will note, we have many cis-men here who do not flinch at seeing tampons, pads, or menstrual cups, in a women's shopping cart, nor would they hesitate to go buy them.
There is, however, the same stigma suggested in commercials, depicting situations of embarrassed males on the streets not wanting to purchase pads or tampons in public. Somehow, it portrays them as having their own personal issues with how they may be perceived as less masculine (oh, so important in North American cultures) (sadly) and less to do with the actual purchase. No commercial would depict someone feeling badly to buy their products here (bad marketing) (unless as a marketing tool, a rouse, a ploy) so although women are not depicted in ads as being embarrassed (to make the purchase), embarrassment DOES happen here too, on a less obvious scale.
Some people may cover their own period-related products they're purchasing with different items in their cart, presumably, to prevent similar awkward interactions.
Quite confusing messages that teach us to constantly think of others before ourselves-even when purchasing our own products for our own bodies! What does this keep doing for our reflections of Self by internalizing harmful stigmas, changing who we are in the process and how we naturally go about our day? This effects all of us because it changes something so innate inside ourselves that is not instinctual but a learned behaviour and as you brilliantly show, we begin to question it's very existence.
That's why what you wrote is really important and I applaud you for doing so. Being authentic, confronting and deconstructing powerful myths, one step at a time, one topic at a time, as it relates to us on an individual level, and works much better than dictating for a whole group, something we have no personal understanding of.
I agree, if the stigma goes away, more people purchasing these items will realize there is nothing to be fussing on about. Super job!

Stayfree India said...

Having come across 'A Lorgnette, A Quill and a Quire: What is the shame about' , we had to let you know how much we appreciate your wonderfully shackle-breaking article!
It's inspiring to find women like you who don't feel the need to cover up one of the most basic occurrences that may make the world blush and look away in embarrassment. We love the fact that you chose to speak about it and unapologetically so.
Looking forward to reading more of your work, Stayfree!

LEFTy X said...

I read your previous article on sanitary pads & I have to say that between belles lettres on one end & bringing out the prejudice in the other what you wrote was exemplary. It takes a certain degree of courage to write what you wrote & even a tad more to publish it.
Therefore, in my earnest I believe that you don't owe ANYONE any explanations.
PS: I think you should let us open a 'new tab' in order for us to comment. It kills the multi-tasker you know :)
Cheers !!

Shashwat Nandan said...

I found your blog through facebook and its simply brilliant ! People in our country need to change their mentality.. and we need people like u ma'am :)
Keep blogging (y)