Dinky Talks

So you think you are a Feminist?

The internet is going crazy about women and their periods..

Yes..the monthly cycle where women bleed which is a part of our reproduction system. The good thing is everyone is talking about it…the bad..well..EVERYONE is talking about it…some like Kiran Gandhi who chose to run a marathon without a tampon (while on her period), while others show pictures of their used bloody softcup with NSFW picture via their instagram..Is this the new-age feminism in the western world?

Let me just add here- that when Canadian student Rupi Kaur started documenting this very normal process in a beautiful series of photographs..I gave her a thumbs up and a huge virtual hug. People called it “Period Shaming”.

thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. the girl is fully clothed. the photo is mine. it is not attacking a certain group. nor is it spam. and because it does not break those guidelines i will repost it again. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified. pornified. and treated less than human. thank you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ this image is a part of my photoseries project for my visual rhetoric course. you can view the full series at rupikaur.com the photos were shot by myself and @prabhkaur1 (and no. the blood. is not real.) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ i bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. my womb is home to the divine. a source of life for our species. whether i choose to create or not. but very few times it is seen that way. in older civilizations this blood was considered holy. in some it still is. but a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women. the sexualization of women. the violence and degradation of women than this. they cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that. but will be angered and bothered by this. we menstruate and they see it as dirty. attention seeking. sick. a burden. as if this process is less natural than breathing. as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. as if this process is not love. labour. life. selfless and strikingly beautiful.

A photo posted by Rupi Kaur (@rupikaur_) on

So you may ask..why the hypocrisy?

 

1) Rupi’s work is not literal, and has a strong message to it.Do you know in some parts of India- you are not even allowed to sit on the same dinner table as the rest of the family when you are on your period- because you are “DIRTY!”P.S: I don’t mean rural india here..I mean cities with educated families.

2) Her work is a continuous part of who she is- her poems, her ideology. It is not gimmicky or her route to 5 minutes to fame. Although it did make her a household name.

So, when the other day someone asked me if I was a feminist…I replied..”Yes..when I am in India!

For me Feminism does not relate to being able to show off unshaven pits, or being able to talk about my period on instagram..It is about celebrating the birth of a girl as much as a boy in India. It is about being able to tell off a man who thinks it is OK to sit on a seat in the bus reserved for women. It is about giving women in the Indian domestic household the awareness of being independent- both financially and emotionally. It is about being able to walk to my car late in the evening in Delhi wearing a dress and not feel like I am committing a crime. It is about women having the information and power to choose the right contraceptive to decide not to have more children. It is about the existence of child marriage- not having a minimum age of consent for women/children to get married in Saudi Arabia!

Most importantly…It is about being able to provide a period pad to women in Rural India who still use cotton rags as their only means to prevent an “accident“- leading to many infections and complications during birth. For me..that is so much more important to voice out than make people accept “women talk about periods on instagram!”

FACT- about 30% of women* drop out of school after reaching puberty- because they don’t know how to be around boys or men when they are bleeding and don’t have a pad! See the amazing work by this organisation called Azaadi (Hindi for Freedom).

So I plead you guys to look beyond the realms of instagram and social media and giving feminism a popular word- Instead look at the work of some great people in this day and age who sacrifice everything to give women the right to live an equal life. If you do not know about Arunachalam Muruganantham- then definitely click here!

And just to set the record straight- I react to bloody fingers with a menstrual cup on my instagram the same way as a man showing his ‘freshly’ ejaculated sperm in his hand. Neither are cool..and neither prove anything despite both being bodily fluids from our private parts! We need to grow up and keep some parts of our life private!

*According to AZAADI.co.in


Illustration by Diana Kakkar

 

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