Going by the reports coming out of my country it would appear that being born with a vagina is insanely problematic. That’s right; as if it wasn’t bad enough that they’re awfully inconvenient. Being the proprietor of a vagina is no cake walk, for one thing it doesn’t allow you silly little freedoms that your male counterparts enjoy: for instance, you can’t whip it out of your pants and extend it toward a tree or wall or an open field for a nice pee when there’s no public restroom nearby and your bladder’s close to bursting. Peeing for a woman demands squatting, and pulling down pants and underwear or lifting up skirts and petticoats, it demands the baring of bottoms, and slowing car journeys down.
The organ is also unnecessarily leaky. In fact, when attached to a normally functioning reproductive system, the damn thing dishes out a monthly dosage of blood for the better part of your life; blood that must be absorbed by posture-altering tampons or chafe-inducing sanitary pads or something equally uncomfortable and porous. And, if your vagina has an attitude, even these instruments can fail to contain, leaving you with ruby-red stains on your posterior, and, if you’re supremely unlucky, on upholstery at a friend’s house. Oh and the shame that goes with said staining is god-awful. You’re expected to turn red in the face – not ruby but a nice flush will do – you should apologize profusely for the behavior of your vagina as you back out of a room and into a bathroom to rub your fingers raw under scalding hot water while you try to undo the evidence of a normal occurrence. The leaky days are the worst, they ask you to be prepared with back up absorbents, interfere in your wardrobe choices, they stir up a storm in your lower abdomen and make your back feel like it spent an entire week doing hard labor.
The vagina also identifies its owner as female, and don’t even get me started on the issues related to that gender. I could write an entire book on the whole ‘being a girl’ thing. But to summarize, vagina-owning brings baggage in the form of breasts and it demands that you be smarter about all your choices: what you’re wearing, how you’re behaving, who you’re talking to, how you’re talking to them, what you’re drinking, how you’re concealing what you’re drinking, the color of your lipstick, the content of your conversation, physical proximity, physical intimacy, any intimacy, any proximity, so on and so forth. Not much fun.
But it appears that the vagina is also sneaky. It’s a wretched, conniving sort of instrument keen on ruining the lives of unsuspecting males. It entices straightforward gentlemen into committing assault and rape and other heinous crimes. The poor unsuspecting souls are beguiled by the hypnotic effects of a vagina, forcing them to ‘make mistakes‘ for which they are then expected to be punished – where is the justice in that? In fact, a vagina can turn on a man for the most mundane reasons. It may tempt a nice young man to turn his nose up at social convention and the concerns of his family, seduce him into a live-in relationship, and then, when things stop working out, the vagina wants to leave! After making itself accessible to the man that it professed love for, the vagina now expects to just walk out without repercussions. What else is a man to do but resort to rape? How else is he to re-assert its importance in his life? Worse still, the vagina looks at this assault as punishable and not the natural outcome of a relationship gone awry. Ridiculous, right? That’s like saying a penis walking out on a relationship demands its hacking off! Can you imagine the number of male members we’d see being tossed out of windows just walking down the street? The things people say!
All in all, the whole push for male babies in India makes so much more sense now. Who’d want to have a child with a vagina? They’re so problematic, their ‘virtue’ demands protection, they slow car-rides down, they’re full of female guile and the really wild ones expect treatment at par with the boys. Next thing you know they’ll want to be paid the same as men and make their own choices and have live-in relationships – and we all know what that leads to: innocent men being punished for no fault of their own.
One could dismiss the vagina altogether. Consider it part and parcel of female physiognomy and nothing more. Forget the expectations and associations that the words female, girl or woman bring to mind. Look at a souring relationship between two individuals as just that and not an explanation for why rape occurs. We could look at someone who’s female as a person and not a glorified organ. We could consider women the same as men, as breathing, living human beings with desires, hopes, failures and needs.
But all that is too much work, isn’t it? It’s easier this way: the vagina is problematic.
© Ayesha Sindhu 2014