Vagacrisis – An Unfortunate Tale Of Gynaecologists And Indian Aunties
What are the two words that are a nightmare in every Indian girl’s life? Gynaecologists, and Indian Aunties. You’re probably thinking, Indian aunties are okay, how are Gynaecologists a nightmare? Let me tell you exactly how.
Here’s What A Visit To The Gynae’s Often Looks Like In India
You have a sexual health related trouble, so after countless failed attempts at having a conversation with your mother, you decide to go to a doctor. After hours of finding an experienced Gynaecologist, you book an appointment, and you’re content with your decision. Everything’s sorted for now, but then, cut to the next day. You find yourself in the clinic, surrounded by pregnant aunties. It’s not long before you hear whispering, and fingers pointing towards you (What did I say about Indian Aunties?) But you decide to disregard that, and mind your own business, unlike them.
When you finally come face to face with the Gynaecologist, what’s the first question she asks? “Are you married?” as a proxy for “Are you sexually active?” And you know you’re doomed! It’s almost as if there’s an unwritten rule somewhere that only married and pregnant women can visit a Gynaecologist. After you’ve answered her series of offensive questions, comes the next step, the physical checkup. And god forbid you’re not a virgin (which btw is an archaic concept in itself but let’s discuss that some other time), she’ll shoot you a look of dismay and start her lecture. Instead of getting the medical advice you needed, you get policed on your morals. Fun, right?
The walk back home after visiting your Gynaecologist is no less than a walk of shame. When you think you are finally done with the horror, you face another one : aunties. You step inside your society’s gate and there they are, ready to attack. Somehow the news of your visit to the Gynaecologist has spread like a wildfire, because of course it isn’t normal for a young woman to visit a Gynaecologist! And you’re back to being judged and shamed for being sexually healthy. They start whispering behind your back and you can feel their glares burning holes in your back.
“Did you hear she went to a Gynaecologist and was very tensed”
“Oh, I can even see a baby bump.”
It’s startling how the Indian aunties, being women themselves, think this is something to gossip about. Instead of making a positive contribution, they make it even worse.
The Need For Sex Education In India
In the society we live in, sex is a topic that’s usually brushed under the carpet. The charade gets even worse if you’re an Indian girl, because you’re never really taught about your sexual health. The state of women’s health in India is appalling. At least 50% of women of all age groups suffer from anemia. An estimated one in five (20%) Indian women suffer from PCOS. If not monitored in time, the condition can have serious health impacts. Cervical cancer forms 16.5% of the total cancer cases in Indian women and is the second most common type of cancer amongst women in the country (breast cancer being the first). Fifty per cent of maternal deaths among girls from 15-19 years of age occur due to unsafe abortion practices. With statistics like these, it is a need, not a want, for women to be able to go freely to doctors, and seek the services they need and deserve.
Taboo and superstition, fueled by a lack of access and availability to resources and education, lead to dangerous and unsafe practices. Historically and contemporarily, women have been constricted from making their own decisions due to a general lack of information. Comprehensive sex education reach is very limited and in general, information promoting sexual health and reproductive health is not enough.
Because of the mindsets, customs and institutional biases, these topics are rarely addressed. We have the internet but it isn’t exactly the pioneer of reliable information. So inevitably, women have to turn to a medical professional- the Gynaecologist. But that is often synonymous with being judged and embarrassed. The doctors are a product of our society. The same patriarchal society that consists of slut-shaming, and gossip-monger aunties. It’s a shame that getting a medical diagnosis causes more stress than the actual disease or issue.
That is why most women avoid going to a Gynaecologist at all. Or, they have to wait, till their condition is “severe” enough to avoid the large lashing of judgement that comes with it. Even after they do, they have to lie to save themselves from the embarrassment and moral policing. So, to help you out a little in our own way, here’s a crowdsourced list of gynaecologists that don’t judge!
What Can We Do To Help?
Our society needs to realise that the right to sexual health is just as important as any other, if not more. The stigma attached to sexual health isn’t just problematic for the society but has severe medical repercussions too. So, here are some things we can do to help :
- Make sure we don’t judge anyone for seeking help or be too quick to judgement.
- Make sure we initiate conversations about sexual health in our circles, here’s how you can start.
- Accompany your friends for doctor visits, if that helps them feel more comfortable.
We know this is a huge gap in the society and through Manzuri, we’re trying to address and normalise that. As the world is becoming more conscious and accepting, it’s high time we accept female sexual health and female pleasure as normal, and break all the stereotypes, microaggressions and discriminations. The society needs to start seeing women as humans who have a sexual life and not just baby-making machines.