The V-word

Say it too loudly in public and you’ll find people staring at you like you’re walking around naked. Which ought not to be a problem in itself. But yeah, it is. Let’s write an article on one taboo at a time.

Be it ‘Vagina’ or ‘Virginity’, growing up as a young woman in India will teach you to never utter the V-word except in a hushed tone, and only when absolutely necessary. Oh, and almost never in front of your father, brother, husband, friend. Now a number of my friends would be rolling their eyes at this point, thinking “Hey, it isn’t like that any more”. Well, sadly enough, outside the bubble of freedom a few of us have had the privilege to be raised in, the world is still raining blows on those foolhardy enough to talk about something as intrinsic as their sexuality.

It doesn’t matter that girls all over the world are still getting married off at eleven, and having a child at thirteen.
It doesn’t matter if they know how it feels to have a penis force their vagina open even before they begin to study ninth-grade Biology.
It doesn’t matter that baby girls as young as two are being raped, touched, violated by those they should be able to trust with confidence.
None of it matters, says the society,which, by the way,also means you and I. Stop reading those feminist books, good girls don’t talk about such things. Stay a virgin and you’ll be appreciated. There is also that tiny perception that women who are “promiscuous” apparently lack the capability to succeed in life, focus on work, not on “these things”, they say.

Switch focus to the other extreme and you’ll find a mocking disdain- “Oh, you’re twenty-something and still a virgin? That’s impressive.” The hidden voice of people our age echoes around the expanse of your brain- “What have you been doing with life?” it asks. It suddenly ceases to matter that you’re an accomplished pianist, or that you have the best grades in class, or that you are a wonderful friend and sibling. It seems you’ve been doing something wrong if you haven’t slept with someone. It seems there is a deadline, did no one ever tell you? 

It appals me sometimes how much we judge, while categorically disclaiming any such thing. Before you start off with “No, I don’t!”, just think back. When was the last time you thought something like “I don’t care if the society thinks I am a slut. I’ll do what I like.” Ever wondered where the thought came from? You’ve effectively judged yourself, girl, even before they begin to do so.

So I suppose when I say it is my choice, what I mean is, it is my choice not to categorize myself as a “good” girl or “bad”. I can choose to have sex or not. I can choose not to stick to any one choice if my understanding of the situation changes. I have a choice – to be a virgin in mind, body and soul, and to not be ashamed of it, irrespective of how much activity my vagina gets. I have the freedom to admit when I’ve made mistakes, but I also have the freedom to decide what a mistake is, by my own moral code, and not the society’s.

I can choose to talk about my period, my vagina, and anything else. I can choose to not talk about it at all. Just know this- you have a vote. Don’t let someone else decide who you want to vote for.

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