As you read this, imagine you have a blank paper in front of you. If you feel any respect for a woman, throw some paint on it. I hope at the end of this you paper is filled with color.
Right from when we are born, there is a moral code placed on our shoulders, even without our knowledge. Girls are “supposed to be” a certain way. I won’t say its all men who place this heavy sword on us, sometimes there are women too. Till around 11 or 12, I think we are ok. We get away with a lot of things we do. But even at that age we have to protect our vaginas. We have to learn what a bad touch is, our parents are always circling us like hawks to protect us from physical and emotional trauma. As we start menstruating, we have probably read why it happens, or are told by someone the why of this phenomenon. But what nobody can tell you is how you will feel. The pain that starts either in your back, or your lower abdomen, or legs, or head, it can be anywhere. It lasts for hours while you feel like your insides are crumbling. When the sanitary napkin gets soaked, you have to run to a restroom, to change. Wrap the used one. And for a fleeting instant, you feel the freshness of a new sanitary napkin. Every night you sleep uncomfortably, waking up to check if you have stained the sheets or your dress. There is a constant thought lurking in the back of your mind, are you staining? This cycle of menstrual stress repeats every month from age 11/12 to age 55/58. Fucking 45 years, we bleed every month.
As we start menstruating, the boobies grow and now you have to wear a bra to support them and not show your nipples. That is another lifelong commitment we make to our bodies, hide them forever from public eye. It is another piece of cloth we have to wash and maintain and wear every day. And those straps never stay in place. I am sure who haven’t not seen a woman sliding her hand into her top and pulling those straps back in place.
If periods and bras weren’t enough torture, there are UTIs, PCOD as accompaniments. You use a public toilet and pee starts burning the next day. I never asked for ovaries in the first place, now you give me cysts in them, which make it so difficult to lose weight. If nobody in my ancestral generations had abnormal levels of blood sugar, PCOD will definitely alter my blood sugar. These are internal mess ups, there are the external ones too. Hair for example? How many ways can you cut this thing, then there are 100s of shampoos and conditioners to choose from to make it look pretty. Pretty for who? Did someone say face? Dont even get me started. Moisturiser, foundation, concealer, blush, powder, the list is endless. People have taken the face as a prime research material. Why not just let it be? How much can you decorate 2 inches of skin above your eyes.
Well, coming back to the woman, we haven’t talked about the mother of all fucks, pregnancy! Whoa, the first 2 minutes are blissful, but then that tattoo on your face, is PERMANENT. You eat, you grow, the being inside you grows. Yes its wonderful, to feel this little human inside you, but let’s look at the things nobody tells you. It hurts! Hurts like hell! You are lying there with your legs in stirrups, opening up your entire being to whoever walks around looking at down there. It is a very come-see-me-naked experience. You have no idea what you are passing out, just baby or something else too. After your tummy shrinks back, never to its original form or size, you look at the mirror admiring yourself, patting yourself on the back and see these tiger skin marks on your tummy. If you cannot look inside, well this is a visible sign of what my body just went through, it expanded to its maximum and shrunk back. Depending on whether you had vaginal or c-section, the doctor’s artwork on your body deserves a special mention. Down below, you cannot pee, it burns like hell. And if its c-section, you just cannot move until it heals.
Breastfeeding. Yes have a good laugh. Amazing experience, agree. But this is when we understand the feelings of a cow. You are nothing but a cow, ready to milk anytime. You feed and feed and feed and feed and feed and feed, sometimes for a year, sometimes for more. Note that the first two evils of periods and bra still exist along with stitches.
While we go through all of the above, we are expected to go to office, work, earn money. We are also expected to cook and feed the rest of the (useless) people in the house. We are expected to drive to our doctor appointments. We are expected to keep the house clean, car clean, baby clean, and ourselves clean. Maintain relationships with people in the world. We haven’t spoken about feelings, have we? Oh yes, we feel too. We get angry, happy, sad, cry, frustrated, scared, apprehensive and what not.
I don’t think we should fight for equal rights, there is something more basic that is missing, respect. So all she asks for is respect, not because she goes through all of this, because she is a human being. If you cannot give her that, leave and let her be. She will survive and thrive because she is made of sterner stuff.