11 July, 2020

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Anura, Sex And Gender Politics

By Arundathie Sangakkara

Women, sex, sexuality, feminine hygiene, reproductive rights have all emerged front running themes and game changers in the Presidential Election of 2019. As Kate Millet famously wrote in her groundbreaking book “Sexual Politics” in 1970, “what is personal is political”.

Sex Is A Choice, Menstruation Is Not 

The male worshipping Pohottu People seem to exhibit very little sensitivity towards these issues in their singular adulation of the Rajapaksa men. The best they could muster to face the “PADMAN” was to call a line of dubious women to dramatically retaliate.  

Non-entity “artist” and self-proclaimed “Sri Lankan woman with a well-developed ‘shame-fear’ complex (lajja-bhaya)” called Sanjeewani Weerasinghe delivered some confused lines glorifying the “Sri Lankan husbands with vigor to buy their wives sanitary pads”. 

What about the school children, unmarried women who menstruate, women with post-partum bleeding, we wonder?

The wannabe politician women of the Pohottuwa evoke the dangerous memory of the Paba-Geetha era of politics. The best that the Pohottuwa could bring to the table to discuss the issue of menstrual hygiene were Sanjeewani Weerasinghe, Nilmini Tennekoon and Kusum Renu. Kusum Renu famously proclaimed that “every time I close my eyes Gotabaya Sir makes a presence”. Visual illusions are a hall mark of schizophrenia. I’m no psychiatrist. I’m just sayin’! 

What these adult women who themselves are mothers, claim is that the pledge to provide sanitary pads to women is about instilling a beggar mentality. They went so far to ask:   in that case will condoms be distributed free of charge as well? 

Here’s the oversimplified answer to the Pohottu People. 

Pubertal girls don’t choose to menstruate. 

It happens as a part of life.

A girl can control menstruation as much as a boy can control facial hair growth.

Having sex is your choice.

As an adult it is your responsibility to safe guard your body from Sexually Transmitted Diseases and pregnancy when you have sex. Because you are a responsible adult. Therefore you buy yourself a condom to make your choice to have sex a safe choice. 

But if you can’t, the government already provides these services free of charge. 

Also, since you three ladies are so hot and bothered about distributing free condoms, please contact the Public Health Midwife (PHM) of your area. She can give you free contraceptive advice, free Depot Provera Injection (to prevent pregnancy), free IUCD (Intra Uterine Contraceptive Device to prevent pregnancy), free OCPs (Oral Contraceptive Pills to prevent pregnancy). If you want to collect some condoms at the cost of the state for your current sex partner, the PHM can give that for free too. 

Sanjeewani, Nilmini, and Kusum Renu, while collecting as many condoms, if you are at that age where menopause has hit you, please go to the Suwanari Sayanaya (Well Woman Clinic) in your PMH area and get some free advice and free medication for that too. I have heard that psychological support and medication during menopause really helps women to have better sex. 

You have always been provided the facility to have safe sex at the expense of the government. 

So please, have some sex.

Having sex is scientifically proven to improve the mood and disposition of both men and women by a complex mechanism of secreting the “affection hormones”. You all might be less angry at the next media briefing. 

Menstruation is not a choice for girls. 

Sex is a choice for adults.

Safe sex is made possible by the government.

Menstrual hygiene is not.

It needs to be addressed.

Get it in to your heads (or groins).  

Sajith: Accidental #PADMAN

First of all, my generous kudos to the man who is said to have sold the “idea of the sanitary pad” to a hapless Sajith Premadasa. The real PADMAN is the man who gave this idea to Sajith. Till a generous thinker convinced Sajith of this bright idea Sajith was just a chest beating, pony riding, looming in the dark to visit bed rooms at night etc. etc. MADMAN. his campaign was a series of “puthaano” invoking the “piyaano”.  He was at the butt end of national ridicule, the verbose, moronic screamer and chest beater son of a former president. Till Sajith fearlessly mouthed the words “sanitary pads” his campaign did not have a have the political luster or the imagination you’d expect from a presidential candidate.

If Sajith believes in the woman’s right to health this entire matter of the sanitary pad should have been a part of his speech at the women’s convention that was held for his campaign. 

Instead, surrounded my his OWN MOTHER,OWN WIFE, OWN SISTER and a string of other women who are partraiachical ejaculates of a string of corrupt politicians- (daughters, widows etc. of male UNP politicians) Sajith did a classless, tasteless mega Super Star Show.

