The last time I spoke about sex in public, everyone reacted as if I’m triggering the Third World War. And when I posted about periods on my Facebook timeline, not only did a few sanskaari people unfriended me, but my inbox was flooded with why I need not be this bold. The first time I reported harassment, I was stunned to hear- raai ka pahad kyun bana rahi ho? And the last time I applied my favourite red lipstick, I was told that I am an attention seeker.

But is this just about my experiences with society? No! This is about highlighting how Indian society governs a girl’s choice. There are set rules, which on closer analysis will reveal are nothing but a way to control women. There is no logic behind them, but patriarchy builds these to practice control on us. For example, how in the cosmos can my red lipstick arouse someone? And if in case it does, it is their problem and not mine!

Sex

Talking about sex in public is off-putting because bacche to bhagwan ki den hote hain. Remember how while watching a show with your parents, if a romantic scene appeared, you either used to change the channel or simply leave the room! Yes, there’s where the problem began. Sex Education? No! We don’t do that here. And this is the reason when I first felt someone’s hands on my butt, I didn’t know it was wrong. While there are plenty of reasons to talk about sex, I couldn’t find any logical reason behind being mum on the topic.

Periods

Ssshhh…. Periods are impure and you are just not supposed to discuss it in public or speak about it to boys. Got a stain on your skirt? Run and hide somewhere and get a pad as soon as possible because periods are a disgrace. But why is it a disgrace? Pindrop silence! You cannot enter the kitchen, you cannot visit temples, in short – pause your life for those three days. Why? How dare you question patriarchy’s order!

Male Friends

“If she’s chilling out with her male friends, she’s characterless.” Why? “Because she ought to be a one-man woman.” Okay, but those are her friends, nothing more than that. “Ek ladka aur ladki kabhi dost nahi ho saktey.” Umm, okay. Then what about her male friends? They might also be characterless since they’re chilling with a girl? “No! Men can do whatever they want.” Fine, society does not have a reason even for this.

Read Also: How Dr Pragati Singh Is Getting Indians To Discuss Asexuality

Female Masturbation

What’s wrong with exploring my body? What’s wrong with comforting myself when I feel sexually aroused? Having read all the benefits of masturbating, I couldn’t find anything wrong with female masturbation. But if you live in India, it is a sin. Because here, only men are entitled to satisfy their sexual desires.

Moving Out Late Night

“Don’t move out late at night.” It’s Okay, I’m not afraid of ghosts. “Don’t move out at night because you might get raped.” Oh, but then why don’t you hunt for the rapists instead of stopping me? “We don’t do that here. If a girl gets raped, it’s her fault. By moving out late at night, she’s inviting rape. And by chance, if she is putting on “revealing clothes”, she is definitely provoking others to harass her sexually.”

Love Marriage

You might be old enough to vote for who will govern your country, but you are never old enough to choose a life partner for yourself. There’s definitely no reason behind this other than Log kya kahengey!

Also Read: Of Bras And Taboos: Why Do Moms Say This Stuff About Straps?

 Being Opinionated 

A woman cannot be opinionated- Period. They know, if she starts having one, the first thing she will bash is patriarchy. Finally, we have a reason behind something that this society does. But is that reason worth stepping down from my individualism? Definitely not!

Single Mother 

In India, a woman without a man is equivalent to a boat without oars. And therefore, she’ll be respected if she prefers getting humiliated in her married life than deciding to walk out on an abusive man. But as soon as she decides to walk out with her kids, she’ll be vulnerable to the demons out there in the society because in India, akeli aurat to khuli tijori ki tarah hoti hai. So here’s yet another disgusting patriarchal reason for a wife to not walk out of a bad marriage.

Crying Men

According to our sanskaari society, men are made of steel. But little do we realize – the tough guy that we adore, might be hiding an ocean of emotions. Why? Because men do not cry, and those who do, they’ll be attacked with taunts. Is there a logic behind this? No, at least I couldn’t find one! We live in a society where even emotions are stereotyped – where being a man means you’re tough on emotions, and being a woman means you’re highly emotional.

Also Read: What I Thought College Life Would Be Like, And How It Actually Is

Choice of clothes

For most, more than a piece of cloth, short skirt means that the girl is provoking others to harass her sexually. If her cleavage is visible, she is giving others an opportunity to peep inside her. After all, here, we encourage victim-blaming instead of going after the culprits.

Talking about Contraception

The most popular thing attracting a shush from this society after periods and sex is condoms. And the credit for this uncontrolled population explosion goes to this shush. The younger generation, however, is sensible enough and hence, the stereotyping on this front is diminishing.

Prioritizing Career

As a woman, you’ll ultimately land in the kitchen. Therefore, what’s even the use of prioritizing your career over domestic chores? A girl is always told that you should concentrate more on domestic chores because that is what’ll help you in the future. In India, if you’re a girl, your dreams and aspirations don’t really matter. This society has a predefined plan for you- marry a man and then live your life on his terms.

Also Read: Millennials Talk About Things Their Parents Should Make Peace With

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