The very first thought that came across while attending the meet was, it would be sacrilegious to utter Whisper 😛 😛 Jokes apart, one thought that stayed through the meet and after, the Stayfree Indiblogger Meet at Mumbai was begin the change with yourself…
I find it very difficult to digest that a little daughter in a lot of pain is asked to wash her own clothes, bed sheets, beds and the rest she uses when the she bleeds monthly! Not to touch anything and if they do, it goes bad/impure/unclean (the English language has neutralized the effects, “ashudh”, the word, gives the impact which bad does not).
A few years ago, I was shocked when my roommate asked me to pick up a Carefree for her on my way back from the market! Carefree in this day and age! I couldn’t pick it up because Carefree was not available in the two-three medical shops I looked up… even the shopkeepers said, who in this day and age! and mind you this in not Health & Glow kind of shop I visited, but the local medical stores where you get everything from the sundry tic tacs to capsules of higher grades!
When I asked the girl, she said, she was comfortable using these rather than any other, a reverse phenomena to mine and many stories I can say from memory or if you ask around!
On a personal account, I remember using Carefree only the first time, when I had my first flow! But the belt was so uncomfortable to wear, it itched! and the pad never stayed in place, I remember asking my dad to fix it once when mom was not around… MJ still muses about the scene and says, “I can never imagine my father helping me out in this!” So we changed to Whisper and others like it… My brother was all of 5 or 6 when it started for me. It was this little fellow who came home every month with a new variety of a sanitary napkins, every month for us, mother and daughter and explain the special features of the wings or the double lining or the package colour. May be I should ask him now whether he understood the difference and comfort the new features made to us…. and whisper became the synonym for sanitary napkins. It could be any of it, but we still refer to it as whisper
And there were the whisper girls, whisper seemed to rule, wherever I went from school to college to university … all I knew were comfortable using it. My maiden workplace had bottles of different kinds of pads for different kinds of flows in the ladies restrooms…. the importance of which we understood when as a team we went into a restaurant restroom in an emergency and did not find any at all. In our naivety and routine, we even when to find the hospitality manager to tell him that the sanitary napkin bottles are not there, could you replace them asap! to which he said they did not have any such practice in that hotel.
Came here a year back and then came to know people who couldn’t use Whisper or Stayfree or anything with that plastic/synthetic lining, it caused skin allergies, it caused itching. Younger girls who started with the whisper types… and changed over to cloth ones or paper ones or some other itchingless material…
When I came back after the meet and discussed around in the hostel, many of them said, they were used to it, “so what, that’s how it is” “it is only 5-6 days every month,” asked if they felt bad initially during their younger days, they said, “they did,” asked if they will follow the ritual with their children, “many said yes… ! What will society say” some said “no”. Though small in number, the voices were forceful. They reason out with religion, rituals and society and bring in the change, the future hope 😀 😀
“Where to break the cycle, where to bring in change…” the snappy answer I received was, “you will not understand your religious practices are different! ours demands it!” with a kind of force, a defensive stance when the R word was spoken and all the chatter was directed to that one line! Nobody can touch anything with religion it seems… education does nothing to core internalized thoughts is it!!!! Or do they not think! I do respect their views but there is an itching to pounce on inseparable why along with it!!!
Mind you, these are girls of all ages, ranging from 17-60 pursuing their higher education, post graduation to Doctoral degrees in one of the premier institutes of the country in an Indian metro which prides about its modern ways, and cosmopolitan nature!
Reminds me of a story MJ once said, A cat created a helluva lot of trouble in a gurukul when the guru taught his students. Therefore, one day the guru decided to tie the cat to the pillar near his throne or peetam. The guru died, the cat still made nuisance and was tied next to the throne, years passed, the cat died. The gurus changed, a new cat was brought in to be tied to the pillar to resume studies… Years and years passed, and cat became an inseparable part of the guru’s throne while he taught. And they wrote treatises on the cat’s presence and its affect on the studies in the gurukul 😀 To the why the cat was there, the new gurus, the managers of the gurukul and the new students replied, it is auspicious, a practice from time immemorial! Farce of the first order 😛 😛 More on the Guru’s cat 🙂 http://www.firstparishnorwell.org/sermons/cat.html
I leave you with these writings from blogs and posts …. to continue the thought, discussion and change 🙂
- Read Deeps here about Worshipping while Menstruating – Why Not? http://deepsspeakingup.wordpress.com/2010/10/14/worshipping-while-menstruating-why-not/
- This is where I got the image from: http://jumpoffthebridge.com/2009_08_01_archive.html
- Guru’s cat stories and treatises :http://www.firstparishnorwell.org/sermons/cat.html
- Change Yourself Stayfree! (ramblingego.com)