There he did not utter a word about sexual rights of women.

Not a word about the right of women to their bodies.

Not a word about fiscal reforms to promote reproductive health of women.

Not a word about cervical cancer, breast cancer. 

No.

Not a word.

Nada. 

Sajith The ‘Selphilic’

Sajith is one of the biggest ‘Selphile’ you will meet in Sri Lankan politics. His self-love exceeds even the narcissism of the Rajapaksas. 

Sajith, throughout his parliamentary career has been a defender only of himself. An astounding liar about his credentials, pretending to be a “graduate” of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) to further lies about an elusive “MSc” from University of Maryland, Sajith is your typical Sri Lankan politician. If not for his illustrious father who, amidst great social marginalization rose to great political heights, Sajith Premadasa today would not be eligible to be a peon in a government office.

Instead, here he is, riding a pony, promising pads, potential president an all. 

(The Lord is truly beneficent) 

Sajith, in his 19 year old parliamentary career has never defended women’s rights.

He has never defended a single slain journalist.

He has never defended a single slain citizen by the bullets of the Rajapakshas.

He has never stood against the Rajapaksha looting. 

He has never stood against the Bond Scam.

He has never stood against a corrupt politician.

He has never EVER been a defender of anyone but himself. 

His entire political career has been all about me, my father, myself, I , I want, I was not given, I want to be leader, me me, me, me, me.

Sajith is not the defender of women, their hygiene, their health, NOTHING.

He has only been the token “thrower of free stuff” at the poor and the Buddhist clergy. He has been distributing money here and there and we wonder if money grows on trees at the Premadasa backyard because he has no inherited wealth, no education or ability to generate wealth and apparently he does not collect his MP salary!

How swell!

Anura And Gender Politics

In the entire gender discourse during this Presidential Election campaign, only one candidate genuinely shines for his commitment to gender issues. That is Anura Kumara Dissanayake of the National Peoples’ Power (NPP). Even before the NPP was formed, the JVP as a separate political entity was the only political party which had the moral courage to take a stance on LGBTQI rights. This was in spite the deplorable homophobia exhibited by Nalinda Jayatissa a frontline JVP MP and sadly, a medical professional. 

It is Anura who, at his maiden rally as the Presidential candidate of the NPP who proclaimed that the policy of the NPP is a discourse leading to decriminalization of non-cis gender identities. 

It is Anura, who, to a packed audience at the womens’ convention of the NPP, for the first time in history of Sri Lankan politics uttered the unforgettable words” as a human being neither I nor many would want an abortion for a woman. But the decision about a woman’s body does not lie with a man. She should decide what she wants to do with her body”. 

It is Anura who has spoken up against sexual harassment of women is public transport. 

It is he who has had the guts to speak about the lack of toilette facility for women. 

It is Anura who has spoken out about “period poverty” and the scientific approach of distributing sanitary pads. It is Anura who speaks about period poverty as a gap of knowledge and enabling environment. It is Anura who suggests a pilot project to understand how to operationalize its implementation. It is Anura who speaks of the environmental impact of “pad pollution”. About the lack of water and sanitary facility. In Anura’s political heart lies the real tears of the women, in this election. 

Anura: The Conversation Changer

Sajith wants to give a pad – because someone told him to say so.

Sajith says this because it is his habit to offer something for free.

Because that is how he knows to do politics. 

Because he has misread the contextual relevance of his father’s politics over 30 years ago.

It is Anura who changed the vocabulary of a presidential election by throwing in the heart, soul, rights and the intellectual dimension in to the conversation. He elevated this election to a never before height about the women, the marginalized, the hurt, the wounded, the brutalized. He spoke against corporal punishment of children. He became the policy voice of the voiceless. 

If not for Anura who brought the gender discourse and the sex discourse in to the policy conversation, this election too would be about the male dominated issues. It is Anura’s inspiration that pushed the UNP to join the bandwagon (and good on you, UNP!) of women’s health and hygiene. In this election Anura managed to embody the fundamental values of left politics in the age of a hopeful social democracy. 

Thanks to Anura, today Sajith can own the pad. 

But the blood that gave life to the conversation about that pad came from the genuine spirit of Anura. 

This round, the pad belongs to Sajith.

But the blood, it came from Anura. 

