Thursday, 22 June 2017

Menstruation - Suranya Aiyer

The Full Extent of How Whisper joins Liberal Do-Gooders To Make Fools of Indian Women

 Just saw an utterly ridiculous article (see here: about urban Indian women's attitudes about menstruation. The article narrates
the findings of sanitary napkin maker Whisper and is almost certainly planted
by them as a PR drive for their product which they are basically trying to sell
by telling us Indian women how stupid and dirty we are for not using their
We urban Indian women are accused in the article of
superstitions like not touching pickle jars when menstruating. I guess Indian
women are really deprived because someone told them they can't touch a pickle
jar for five days in the month.
We are also accused of not sleeping with our husbands
during a period. Is this supposed to be deprivation of the woman or the man
here? Not clear. I know plenty of couples who share a bed throughout the month,
but hanky panky is pretty restrained during "those days" no?
Then we are told that the thing about Indians is that they haven't got over the
concept of "shame" associated with the female body and that's why
they want to hide their period and don't want to talk about
menstruation...especially with men! Also they think menstruation is dirty, tchch,
tchch. Leaking brown stuff all over your clothes and
furniture IS embarrassing and the reason I don't mention my period to men
(white or brown) is that any mention of bodily functions and I can just see
them go TITS!! PUSSY!! So, I avoid..... And
let's not forget, the reason to wear a sanitary napkin is precisely to hide
your period. But its ok to hide your period with Whisper,
any other type of hiding of it is just grist for the "unpacking Indian
attitudes to the female body" mill.

To carry on, we urban Indian women are accused of being
superstitious in the article because we don't allow women in the kitchen and
temples during menstruation. Its really interesting how liberals will use
anything against us Indian women - *even* not going to Kitchen and Temple.
Personally, I don't see it as such a bad thing to set aside period days as days
of rest from chores like kitchen work and temple visits. And if
traditional-minded Indians can be accused of having gone too far with
understandable concerns about rest and hygiene for menstruating women in one
way, then liberals everywhere can be accused of having gone too far with their
casualness about women's bodies and bodily functions and their bodily produce,
including babies, in another way.
For example, as a presumably “liberated” woman who enters
the kitchen, spousal bed and temples regardless of menstruation, my greater
concern is the general liberal idea that women should disregard their bodies in
the glorious pursuit of doing anything and everything – I see the consequences
in infertility and repression of motherhood and related exploitation of third
parties like using poor people as a market for adoption and surrogacy; and
always saying about babies that they dont need their mothers - the crying is
just “manipulation”; and, my pet topic, treating mothers as mere baby producing
machines with no entitlement to their babies unless the State deems fit.
Anyway, to return to the res, there’s some stuff in the article about Indians being stupid
about not entering ponds with menstruating women. Well, I dont think I am alone
in being a bit queasy about sharing liquid space with menstruating women. If
you see me in the pool (I dont do ponds), I’d rather not know – even if you’ve
got a tampon on. I wonder how Whisper let the ponds example get into that
article: that’s an ad for tampons *not*sanitary towels.
I guess the folks at Whisper really only read one part of
the article when vetting it – the part which deals with its direct competitor
in the market for hiding menstruation – rags. We are told loftily that Indian
women prefer using rags and that this is unhygienic and (beep, beep, beep! Can
you hear the alarm bells going off?!) causes future reproductive diseases. Now
this is really interesting. Have you been following the nappy debates? Nappies
are now universally accepted as being environmentally unfriendly for their
plastic and crystal fillings. Your politically correct mom has returned to her
granny’s cloth wash-and-wear nappies. Disposable nappies, having first been
marketed as more hygienic, are now being accused of nappy rash and other
infections on baby bums. Now, the thing is, that a sanitary towel is just the
same as a nappy, (or, because they leak so, a sanitary towel is an inefficient
nappy – Whisper are you listening? There’s a reason why some of us dont think
it is worth the money to buy your leaky product) and its only a matter of time
before its plastic backing makes it the target of the environment folks who
will then doubtless lead the charge against all the cancers, sweat-infections
and rashes to which the unhygienic and entitled users of sanitary towels are
subject...making it incumbent on all socially responsible women to return to
....the rag. At which point, ofcourse, our liberal friends will be posting
everywhere about how Indian women are brainwashed by the sanitary towel
conglomerates (who employ children in their factories and encourage child
trafficking in sanitary towel waste disposal) and NGOs will be sponsored by
big-hearted white philanthropists for A Return to the Rag by Third World women
– they did it with formula already. Any bets on how much time to go before
Whisper takes out big ads for International Wash-n-Wear Sanitary Towel Week,
aka Nestle’s wonderful International Breast Feeding Week ads last year?
Atleast the rag promotion NGOs will be giving employment to some wonderful emancipated
Indian women, like the one who wrote the Whisper article. 

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