By: Reenita V In a world where white bodies are the norm, it can create quite a complicated journey to find comfort in our bodies. Our bodies are othered, exotified, ridiculed and loved: we can be coveted for our life long tans while simultaneously being […]
By: Reenita V
Some may find this topic a bit taboo. Many might find this conversation gross, icky, something that should never be discussed with peers, family, and partners or even just discussed at all. Others might love this subject, too. Either way, it’s time we have that chat about good ol’ masturbation! While I write this from the perspective of a vulva, the idea of self-exploration and self-love can be applied to anyone, no matter the architecture down below. So let’s begin!
Think about how long you have looked in the mirror prior to getting dressed or maybe when you are getting out of the shower. Have you studied your body? This may have occurred from the standpoint of being of critical yourself but nonetheless, you have stood there studying your body. If you wear makeup or spend time doing your hair, do you get to know each and every freckle on your face each time you look in the mirror? Now, do you know what you vulva looks like, feel like? As females, we are surrounded by this notion that bodies need to be moulded a certain way, and there are even rules around our vaginas. Vaginas are to be clean, smell like lavender, hairless, be a perfect sliver of desire! They are supposed to be this pristine, mythical place available for another person’s pleasure. This seems a bit obtuse considering my vagina is between my legs and no two vaginas are alike. With that being said, vaginas are important and we should take the time to befriend ours. A hand held mirror can help with this task. So, drop your drawers and lift your skirt and get to truly know your body.
Now that you know what your vulva looks like, now comes the fun part. As I reflect back on the many moons ago when I had to endure sex education, it was very focused on P in the D, but only after marriage because, if not, you will get a B. There of course was the discussion of if you choose to have sex (and only hetero sex, of course) then you must wear a condom and this was followed by the awkward application of a male condom on some phallic shaped fruit or vegetable. Now while this is very important, the education was centred around having sex with another person and protection – again very important. But what is also very important is discovering pleasure for yourself in a safe and positive way. There is, but I wish there wasn’t, this expectation that your partner is supposed to romanticize their way to all the pleasurable spots between your legs and then some. But honestly, how is your partner supposed to know how to get your off when you yourself don’t even know?
When you are alone, or if you have the consent of a partner, take that time to use your hands to explore down there. Know what your vulva feels like. Have you discovered a place that brings you pleasure? Perhaps there are a few spots that give you that feeling. Maybe you feel nothing on the outside and you are more an inside person. Maybe you feel nothing at all. Just don’t admit defeat, play around and learn about your neglected parts this is your body after all and you should be the expert You should also know this is normal, and there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Rest assure, unless you emerge from your house wearing a ‘I just masturbated’ shirt, no one will know. So get curious, have fun and enjoy exploring!
By: Divya S
What’s your favourite outfit? Do you like wearing shorts, crop tops, jeans, t-shirts or big comfy sweatshirts. Do you feel uncomfortable as a woman going out in clothing you love but feel you will be judged the way you look? I have been in these situations where I had to tone down what I wear to escape judgement.
This post is to help every woman out there that feel uncomfortable wearing what they love and expressing themselves in their clothing to avoid judgement. Clothing helps to signify identity and creativity. It shows who we are as a person, our individuality is all we have. Women sacrifice wearing what they want because society judges what we look like and what we wear. Before I was comfortable to wear what I love I went through a time where I would wear crop tops and shorts and I loved the way I looked and feel in them. I am not the skinniest girl out there, I do have some curves that stand out, and I don’t look like a Victoria Secret model. Society made me feel that only thin women can wear crop tops and shorts. I avoided wearing clothing that showed a lot of skin, I started wearing baggy clothing to hide my curves. This is the wrong approach and it took months for me to realize that to be yourself, you need to express yourself in every way possible; even in your clothing because that is the best way to express yourself.
