11 January 2011

On Pads, Panties and Oppression

Among all the sexist discrimination against women and the oppression of them as a gender every day, our society seems to go beyond measures to seize every opportunity to tighten its grip around women’s minds (and vaginas). Two instances I have recently encountered have proven to me how ridiculous this controlling system is. Read this and, well, if you don’t cry I hope you laugh:

1. At the pharmacy:
I parked my car in front of the pharmacy late one night to pick up menstrual pads, leaving my bag behind in the car.

Went in, picked up a pack of pads, went to the cashier desk and paid for them. Meanwhile the lady behind the counter puts the pads in a plastic bag. Before she does so I told her there was no need for a bag (I try to save on using plastic bags by using my HANDS instead to carry groceries) . She ignores me and puts the pads in a bag nonetheless. I pull the pads out and give her back the plastic bag. She gets very angry and looks at me as if I were crazy, saying, “bes hatha kotex!!!” (=but this is kotex/menstrual pads!!!).

I walked out with the pads in my hand, and with a whirl of bafflement in my head.

2. At the lingerie shop:
This time I didn’t mind using the small crisp La Senza paper bag – since I know I’ll reuse it many times again. I did, however, ask the shop keeper NOT to wrap the 5 cotton panties I bought on discount with tissue paper. She, too, ignored me, and started wrapping. I repeated my request, “no need to wrap them”. She went, “but it will show!! Not good!!”, and I replied, “but I am the one who will carry it!!” (i.e. it’s my say).

Am I supposed to pretend as if I don’t get my period? Or that I don’t wear underwear? What is so shameful about my femininity that they want me to conceal all the time? Or am I required to be a “seamless female” without distracting anyone with the details?

The above are only 2 examples of what happens every day in our society as ways to suppress women in the most trivial ways. As a result you have young women who have never visited gynecologists for fear of rumors, women who do not buy their own condoms thus risk catching an STD or facing unwanted pregnancy, women who look down to the floor when they are in an elevator with men and haven’t the slightest self esteem to be strong, independent healthy human beings and lift their head high.


Meg V said...

they give you black plastic bags here - to hide your unmentionables...everything else gets clear plastic

aMaL said...

when I lived in Jordan they also did that.. but they put the black plastic bag inside ANOTHER black plastic bag!