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This poem asks men why red is a bad colour, why the ordinary act of being a woman is such a crime.
I was told that, as women bleeding every month, we were supposed
to stay locked away, in cold, dark rooms, because you opposed
our impure existence.
Asking you to buy us sanitary napkins or even tampons was considered
to be something not to be spoken about,
Our voices silenced,shadows diminished,in the crowd.
“Is it a crime to bleed out womanhood?”, my grandmother asked,
And her grandfather said no more,
Asked his grand daughter to leave home, showed her the door.
Just because she bled, her things were left untouched,
her presence ‘unsacred’, burning a part of her soul,
Red, is not a bad colour.
A thinly disguised line between misogyny and empowerment,
The stereotypical predicament.
I grew up listening to code words, phrases I didn’t understand,
Banning even uttering the term menstruation, and yet, empowerment was on demand.
That red, that they considered unsacred, unholy,
a contributor, to this bitter melancholy,
Nobody made any sense to me,
Not even the wise.
For they thought, women bleeding were sluts in disguise;
that red, is what they throw around, during holi,
that red, constitutes their Rangoli,
He held my hand, looked me in the eyes,
and asked me, ”Are you okay?”
where they don’t question our presence, but our virginity,
They worship the Holy Bible and his brothers, but not the divinity,
where women are objectified, personified,
to the extent of qualifying as ‘non-living’, in this dictionary.
They burned down Sati, in the yellowed pages of that ancient book,
But today, when a husband kills himself, women(us), are held by the hook,
And asked to destroy themselves (ourselves),
for things they, (we) didn’t do.
Just because that working executive steps out at two,
You ban her the privileges,
impose the curfew.
Who said anything about equality?
Was it me, because it was definitely not you,
Your hands that reached out,
and drew red lines across her face,
what’s funny, is that despite all of that,
we promote marital rape.
And yet, red is not a bad colour?
the straps of her feet that bind her to not just the ground,
but the dampness of your narrowmindedness.
Hands on her mouth, muffling the screams,
sending across shivers down her spine,
Your timely resurgence, as she moans,
the moans that are mistaken,
for groans of solid pain.
Permission, you don’t ask,
because asking her if she is okay, is an uphill task.
You shatter her, with every breath,
that you exhale, onto her bare neck,
that lies bound to a noose,
the noose of sexism.
I ask, she asks,
of nothing more than that,
her safety, your fidelity,
she doesn’t want you to be that man,
penetrating her without consent,
because she’s entitled to what she has,
and you are, with permission.
do not treat our title, as your stereotype,
and shut us down.
Do not unman yourself, just to satisfy,
your privilege, and destroy our hymen.
Our rights matter too, embrace our presence
First published at author’s blog
Image via Unsplash
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