The best reason to feel comfortable in the way you look is you build your self-esteem, confidence and to feel beautiful. South Asian society needs to build their self-esteem, their confidence and to feel beautiful. Growing up in a Guyanese family that is always trying to impress each other and always look their best. It’s hard to really see who people are underneath the fancy clothing, the bling, and the expensive hand bags. It’s all a ruse to impress people, to avoid judgement. Women are being competitive and judgemental to each other because society has put an image that you always need to look your best, to look a certain way, to wear certain things that will make you look beautiful. But what is beauty? Why does society give the definition of beauty? The definition of beauty is what you make it for yourself. Not everyone looks the same. Not every South Asian women look the same. We all are different in the way we look, the way we speak and the way we act.
An example in pop culture of female celebrities challenging these stereotypical notions of beauty is Selena Gomez. In the past couple months she encountered society and the media commenting on her appearance because she had gained a couple pounds. So instead of being thin and wearing revealing clothing she was had gained a bit of weight and still wearing revealing clothing. Selena Gomez took matters into her own hands and fought back. She commented on some of these suggestions of losing weight and said she felt comfortable in her body and that she looks amazing in anything she wears. She was not going to let society and the media rule the way she dresses or looks to look like everyone else.
So why does society say if you buy this, or you wear this, or if you drop these many pounds you will be beautiful. No, you will not because you are not being who you are. Be true to yourself and you’ll be beautiful all on your own. This is the hardest question to answer, how do we fight society and there judgement. The answer is we be ourselves. We stop trying to be other people, we stop buying clothing that are too baggy or too tight. We stop the stigma that every girl needs to look thin or to have a bigger chest and butt. We need to bring back the clothing that once made us feel comfortable, the clothing that made us feel beautiful because that is who we are. The South Asian community needs to show and mentor the next generation on confidence, to have self-esteem and to always feel beautiful. That is the key to the treasure, to be whom you are on the inside and out. Now answer this question, who are you?
By: Reenita V
Patriarchy. It’s a word that is often thrown around in many cultures and quite often criticized. When people discuss current events or culture norms within the South Asian community and culture, patriarchy is a topic often discussed. So in order to determine if patriarchy is bad, we first need to figure out what it means. Patriarchy is a system where men hold the power. The distribution of power may be seen in government, policy creators, and basic privilege or in the household. Basically, men are the decision makers. Having power on one side does essentially create a power imbalance as one side is placed in a position to determine what is needed for all people. Is this a bad thing? Well, that depends on your views and values.
As a woman, a patriarchal based society does not work for me. Before I get painted as a ‘man hating woman’ let’s explore how imbalances in power directly affect myself and other women. One issue that often arises is the need for more investment in women’s reproductive rights. Women have the right to access information or medical support to ensure their reproductive needs are addressed. Women have the right to birth control, the right to a safe abortion, access to safer sex tools and information. However, if we exist, and we do, in a patriarchal society we run the risk of losing accessibility if men are determining what is needed or not needed when it comes to women’s reproductive rights.
India’s women are powerful, smart and determined. India has a huge history of incredible feminist movements which you can see in the political, films, media and even religion. These movements have a rich history and are occurring in our present time. However, in current times, these great stories and movements are masked because India often gets painted in a dim light because of high amounts of sexual assaults that occur and are portrayed in the media. Patriarchal society shifts sexual assault blame onto women and can actually affect a woman’s physical safety. The sexualisation of women, attitude towards survivors, rape jokes and asking someone to cover up is all stems from rape culture. What if the power imbalances ceased to exist, could this possibly contribute to the decrease in sexual assaults? Perhaps we can imagine where women were not seen as property or a right and that a balanced society can create a respectful nurturing society which might ensure the safety of more of its people, regardless of gender.
Recently, I read Sultana’s Dream a beautiful narrative written in 1905 by Rokheya Shekhawat Hossein. In this article, we are provided with a description of a failed patriarchal society which turned matriarchal- meaning the women were in power. While I marveled at the determinants of altering the power imbalances, it still showed that a desire to shift from end of the spectrum just creates power on the other thus perpetrating the imbalances.While it is important to really understand the large power umbrella that hovers above us, the important task is really understanding what all people need and what their rights are, and to ensure we create a society that allows for balance, safety and address basic needs. Understanding the effects power imbalances have is vital to ensuring that we succeed not only as women, but as a society.