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When your nosy aunt shames you, you brush it off. But when your gynaecologist, who's supposed to impart unbiased information, shames you into guilt, where do you seek refuge?
Society and women’s bodies have been at war since the dawn of civilization. Little girls have been taught to protect their bodies, preserve them like the purest untainted snow, not for themselves but for the men they’d marry.
Many of you might think of this as an outdated notion with minimal or no current relevance; though the intensity and form of its execution have changed, acceptance of women’s autonomy over their own bodies is a distant reality.
One of the most abusive yet effective modes of depriving women of autonomy over their bodies and lives, in general, is “shame”.
Shame is a human construct developed at the onset of human civilization to ensure collectiveness and hence survival; but even today, society still uses shame to control women’s choices.
When your nosy neighbourhood aunty tries to shame you, you brush it off, because that’s something you expect from them.
But when your gynaecologist, the one person who is supposed to impart unbiased information and awareness beyond notions of morality, shames you into guilt and humiliation, where do you seek refuge?
A dear friend of mine had been struggling with recurring cysts in the inner lips of her vulva.
The first gynaecologist she consulted, a woman, asked if she was sexually active, to which my friend replied in the affirmative. The moment this information was revealed, the doctor bombarded my friend with accusations of having unprotected sex, implying and condoning her careless attitude towards sex.
Despite multiple efforts from my friend to clarify the matter, the doctor kept interrupting with her sermons, eventually prescribing her tests for HPV and HIV. My friend, absolutely humiliated, left the clinic in tears.
Subsequent visits to different doctors revealed that the cyst was a dermatological issue, and not an outcome of unprotected sex, which in any case wasn’t a possibility, as my friend hadn’t been sexually involved with anyone in the past year and a half.
The humiliation and moral policing my friend went through, and many women across the country go through, is an epidemic of its own. It serves exactly what shame was constructed for, subjugation of its subject. The doctor instead of educating my friend about contraception and other forms of safe sexual practices chose to humiliate her for her sexual choices and the perceived lack of protection.
It makes me wonder. If our doctors, the protectors of human anatomy, choose to pick up the mantle of protecting social morality, who shall we go to war with in the fight for our bodies??
Image source: Unsplash/Fizkes
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When someone accuses you of "too much feminism", what they are really saying is, "I am uncomfortable with you challenging the status quo and disrupting my privilege".
Time and again, there is one phrase that keeps coming up in the social media discourse on feminism. Any guesses?
Ah, no prizes for guessing the infamous “itni bhi feminist” or “too much feminism” phrase, a classic eye-roller for me, and I am sure for many more of my tribe, in the realm of gender equality discussions.
Pray tell me, how can an ideology, a movement be too ‘much’? It’s not salt or the seasoning of your soup where you can go, “Oops, too much salt, only one spoon was required”. Either you stand for what feminism stands for, or you don’t.
Half a decade ago marriage was a bargain between two famlies. Most of the women were married off to a man who was either well off or who could fend for his wife and family. Today the parameters of marriage have changed. Women no longer marry for the sake of economic security. Their expectations from marriage have changed in the course of years because of their changed status.
As women grew independent, their patterns of choosing partners have changed dramatically. Now women choose men who they feel can satiate their emotional as well as physical needs. Intimacy is no longer the physicality that happened between two people under the supervision of elders of the family for the sole purpose of procreation. Intimacy in today’s marriages involve understanding and fulfilling each other’s emotional as well as sexual needs.
So before you decide to hook up see if you know these five things about intimacy.
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