Pesta Seks: Masturbation

I discovered masturbation when I was really young. It happened just naturally. All I knew was that my *pO-EnZ was throbbing and I needed to get it off, so I did. No big deal. I did it again and again, until I grew up and found out what it is called and that it’s very shameful, if not haram.

My sister caught me once while I was doing it under the blanket, but she only told me to stop doing it. Mind you, it was in the living room so either my parents were oblivious or they were too ashamed to engage with me themselves… or they just didn’t care. For the record, my parents never even attempted to teach me about the birds and the bees. Not even pet names for my vagina. Like all the bands that I listen to now, I have to learn about this myself.

One day in secondary school, our Ustazah told us about ‘air mazi’, and that it comes out of the genitalia whenever one is aroused. So I did the smartest move and admitted to a small group of classmates (I went to an all-girls, y’all) that I did have air mazi come out of my vagina. Everyone squirmed, and one asked how it could happen, since 13-year old girls don’t get aroused, obviously. So I just let the topic die down.

Fast forward to matriculation where I had to live in a dorm room with three other girls. The topic of masturbation came up more frequently, but more like, “I heard the boys do it. They cut out holes in their mattresses for them to insert their cocks.” It’s always about hearing of other people who did it. And because I learned it the hard way, all these conversations were accompanied by very convincing cringes and “Ewww.” I’m still not sure if the other three were faking it as well, but I masturbated the least in that one year.

All I’d learned about masturbation while growing up, reminiscent of the conversations I had with my matriculation and university roommates, was through hearsay. It was never people we personally knew, and it was almost exclusively about male masturbation which was understood to be embarrassing, but not as shameful as female masturbation which even we girls wouldn’t talk about. Oh, I’ve heard stories of women who’ve done it, but they were always biblically punished at the end. While we left the guys jacking off to their mattresses, somehow the woman who used a battery to masturbate died. Because she’s a lonely unmarried woman who masturbated with a battery. Continue reading “Pesta Seks: Masturbation”

Making The Cut: On Circumcision, Social Pressure And The Things You Learn

It began with a link that was shared by a family friend on Facebook. In it, my friend expressed her anger at the fact that someone was considering to make female circumcision obligatory for Muslim girls.

My first responses were, “Who’s making it obligatory?” and “What the fuck?”

Anyone who grew up in the nineties and read Time Magazine and Reader’s Digest would have known who Waris Dirie was, and would have been introduced to what the WHO describes as “Type III FGM”, and might have remembered the Al-Azhar’s University’s condemnation of the practice, stating that the ritual itself had no basis in Islamic law.

And yet, there is a national fatwa condoning what it calls “female genital mutilation”.

Hence the shared link, and the outrage.

Continue reading “Making The Cut: On Circumcision, Social Pressure And The Things You Learn”

Modest? Sexy? Or just an athlete?

This post is by Nivedita Menon, originally posted at Kafila.


By goddess, it’s that spot again – at once familiar and deeply uncomfortable. Us feminists in the same rage as the patriarchs and religious right, over the same damn thing. For very different reasons, we bellow (cutely), but is anybody listening?

The  Badminton World Federation has announced its new dress code that requires women players to wear skirts  “to ensure attractive presentation of badminton”. Almost every Indian woman player has objected, saying that dress should be one’s personal preference.

Of course most workplaces have dress codes.  So this is about more than simply an infringement of individual tastes. This is about the utter blatant sexism of this particular requirement. Basically, what’s the BWF saying quite shamelessly? That they expect more people to come to the sport if they can see suggestively flying skirts (on women). Even if there are shorts beneath, which they have grudgingly permitted. It’s not enough to show legs, skirts have to fly. Continue reading “Modest? Sexy? Or just an athlete?”

A love letter to my body.

This was originally for Glitter Politic’s Call for Submissions! Write a love letter to your body. Originally posted here. Some content possibly triggering, or ISA-worthy.

Dear Body of mine,

It is very difficult for us to write a love letter to you right now. See, we are hurting. We are hurting because someone we had not expected had laid a very low but very painful, out of nowhere attack on us, on the core of our being. It was just words but the words hurt.

And what they also hurt were any sense of trust, the feeling that there are people in the world that will not take judgement on you, that there are people you could give your body and your mind and your time to and not make a mockery of your share, that there are people who will still appreciate the offer even if they are not in a position to receive right now.

Continue reading “A love letter to my body.”