WARNING: Long post!
These 2 topics have been to death by all the bloggers I read... opinions have been expressed very clearly by some of my favorite bloggers: Mad Momma, Chandni....
The first one is of course the dreaded "M" word or to put it blatantly - Your monthly periods...
I read the posts linked to MM's post (written so long ago by her!), there was her opinion stated very clearly, Chandni's anger (Can I take the liberty to say anger here?) and I also read Lavs post about how she supported the whole isolation thing...
Now, my 2 cents worth - let's just say - that we grew up with both acceptance and indignation over this weird practice...
My dad's family is pretty orthodox - which means lots of practices, "sitting separately" during periods - my granny used to say - u emit a bad aura during this time - so, because she had done some puja - she wouldn't be coming anywhere near someone having her periods!! Now, I actually don't know the whole story because I don't remember it and it had pissed me off so badly that I didn't listen to my mom repeating the story!! (read: repeating only! not advocating it!!)
When, we were in 6th - I remember my mom also used to practice this isolation for 3 days, though she hated it and it pissed her off big time - just because she didn't want to hurt my granny's sentiments (whatever!). But, as we grew up, i.e. it became more difficult for dad to manage with my half-hearted help and i wasn't following it, frankly because - we hadn't told anyone that I had started my periods at a very early age!
So, she stopped after a year or something, and my granny used to think that she practiced it even when she wasn't!!!
Dad agrees that it was/is totally ridiculous, but mom didn't go into the puja room during those 3 days - for hers and dad's sake... we sisters also didn't enter the Puja room during the 3 days as well - this is still followed without any fuss... but, I still pray to God during these 3 days, put my namaskaras as always... No one has said don't do that, don't touch this...
My grandparents, close family still don't approve that there we don't practice this isolation... all my cousins, cousins' wives, aunts all follow this practice...
But, no one dared broach this topic in front of my dad (they were basically scared of him and his decision was always the rule!!)... My dad never encouraged this practice, neither did he like it nor did he ever discuss it or let anyone else discuss it!! His reasoning has always been more scientific than religious for most matters. So, we grew up quite normally without "sitting" during period times!!!
But, I know plenty of women who follow this and I remember my dance class mate - R.
She actually thought she was "impure" and emitted "bad aura" during these times!!
Me and my friend Shasana - we used to listen open-mouthed to her words and me as always used to get enraged at her thinking and Shasana always used to tug my hand tell me to shut up and that its no point arguing about it! Because this thinking had been wired into R's brains!!!
Do I think its discrimination that women follow this - SURE... but not much can be done can it? ... why? its women who force other women to practice this!
First we as women need to stop discriminating ourselves, then we can ask the rest of the world to stop... the problem is at home first - fix it there and then talk about your work place, men, govt, world....
Stand up to your family first - that's the most difficult part. My mom always says - You know you are right in a difficult situation when you see that no one supports you outright!
Tell your MIL/FIL/SIL - that you don't practice it and if it hurts their sentiments so much - you wont visit them during these 3 days (I'm not saying this is any better, but its a step)
Make sure your husband supports you - that's in your hands how you learn to deal/manipulate/twist your husband!!!
You know, we had gone for a function at my aunt's place - now these people are very orthodox and all that... So, my sis-in-law has a son - this is how she reprimands him if she finds him playing with the broom - "put that down! you are not a girl"
See, this is the logic/thought she is feeding her 5 yr old son - now, don't tell me this doesn't matter!!!
When, sitting for lunch that day - I was hungry and my husband wasn't - so, he told me - you sit and eat, I will eat with your mom, sis in the next round... So, I got ready to eat - but, this sis-in-law of mine, stopped me and said - "what? you are eating before your husband?! don't be ridiculous! let him eat first" So, while I sat fuming silently and hungry, my poor husband was forced to eat when he wasn't hungry - he ended up feeling guilty that he was eating when I was hungry and with a bad tummy!!!!
So, could I have argued with her there - saying this is discrimination? Sure, but, what good would it have done?? I would have been the Witch there!!! I will avoid going to their place in future - that's about it... They will say - you are spoiling our daughter-in-law with your bad thoughts. Right. So, I will take my bad thoughts of equality and respect elsewhere.
These people believe that I had a horrible family because *gasp* I work and *gasp* *gasp* - my husband pampers me and listens to me!!!
But, there are others - my cousins - who have grown up in small towns, in difficulty - aiming for a life like ours - filled with independence and love... So, its nice to know that your influence on others is working - but, in small doses...
(the above real life incident doesn't have anything to do with Periods, but its been mentioned off-tangent as part of the discrimination thingy examples!)
The second is the whole "change your name after marriage thing"
Recently, a friend of mine, reformatted my resume saying that if I were to look for a job elsewhere, my resume needs to look better. Right, really appreciate the thought, but he changed my name to "Mrs. Pixe Husband-name"
Oh! This irritated me so.. much!! I asked him outright - what put you under the assumption that I have changed my name?
He asked me in an incredulous tone - you married, so your last name should be your husband's name! Why haven't you changed it??
I asked him - what the fuck are you talking about?? I am me! Before marriage/after marriage - I'm the same Pixie - my frigging name doesn't change and my husband is not my identity and I am my own individual!
He laughed and said "poor husband".
I told him - fuck off - my husband loves me and my name - he has not asked me to change it, he doesn't care about name changing and besides, that's MY decision - not anyone Else's...
He was surprised and said - no wonder you agreed to his proposal!
Why? Why does this small deed piss me off so much that I have used the F word on my blog!
This is my reasoning -
I am a separate individual and my identity comes from my parents - and not my husband.
We share a life and one day - share our love thru another human being - our child.
I am NOT part of my husband - we SHARE. We have come together and created a world of our own together.
He has not made this world/life for me. He is NOT MY LIFE. He is PART OF MY LIFE. A LIFE WHICH JUST GOT BETTER AND BETTER BECAUSE HE IS PART OF IT.
My friend laughed at me and told me there is no point in arguing with me.
Yes, we are not speaking to each other now.. I am too pissed to talk to him. I also canceled the dinner invitation I had extended to him...
Go on, call me childish if you want. But, I am like this only!
Another friend said - just because you change your name to your husband's doesn't change the person you are. I just couldn't explain to her how important my name is and how much part of my identity my name is... I am really unable to put my feelings into words about this - my name.
My cousin changed his wife's name to something to start with A because his name starts with A. I still call her - by her name -the one her parents kept. That pisses off everyone in her family! (yes, the same sister-in-law I was talking abt earlier in the post)
Gwad, I seem to have attached too much importance to people I don't even remotely like!
I'm gonna stop talking about them NOW.
Kannada speaking/understanding readers of my blog: Have you heard the songs from the movie - "Aramane"? Awesome songs!! :-)
That's signing off on a cheerful note after all the ranting!!!
Edited to add: My thoughts about the entire Periods isolation thing -I wrote what I saw and grew up with - I think its ridiculous to say that one's "impure" and u emit bad "aura" during your cycles...
I don't know - maybe I was off-tangent, but elders sentiments shouldn't be hurt - but, there is a limit as to what you need to deal with... and what works for your family doesn't necessarily work for others. So, forcing one to follow certain things - in the name of sentiment - that's emotional blackmail.
Alright, will stop here now! This topic has been beaten to death enough times!! :-)