The Feminist Times
TAMPON & THE FROWNS THAT FOLLOW
The society as a whole has collectively questioned the need to talk about feminism. The argument is usually supported by their individual attempts to establish equality at a domestic level by allowing the women of their family to work. This argument is itself an answer to the question. There is a need to talk about feminism because the society wants to establish equality by liberating women while simultaneously reserving a position of authority for themselves. The existing social, economic and cultural systems that value and give men power over women exists in our society even if we choose to stay in a state of denial or blinded by our own privileges. This is why we do need to talk about feminism because it is a political doctrine that talks about the equal rights of all sexes. There is a biological difference between men and women but this natural difference should not be the basis of division in the society. However, a difference in status does exist and it’s evident through our conscious or unconscious actions towards women.
The constant fight against the archaic patriarchal mindset has been a part of every woman’s life. She has to struggle to get equal payment and she has to fight against the society to be a part of the last rituals of her family members. Women since a young age are conditioned to be secretive about their natural processes as well and hence the taboo attached with menstruation. As a woman who has been into sports, the first time I became aware of tampons was when I was 14. In one of my swimming competitions, I used a tampon because the dates of my menstrual cycle and the competition clashed with one another. Later, when I discussed about the use of tampons with a few people, I was looked down upon. They talked about how the use of tampon breaks the hymen because of which women lose their virginity. Well it’s not just tampons but women who engage in a lot of sports or physical activities also get their hymen broken. And I just couldn’t help but think that the entire society, even the girls of my generation had the misconception that a tampon could make one lose their virginity. The frowning was just a part of the consequence. But this isn’t biologically possible you know, because an individual can lose his/her virginity only by engaging in a sexual act. And when you think about this a little more, how every woman in sports uses a tampon cause well we aren’t asked to play in convenience to our ‘days of the month’ & even then be frowned upon you can’t help but reflect upon the patriarchal notion associated with it.
The concept of virginity is attached to women as a sense of purity which is often checked by her in laws in a discretionary manner on the first night of her marriage. Their weapon is that white bedspread. I think these societal norms place the woman on a pedestal and consider her virginity to be sacred. And no it doesn’t work both ways. For a man the more number of times he engages in a sexual activity, the more credible his manliness becomes. A woman is judged on the basis of her purity by the people who have never questioned their own derogatory actions against women. To see a woman only as a sexually desired object that becomes impure when she loses her virginity does away with the individual potentials she has. I dream of a world where talking about women’s issues doesn’t make one feel uncomfortable but responsible. I want to see a world where young girls can openly talk about their menstrual hygiene and do away with the taboo attached with it.
A world where patriarchy does not produce a division of labor that conditions women to be responsible for domestic work and men to be responsible in the public sphere; where the effects of patriarchy are felt by neither men nor women.
- Deepanshi Verma is currently in standard 12th, she’s a swimmer and enjoys to dance; engages in debates and theatre too.