Happy Women’s Day

Here’s our guest blogger Shravani, from https://filmcoast.in/ with her poem. She rants that she is tired of the one-day ritual that “Women’s Day” has come to be. Of celebrities and politicians who will milk this to no end. She says everyday is a women’s day. It’s her day.

She is limitless, how can a “day” be enough to define her?
Source: Pexels

“It’s Her Day”

It’s that day of the year again

When noises will crawl
Through the air,
Calling her names,
And wrapping her with tags
She is too tired to wear!
Empowered, strong,
Beautiful, and bold
Are the only hand-picked cherries,
She is allowed to hold.

Free cocktails, glittery make-up,
and apparel discounts,
Internet quotes parroted
And tucked in a gold mount,
Stories of moms and sisters
And friends who beat the odds,
Are fed to her year after year
Because,
This is the day, they say
She can rub shoulders with the gods.

Forgotten are her cracked soles,
Playing even dad’s innings
Day after day,
That’s a mother’s job, they whisper
“So suck it up and play anyway.”

Suppressed, lay her dreams
Her wings tethered to a world
Of their design,
She just topped her school, alright,
But it’s her brother touring
greener pastures, and she is “fine.”

Cubicles, hospitals, schools
Boardrooms and more
Her cries of equal pay
Burn incessantly, till they are cast
Aside on the shore.

She asks for a little rest,
They give her none,
She wants to stop sharpening
Her claws everyday,
And have one less battle hard-won.

She is tired and grumpy
Angry and moody,
Hardly glossy and perfect
As they forever paint her,
She simply exists as in
Many shades as they do,
But branding her bossy, stubborn
Loud and slutty
is all they can do to taint her.

And so, when This Day rolls
Over to the next morn,
She will don her armour, as always
And prepare to be reborn.
The flowers they sent her
Will wilt away in patriarchy’s din
As she drapes herself for the day,
Over toughened bones and skin.
Readying herself for the next climb,
Yet,
Cool enough to pat herself
For the last one conquered.
She will shrug her shoulders
And sip some wine,
And prop her feet up
Over the imaginary “line”

Any day of the year she chooses
Because everyday is Her Day.

Happy EVERYDAY to us ladies!

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Father’s Surname – Sexist ?

“What’s in a name ? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet ” – William Shakespeare

I agree but why should children automatically end up with their father’s surname?

Most of us have our father’s name, surname or caste attached to our name. And if you are a married woman, you have most probably adopted your husband’s surname after dropping your daddy’s name, (Though you do have a choice to retain it).

This whole concept of paternal surnames reek of sexism and patriarchy. My point is, why a man’s name ? Why not your mother’s name? (Though I bet her surname must also be her daddy’s name before marraige! Oh the irony!)

Now there are several innocent reasons or explanations to this Paternal-naming system – It’s easier to remember the family tree or Your poor daddy couldn’t give birth to you, atleast let him give his name and so on…..

Do not get carried away because the harsh truth is we still belong to a society where a woman’s identity is based on her father or husband’s family and status quo. She may be a doctor, lawyer or teacher, but people would still prefer addressing her as Mrs. XYZ .

In olden times, women were treated as third class citizens and were considered commodities that belonged to their husband. Haven’t the times changed now? Why are we still following this stupid outdated patriarchal naming tradition ?

Mommies give birth, carry their babies for nine months in their womb, and do majority of parenting. So isn’t it just better and fair for babies to end up with mommy’s name? Think .

Here’s few lines by “Everything But The Girl” –
You must give your child a name some time
Well you mean his and what’s wrong with mine?
Yeah, what’s wrong with mine?
I’m okay and I don’t need his name, thank you
Mine fits me nicely, mine will do
Yeah, mine will do

#MeToo – EXPOSED!!

She should have dressed ‘decently’

She shouldn’t have gone to late night parties

She drinks and smokes, so she must be ‘available’

It’s HER fault! She “Asked” for it !

Our Society has a rule book regarding how ‘decent’ women should behave, but why are there no guidelines for molesters? Unfortunately when women are harassed, they find it difficult to speak up, as in our society, a victim is shamed, subjected to humilation and her character is questioned .

After Producer-Writer Vinta Nanda accused Alok Nath of Rape, Actress Sandhya Mridul and Deepika Amin have also called out on him for Sexual harassment. Names like Sajid Khan, Singer Kailash Kher, Actor Rajat Kapoor, Nana Patekar, BCCI Rahul Johri, Member of Parliament MJ Akbar, have also come out in the recent wave of harassment allegations.

India’s #MeToo Movement which has recently gained momentum, started when Tanushree Dutta called out on Nana Patekar recently for harassing her in 2008. Since then, many women have come forward and found the courage to speak out.

Columnist/Journalist Tavleen Singh in her column of 14 October calls MeToo Movement irrelevant and a shabby copy of the movement that started in Hollywood. Well, isn’t it unfortunate that people have failed to understand that MeToo isn’t about Bollywood or Hollywood. It’s a tool of empowerment to expose molesters and abusers. It isn’t about Men v/s Women, Its about having courage to voice your opinion and speak up about the men who have tried taking advantage. TV Actress Hina Khan has rightly said “MeToo is not a media activity to gain cheap publicity. Consent and Submission are not the same. Time is always right to speak”.

