Not standing for National Anthem because of 'periods'. Seriously?

A ruckus broke out in Bengaluru when Kannada actors BV Aishwarya, Arun Gowda and others called out a family for not standing up for the National Anthem at a cinema hall. The video of the incident went viral reigniting the debate on ‘whether (or not) to stand up for the National Anthem’.

People are divided: some feel the family reserved its right to stay seated, others found it disgraceful and condemned the act of dishonoring the anthem. Soon the issue intensified, escalating into a nation-wide row with eminent personalities joining the issue.

But what came as a weird defence for the family refusing to stand for the anthem was from one Jyoti Yadav, a journalist known for her ‘liberal’ outlook.

This is 2019. Most women claim to be empowered and liberated, few prove that, too. Third wave feminists have prodded their ways into temples while menstruating, stepped into the pooja ghar of their homes during these three-four days, and many take pride in having offered pushpanjali during Navratris that collided with their ‘girly problem’ days. None of them was ‘forced’. With all that bleeding, they choose to climb scores of stairs, observe a fast and perform a tedious pooja - all to demonstrate how strong, equal, and unwavering they were.

Headstrong and determined women have fought through the days when they were compelled to stay out of the kitchen during that time of the month, were confined to a bed and forced to rest all day. They present themselves as undaunted and unstoppable even while bleeding their guts out.

Haven’t we all seen those sanitary napkin ads riding on the thought of women running, playing sports, dancing in concerts, conquering the world and celebrating the conquer– all during those four days? Woke millennials driven by the idea of feminism have likened menstruation to a woman’s ultimate strength. What is a 52-seconds-standing in an AC hall for such strong 21st century women then?

And then there is a modern educated empowered woman who holds that women are so weak during those days that standing for 52 seconds is like torture for them? How convincing is that?

In fact, this not the first time such an excuse has been produced to justify one’s not standing for the anthem. Back in 2015, television actor Kushal Tandon had shamed ‘Kaho na… Pyaar Hai..’ actress Ameesha Patel for disrespecting the National Anthem. He tweeted that Amisha had refused to stand up for the anthem at a Juhu cinema hall, responding to which the yesteryear’s actress had cut a real sorry figure by summoning all women to slap the Bigg Boss contestant.

Whether it is journalist such as Jyoti Yadav, Bollywood celebrity Ameesha Patel or a regular girl at the movies who tried to narrate how her entire family chose to not stand for the anthem because she was on her periods and the cramps were unbearable, they should know that they are doing massive disservice to womanhood and the strength it entails. They have turned the greatest power of women as their ‘go-to excuse’ every time they are caught in an unfavourable situation.

As an ordinary woman, I have travelled to the college using public transportation, written exams, sat for interviews, attended seminars, presided over meetings, won new projects, cooked for the family, cared for dear ones, cherished train journeys, rejoiced at festivities -- all while having my periods. Oh! And, stood for the National Anthem, too: numerous times. Yes, I had my cramps and I, just like millions of other ordinary women like myself, had the strength to handle them.

Now whether a woman chooses to stand for 52 seconds or not is her individual choice. But it is disheartening when some women dub other women fragile and weak beings who fail to deal with their own biological truths.

The progressive liberal women should either paint rebellious portraits depicting period blood as a boon, or use it as a pitiable weakness to hide behind when faced with challenges and wish to evade them.

They can’t have both options and be free to use any, depending on which narrative is more suitable to their situation at the given time.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author and do not reflect the views of Yahoo.