The Misters, on their podcast Lets Talk Sex, invited Meghna Chaudhury, co-founder of ‘WeUnlearn’, an organization that believes in breaking stereotypes of the societal mindset from a gendered perspective. Social media makes it very difficult to talk openly about these subjects and so the podcast discovered how brands struggle through these biases to make their voices heard. Instagram is called a prude as it contributes to the obvious humor that leads to stigma and taboo around men’s sexual health. Misters is a Gurgaon-based health and confidence start-up catering to men’s sexual health and wellness using ayurvedic, allopathic and plant-based methods and constantly struggled while talking about they do as they would get flagged off every other time.
Instagram’s ad policies say, “ads must not promote the sale or use of adult products or services. Ad promoting sexual and reproductive health products or services like contraception or family planning must be targeted to people 18 years or older and must not focus on sexual pleasure.” If prudishness needed a manifesto then this would be it. Sex is a topic for them to engage with in just a recreational way.
Meghna talked about how her team started the ‘Irrelevant Project’ that created a bunch of feminist picture books for children. She used Instagram to publicize her work. She gathered an audience via word of mouth. The posts on ‘weunlearn’, generally have a political backdrop catering to the political scenario in our country. Trouble stirs up whenever they voice their opinions directly on any political happenings in the country. One of the posts that got taken down revolved around the CAA-NRC and how the Indian Government was seen as turning fascist. Well Instagram did help Meghna out earlier, but now it doesn’t let the team talk about gender, definitely not about sexuality. The tinge of political verbatim in the posts leads them to getting flagged.
Misters mentioned how many a times it so happens that to get a notion through to people, clickbait are used. Images like banana and eggplant are used instead of the word ‘erection’ so as to not have the posts been taken down. Its weird how Instagram’s algorithm seems to work well when the posts contain pictures of bulls, horses and lions that are supposedly indicators of having strong sexual times but on the other hand mentioning the word ‘sex’ with the product catalog gets the posts taken down. Ironically, Instagram is supposed to have been built by the western culture and mindset that are generally very open about everything but, guess it isn’t always what it looks like.
Sites like Porn Hub have their Instagram pages verified and booming just because they use innuendos and are easily able to get their posts through the public without them getting flagged. Whereas, Misters and WeUnlearn aren’t able to give out actual information on sex. This is exactly what leads to stigma around sex. Unavailability of sex clinics, has misinformation doing much more rounds than real education.
Porn tends to be the go to place for teenagers to understand what sex and its education actually is. Meghna also soke about her experience of talking with young boys who are so very curious to know about how their size matters and how does it function while experiencing sex. The health and wellbeing curriculum in schools rarely ever talk about even basic sex education. Schools conduct no classes on sex education. Pornographic content being their only teacher, makes the adolescents believe that it’s the only way to learn and go about having sex in their life which is very wrong, misinformed, fake, acted out, unreal, unsafe and rough.
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