The only defence these men have is “Why report so late”, Well isn’t it better to be late than never? I urge everyone Not to stay silent. We are neither weak nor Alone. I have seen my own friend being harrassed by my faculty during graduation. If someone is harrassing you, send an email to DCW. Delhi Commission for Women has set up a separate email id to report your complaints metoodcw@gmail.com

Do Not let this opportunity pass. Let’s shame Him Publicly. Let’s make India Safe for Women.

EMBRACE WOMENHOOD – PERIOD TABOO

Having binged on my favourite web series, I slept happily only to be awakened by my uterus smirking at me. “Wipe that smug smile off your face”, I yelled. Aaah.. Why me? Who gets these weird nightmares? Guess I had read far too many fairy tales in my childhood . My Sadist uterus grinned ,” Time for your little punishment”. I groaned. Oh no! Not again !

When I was young, I use to wonder Why blood of all things, Of course later I learnt in one of my biology class that bleeding is caused due to blood vessels disintegrating when the lining in womb detaches itself. If only the pain burnt calories, it would still be worth it !

(Pic Credit :Google image used for illustration purpose. I Do Not own this pic)

So last week, I decided to conduct a survey to see if I was the only one suffering. I typed a few questions and sent it to a sample size of 40 women. Well, 16 of them said it affected their ability to work, which constitutes almost 40% of the sample size.

Out of 40 women who took this questionnaire, 72%, that is, 29 women said they tend to binge and crave for certain food items like sweets or meat when their periods are due. When asked about PMS, 71% said that they feel irritated and experience mood swings in the week leading up to their period.
23 women revealed that their body showed physical changes like bloating and breast tenderness during periods, which constitutes almost 57% of the sample.
43% also confessed to feeling tired and have difficulty in concentration.
When asked to rate their monthly period pain on a scale of 1-10, 11 women said they don’t feel any pain during periods which constitutes only 15%, Rest 85% responded to having moderate to severe discomfort.
According to this survey, 57% suffer, 28% feel moderate discomfort while only 15% do not feel discomfort.

The worst part is when you are moaning during periods and someone in vicinity asks how are you feeling, and you say ‘I am fine ‘ and try to put up a brave face while your inner voice whispers As fine as giving birth to twin dinosaurs.

Only 10% of working women said they feel comfortable asking their manager for leave during periods. I remember one of my male manager long back asked me why do I take a day’s leave every month. How is it possible that only you fall sick monthly while we don’t. Of Course I curbed my tongue from saying I have a uterus and You don’t. So please Do Not voice your opinion about something you have no idea about.

There is a need to sensitize men about menstruation. Pain varies from one person to another. Around 80% women suffer from PMS. Heard of PMS? Premenstrual Syndrome occurs between ovulation and till the period ends, Generally it starts few days before periods. Our body goes through a lot of emotional and physical changes. It is common to have mood swings, irritability, crying spells, during that time, Other than bloating, breast tenderness, acne and fatigue.

There is no cure for PMS but your doctor can help with the symptoms. My Gynaecologist said that every women should take one Vitamin D sachet and Iron supplements after your period ends for 10 days (10 tabs a month ).

  • Vitamin D (once a month ), Iron (once a day) and calcium supplements
  • Drink lot of water. No milk and dairy during Period as it can trigger menstrual cramps.
  • Eat healthy. Stay away from salt and processed food to avoid bloating.

So it is important to educate people about the distress and discomfort faced by women. People generally feel discouraged from speaking about periods and related topics due to societal shaming and cultural factors.

Even today in India, in the 21st century, despite being a progressive country, women are considered impure during menarche and are discouraged from entering temples and other holy places.

It is a natural biological occurence . Let’s stop being ashamed about it and stop labelling it with names like impure, Not Well, Stomach pain , chumming etc . Let’s embrace womenhood. We are not weak . And all those who think of us as ‘weak’ , try bleeding for a week continuously while carrying your day to day activities.

LOVE ME For What I am

Ever been admired or loved? Isn’t it a magical feeling when someone treats you like a princess and says you are the most beautiful girl in this world. When it is so easy to love others , why is it so difficult to fall in love with yourself?

  • I wish I could look like her
  • I wish I was that thin
  • I wish I had her flawless skin

Why do we keep comparing ourselves with others? Why try to be like someone else ? Isn’t original better than a copy? If you grew up hearing you aren’t good enough, it becomes difficult to believe in yourself. Why are we so cold hearted when it comes to ourselves? Forgive yourself and move on. Isn’t Self acceptance better than self resentment?

Being overweight during my teen years, I have always fantasized myself having a Victoria secret model body someday. I may not look drop dead gorgeous, I may not be an A grade student, but I am empathetic and kind hearted. I have compassion and integrity. I am humble and grounded, but unfortunately all of this doesn’t hold much value in today’s society.