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Latest comments

  • 11
    2

    Bravo, Arundathie Sangakkara, for writing in praise of AKD with real passion and feeling. Yes, this article convinced me that AKD is not merely the man who happens to be the leader of the JVP, but a decent human being.
    .
    Unfortunately, he’s not destined to win this time round, but let us, who are able to read this, and figure out who’s who in this race and give him Our First Preference. Let’s not kid ourselves that all voters are going to be conscientious enough to study the system of voting. Here’s Professor Hoole of the Election Commission explaining it in in a ten minute Youtube.
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W05gyBRKWJQ&feature=youtu.be
    .
    His realism is welcome. Nothing we ever do will be perfect, but we can do our bit as best we can.

    .

    • 1
      0

      Sinhala Man…

      You seem to be a learned person of Lankawe Politics

      Please tell me whether this Keselwatta Kids’s , ground breaking Free UNP Menstrual Pads Offer is the brain Child of his new Mentor, Mnagala Samaraweera?…

  • 3
    2

    Sajith is the least worst option for Lanka at this time.
    US citizen Gota and RW are puppet candidates to be manipulated by Washington to do its bidding.
    AKD has been playing gender, LGBTQ, and ethno-religious identity politics after reading the CIA playbook on Divide and rule to set up military bases.

    Unlike the FSP which has spoken out clearly, AKD is soft peddling the real national security and existential threat to Sri Lanka at this time– the US MCC compact which should be read with SOFA to turn Lanka into a US military servicing hub in the Indian Ocean so the US war machine can be set up to fight dirty wars on China, Iran and Asia Rising.

  • 0
    2

    Arundathie,
    It is strange to talk anew on the subject of sex & JVP b’cos, being a Marxist party, JVP’s position on sex has to be well known. Marx considered sex as an open affair free from family obligations. It comes from Marxist definition of family which is considered as the starting point of property ownership and therefore, condemned to be banned. However, LGBT is a new addition coming from western liberalism. Communists don’t advertise LGBT as worthy habit.

    However, about female hygiene and the related issue of “pads”, I believe that JVP is has shown its hypocrisy by pandering to popular politics. That is b’cos their supposed loyalty the concept of “neo-colonialism” should not allow them to engage in propaganda for products from western multi-national companies. Why isn’t “pad” mafia different from oil, pharmaceutical, etc mafia. What happened to the argument about protecting local businesses?

    My argument is simple: The idea of improving female hygiene and liberalism on sexual orientation is commendable but, in the excitement of popular election rhetoric, JVP forgot to formulate the idea within their own theoretical stand of encouraging local businesses against foreign companies.

  • 2
    3

    Some contents of this article are questionable and controversial. But to express her opinion is her prerogative.

    One wonders if the writer has a hidden (Political) agenda in writing such an article?

    • 2
      1

      Yes of course. If she doesn’t support the UNP then she must have a ‘hidden political agenda’. I’ve never heard sanitary pads called that before.

  • 0
    5

    What nonsense… We adore women.
    Arundathie must have inadvertently put SLPP in place of UNP..
    I don’t care whether Pad Man , or Nandaseana or even JVP Prince wins or loses.

    Please keep writing those Women’s Secrets s ..8 out of 10 for this..-

    BTW , Good choice of Pics too..

    Those Ladies I don’t think need any of those Free Government issues.

    But the Ladies of those men following Keselwtta Kid and the Donkey certainly can do with most of them..

    • 3
      1

      Sumanasekara
      Or really! you do not care who wins! All along you have been supporting one candidate. With your disdainful and diplorable writing, your prefered candidate will not gain any votes. Not from modest and literary society. You doing him a disservice. After all you are the one and only person continue to call other candidate ‘keselwatta kid’

  • 3
    0

    Sri Lankans move from autocratic family rule to and “Old Boys Club” crony rule and then look forward to a police state with no tolerance for dissent. One gets the impression that the writing style mimics that of Arundati Roy. There seem to be several forces aligned against despotic rule; yet are fragmented. Hence the beneficiary will emerge as a winner on Saturday, thus providing more of the same for our ill-fated pathetic population.

  • 0
    0

    Arundhathie
    Well done. Witty, Sad ,Pragmatic article. So few Women write especially on topics which are sensitive socially. Kudos to Sajith for his brave admission of the lack of awareness among men of menstruation. It is not a secret. Sri Lanka is a Patriarchal Chauvinist Society, and if woman does not stand up to fight for their basic rights doom to them. Let the men snigger.

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