Feminine Festive Times
My friend asked me: “Have you heard this ad on FM? A male voice was advocating the use of sanitary napkins!”. ‘Give her happy periods, give her rash less periods, use so and so sanitary napkins’. “How drastically Indian male psyche has changed in these years? It is indeed the effect of your tireless efforts in spearheading the movement, extensive use of sanitary napkins in Indian society”, my friend complimented me for enlightening the society on the woes of menstruating women.
Her praise took me back to the memories of an incident. I was returning from America after attending UN women’s conference at New York. Sitting in the air craft, I was thinking of the lives of Indian women. On the way, I suddenly felt like getting my menstrual periods. I was feeling embarrassed. I stood up looking for air hostess to borrow some sanitary pads. When I stood-up the man in next seat compelled me to sit down. When I sat down, he asked me the reason for standing. Inevitably I told him. He lectured that women won’t be allowed to stay in houses and they should spend in back yards and in the woods near villages during those three days. Disapproving his nasty views, I told him that he also took birth in the blood he loathes. ‘Are you are shameless? You are discussing such nasty things with unknown men?’ he said. I was moved with uncontrollable resentment, angrily looking at him, I stood up. Yes, I should stand-up, for me and for the women. He jeered at me and changed his seat.
That incident prompted me to spearhead the movement for menstruating women in Indian society. I traveled all over the villages and taken up awareness campaign. When the village girls could not attend schools during those three days, I urged the government to arrange free supply of sanitary napkins to rural school girls to ensure and improve female education. In the early days people criticized that feminists have no other issues than sexual matters. Afterwards, there was change in government’s outlook and public perception. To my delight, after many years, the ad in Radio cheered me up. Yes, my menstruation tells the world that I am a woman and I am a part of the nature. I feel proud of my gender identity. Menstruation is a festive time for women world. Let us celebrate!
Mahe Jabeen Hyderabad India