I am tired and sick of being someone else all the time. I won’t lie and say that I am in love with myself, but I am trying to, and that’s a start. Why should I give others a chance to hurt me? Whatever happened, good or bad, Reliving it won’t do me any good. I am not going to allow myself to be controlled by my past or others opinions. Unfortunately, I am my biggest critic. So from now onwards I am going to avoid all the unnecessary negative self talk. I am going to look in the mirror and repeat everyday before going to sleep…… I LOVE YOU. It’s time I start loving myself.

I came across few lines by Joybell C and would like to share it with all of you.

“The only person who can pull me down is myself and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore. You may be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don’t know it, all of that doesn’t even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment you use to criticize yourself is a moment of your life wasted and thrown away. “

It took me a lot of time to understand that there is nothing You cannot achieve if you believe in yourself. Do you agree that believing in yourself increases your potentiality? Do you truly love yourself?

Need for Criminalising Marital Rape

While we applaud Supreme court’s landmark judgement in case of Triple Talaq, it is disheartening to know that, in our country, something as heinous as Marital rape is brushed under the carpet. It isn’t even considered an offence. A rape is a rape irrespective of age, gender or marital status. Intercourse with consent is sex and without consent is Rape.

Last month, a 25 year old school teacher tried killing herself after she was brutally raped by her husband. In 2015, a woman was hospitalized due to severe injuries but her husband was not prosecuted because unfortunately the law does not consider Marital Rape an offence. These are just a few cases which hit the newspapers. Most of them do not even get reported. Does Marraige give a man permanent license to have sex with his wife, without her CONSENT? Should the wife always be willing to establish physical relationship on any day or time, just because he wants to? Among 106 countries, 32 consider Marital Rape as a Special Criminal Offence while the remaining include it in general Rape provision. There are only 36 countries where it is not even considered a crime and sadly, India is one among them .The mental agony and trauma that a woman faces after being Raped is Unbearable. Just imagine, she has to live with the rapist forever with NO Laws to protect her. Marital Rape is monstrous, humiliating and leaves an everlasting scar.

Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code states an exception to the definition of Rape,”Intercourse or sexual act by a man with his wife (the wife not being under 15) is not rape”. This was recently modified as according to POSCO (Protection of children from sexual offences), the age of consent is 18. That means if a married woman is above 18 years of age and is raped by her husband, it won’t be considered a Rape. Does that mean laws are only meant to protect minors ? What if a woman above 18 is raped? The male is liable to be prosecuted for Rape even if two individuals below 18 have consensual sex, but if the wife is above 18 and the man forces himself on her without her consent, it’s NOT a crime according to the Law !

The Justice Verma Committee in 2013, suggested the removal of the exception under Section 375 and to make Marital Rape an offence regardless of wife’s age but the committee’s recommendation was not accepted. Though the law was modified and the Criminal Law Amendment Act 2013 raised the age to 18 but Marital rape is still not considered a crime. According to National Family Health survey, 31% of women are subjected to emotional or sexual abuse by their spouse . Whenever we raise this issue, it is brushed aside by the government, as they feel criminalising marital rape will destabilise the institution of marriage. Why are we not ready to accept Marital Rape as a crime? Is it because we believe that it will destroy the sanctity of arranged marriages? Well, the so called sanctity is destroyed the moment the man forces himself on his wife. Marraige is based on trust and mutual respect. Neither the wife “belongs” to her husband, nor is she a “commodity” .

If you are wondering, when we have laws for domestic violence, then why is another needed for Marital Rape? Well, the Domestic Violence Act 2005 is inadequate for a crime as monstrous as Marital Rape. If someone rapes you, don’t you want him to be punished?Dont you want him to be held responsible for the trauma that you have undergone? Whether the abuser is one’s husband or a stranger makes no difference because the only thing that differentiates Sex from Rape is CONSENT.

I remember a few years back, one of my friend confided in me regarding feeling violated. Her husband used to violate her when she was asleep and she used to wake up feeling abused. Despite her refusal, he continued. Here the man is not a stranger. He is not thrashing her or holding a knife. Is this marital rape?Unfortunately, YES, it is, though it’s not what we think of normally as rape. Being married doesn’t change the fact that consent is crucial. If a woman is asleep or intoxicated, obviously she can’t give consent. Despite telling him innumerable times that she felt violated, he still continued because according to him, he wasn’t doing anything wrong as her body belonged to him. Well, a wife isn’t a commodity purchased by her husband, Her decision needs to be respected. There is a need to create awareness and educate men that CONSENT is CRUCIAL for sex.

Marital rape should be recognized as an offence and the punishment should be similar to that of rape. If you are wondering how can it be proved, Timely medical examination, forensic evidence and sexual abuse history can help. Just because a crime is difficult to prove, it cannot be brushed off. Moreover, the argument that law can be misused is absurd. We cannot NOT implement a law just because we are scared that some vengeful woman in future may falsely accuse her innocent husband someday. Laws do get misused but that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize a crime as a crime. Let’s have some checks and measures in place.

It’s high time we come forward and fight for our rights. Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Drop in your comments.