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Charity begins at home, so before telling our girls to abide by so called societal norms , it is important to teach some 'sanskaars' to our boys as well. But this is long and arduous task.
A country like ours, where preference for male child is clearly visible and birth of a girl child is still scorned, makes the upbringing of female child rather difficult.
Later on in life when she decides to settle with a guy of her parents or her choice , the new family bond means, snapping the ties with her own family, her own parents. Well all this is not applicable for boys, they are rather criticised for being ignoring his parents , if in case someone takes the responsibility of his inlaws as well.
But getting a daughter married in our country, means settling her down and now the responsibility goes to the other party , and so the parents of the girl child can take a chill -pill, on the other hand the boys parents take the full authority over the girl, which rather appears like a favour done to the girl and her parents .
But all this happens much later ...what follows in between is the major cause of such mindsets. Moment a girl is born, we start worrying about her future, our expenditures and we look at them as a birth of a loss, whereas the birth of a boy becomes or may appear as an investment for many, as they do not have to send their sons , but get someone else's daughter as brides for their sons.
But talking about the groundroot or the basics, a Country where buying sanitary pads or lingerie is a drill for the ladies, and the moment a girl reaches puberty ,parents tend to worry more, then how do we teach our daughter's to fight for their own rights . How can ,just anyone come and misbehave with you, just because you happen to be a female.
More then telling our girls about do and don'ts , we need to educate and control our boys . I remember while teaching us a chapter on 'Reproduction' ,our class teacher , a Gold medalist in Biology , took separate classes for boys and girls, that too in standard ninth.
During college days, a lady Professor in Botany told us about the importance of dupatta , in Indian culture is to cover the female breasts, so take it properly. Once sanitary pad distribution in school became a major source of embarrassment for girls, as for more than woman health , it became an amusement source for the boys.
Still buying or picking up sanitary pads in a store embarress us or gives us discomfort, as all eyes are on us or the sanitary wear, as if we have committed some crime, one can even see the piercing eyes of imagination about our monthly happenings. Trust me these glances are rather uncomfortable, until unless one decides to make up her mind and take this as an achievement and not as a sin.Can a guy even imagine, what goes behind the usage of these pads, the amount of bleeding and cramps a female goes through. Why menstruation is considered as a taboo, instead of being considerate about such issues pertaining to women health and hygiene, we take a complete U- turn by restricting our women from entering temples, religious places , cooking and tag them as impure for those 5-7 days.
The onset of puberty , buying sanitary pads and then disposing them off ,has always put women in difficult situations , In our country. If basics like these are not dealt with, so how can we address the larger issues of women empowerment and safety. Women health has never been a cause of concern, despite of the fact that women undergo so many physical changes , from onset of puberty to menopause. But what interests us more is, peeping inside the purchase of a lady with sanitary pads and lingerie. Ever given a thought, that why do we have to wrap our sanitary pack under the layers of paper and black polythene, as if we are buying some banned item or health hazardous product. Whereas selling of alcohol and tobacco, as well as their consumption goes in full public view , despite of the fact that these products have life threatening effects, on only for the consumer but also also to the passive smokers. The ratio of drunken driving is the largest in our country, as compared to rest of the world. A guy can roam around bare chested ,but a female feels embarrassed shopping lingerie for herself.
It is uneasy to an extent that buying such an essential item of our daily need becomes a shameful experience for us, we even at times end up buying wrong sizes, which may cause major health issues for us. Ever wondered that we can't even sun dry our lingerie, feeling awkward if someone might see it hanging in the open, but the fact of the matter is , that our undergarments should be of superior quality, which need a proper wash, and sunlight to dry. Instead of talking about breastfeeding,breast cancer awareness and hygiene, we promote such health issues under the wrap of marathons or celebrities. Every girl or lady should have the free basic facilities of such health checkups ,but our inhibitions and kind of upbringing has limited us, we only turn up to doctors or gynaecologists when the situation becomes alarming or grim for that matter.
I have seen my aunts in the family ,using clothes during their periods and washing them for reusing them, but that was long time back , though there is much awareness generated ,but still we feel ashamed of our monthly cycles, forgetting that nature has given us , the females, more power to endure pain in this regard. From puberty to child birth , we go through all, then why do we consider our periods or physicality as a hindrance, it is rather our strong point , from bleeding to going through childbirth, whether it is normal or through cesarean, we are capable of bearing much more than our opposite sex, in fact we are the stronger sex, but this does not means that our patience is to be tested each time . The moment you find a woman alone , you can just pounce on her and start molesting her. Ladies it's high time that we rise from our restrictions, let not our power of productivity or mammary glands become our hurdle, these are not given to us for feeling ashamed of our bodies but as special powers to raise life. Enough of lecturing on dressing etiquette and manners for ladies, it is for us to decide , what to wear and what not to, but before that, it is important that we deal with our basic daily needs in a dignified way, instead of feeling embarrassed.
We want our girls to reach Mars, educate them, but then we deny them the everyday freedom of going out and buying basics like lingerie and pads freely. we kill girls in wombs, in want of a male child , but the one giving birth is also a girl, as men are still not capable of this, and never will be. We look for lady gynaecologists for our ladies, but kill girl child in the womb. As girls grow , we tend to make them insecure about their bodies , but on the other side boys enjoy their puberty with spotting beards and flaunting their bodies .
Boys flaunt their newly acquired manhood and girls hide it by newly acquired straps , which they try to hide under their clothes , every now and then. Breasts feed babies and periods are sign of a fertile productive female, but these two things put us under the category of a weaker sex. Talking about the woman safety, a woman becomes a public property , the moment she is spotted in a lane or a dark alley, even if she is returning from her job.
The onus of our strength and power lies with us , and for this we need to start with step one, by respecting our daily needs as necessities and not as something to be ashamed of. The howling wolfs and scavengers can only be dealt, if we start respecting our bodies and taking them as our strength and not weakness. So next time when we go out to buy sanitary wear or lingerie, do not be ashamed .