The blogger wishes to remain anonymous.
Gender norms are holding back women in many ways. Girls are usually been dictated for day-to-day life choices let alone taking decision on her life’s important issues. Whether going for higher education, marrying a person of her choice or perusing career, she must consider the ‘honour’ of her family before anything. In these circumstances, it is nearly impossible for majority of young women to express and talk of her bodily rights or own her bodily decisions.
I remember the day at school when I experienced menstruation for the first time. My teacher called me to her office and told me that van driver will drop me home and I’m given off. I asked for reason with surprise, all she had to say was ‘‘you are going to home because you are not well’’, listening to her response I nearly screamed ‘‘but I am absolutely fine’’. I was made fun at class, fellows around gave me critical glances as if something massive is wrong with me.
I concluded inside my mind that I had catch a serious disease and it is going to come every month. I was terrified and couldn’t to go school for many reasons. I had developed severe depression back then and still cannot get off my mind what I went through for something which is very natural. Nobody told me that its natural and biological and there is nothing I should be ashamed of. In my twenties now, I still carry the burden and shame of periods. I cannot talk of hygiene related to it, else I would be labelled as ‘’shameless’’.
With the passage of time, while growing up I observed that most of the subjects attached to a woman body are stigmatized. Infact it starts right from the birth of a girl. I remember how my aunt had to put her baby’ gender reports under the carpet to avoid the torture of her husband and in-laws for giving birth to a girl yet again.
Women, understanding and prioritizing their reproductive and sexual health is again a taboo. No consent is taken from women in majority cases whether she is ready to reproduce, and her mental and health conditions are fair enough for childbirth, that’s either because of social pressure or misunderstood religious norms or the stigma attached to it. Struggle continues to support a woman’s right to choose.
Patriarchy has deep roots with women claiming their bodily rights and SRHR. Speaking on the taboos, that tell women bodies aren’t theirs and they do not possess a choice and right to own their body, will help somehow to break the stigma. It will start with an open and honest conversation, and continuous process of education that empower women to feel aware of and comfortable with their bodies.