Feminism India

The Awkward Conversation

Welcome to India, a diverse and culturally rich country where we can openly talk and express our views freely about any and every thing except things like sex, menstruation, birth control and the issues associated to them. Yes, it’s a matter of great pity that even in the 21st century when we have progressed so much and have outgrown the boundaries of all sectors of development; sex and related issues are still a very big taboo in our country. We keep running away from healthy discussions and talks about all these natural and inevitable processes that sustain life. With a population of 1.25 billion, running in circles to escape the reality is just doing more harm than any good.

The most common way to practice safe sex is the use of condoms. But again in a country like India, even buying condoms is one hell of a task. People relate condoms with sex and not with safe sex. In a country where people shy away from talking about sex itself, health and protection are still far-fetched conversations. The mentality has to change, the mentality of keeping ‘things’ within four walls will lead us nowhere, well nowhere except for a tsunami of an uncontrollable population.

Another huge taboo in India that at least most women are sick of is menstruation. The lack of awareness among young girls in mostly small towns is a matter of pity, as a lack of menstrual hygiene leads to life threatening infections. In India we don’t have a culture of ‘the talk’, neither for sex nor for menstruation. A girl on her period is expected to stay away from anything holy or sacred and at times not even allowed to enter the kitchen in some conservative households. Women are not expected to visit temples during their menstrual cycle. Why is that we are restricted to worship goddesses, who are also female?

Despite the fact that India is the birthplace of the Karmasutra, and a home to many artistic structures that many would find explicit like those in Khajuraho and Konark, sex and related issues still continue to be a topic that are pushed under the carpet. We are too conditioned to even openly talk about such issues and it seems that all we do is keep staring at women as if they were some objects of desire. Objectifying women has been an issue long standing in our country. Magazines, songs, movies, do not leave a single opportunity to objectify women every now and then. For instance, let us just ponder upon the lines of the very peppy song as most of the people might find it, “Excuse me miss, kis kis kis kiss se tu bhaagegi hun bach bach ke, tenu rab ne husn ditta raj raj ke” which goes by – “Excuse me miss, how many kisses are you going to run from, trying to escape, god has been generous in granting you beauty”. Females in some songs, magazines and movies are nothing but sex objects and the sheer abasement of the content is sometimes extremely disturbing.

Just as everything else, even premarital sex is considered a sin in our society, and just after marriage it is considered something really sacred. But what about the Indian woman who has been suppressing her sexuality since her teenage years? How is she supposed to make this sudden transition of thinking of sex as a sin to doing it for a happy marriage?

Most women in India just consider sex as one of their duties as a wife. But in actuality, sex is a visceral attraction, a chemistry match which is beyond the cultural standards of honour, obligations and beauty; and it should be considered nothing less than that, and certainly not an obligation for a woman as a part of her marital duty. Even today when it comes to marriage, men want a woman who is a virgin even when he himself might not be one. They say women should be ‘pure’ in order for something as sacred as marriage.

Such mentality only makes our society gravitate back to the old, orthodox and biased culture it has escaped over the years.

After all, are you marrying a woman or do you want a box of ghee, that it needs to be pure?

What happens when women write? Well we rewrite the world! Dreamer, thinker, amateur writer and an engineering undergraduate pursuing B.tech from Delhi Technological University.