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Before 22-year-old Phoo Myat Thwe stepped on stage last night to read a monologue in downtown Yangon, her hands went cold.
“I suddenly didn’t know if I could do it – utter moans of sexual pleasure on stage,” said Phoo, who read the story ‘The woman who loved to make vaginas happy,’ exploring women’s pleasure.
“But then I reminded myself, yes this is provocative, but this is about sexual liberation and understanding women’s right to know about their bodies,” said Phoo.
This week was the first time the feminist play ‘The Vagina Monologues’ was performed in Burmese in public.
Hoots of laughter erupted, jaws dropped and all eyes were glued to a small black stage on a rooftop in Yangon, as Myanmar women of all ages took to the stage to read stories that explored the taboo issues of menstruation, consent, sex work and reproduction.
The play was written in 1994 by American playwright and activist Eve Ensler, after she interviewed women of different ages, races and sexualities. It became an instant hit.
“For me I grew up never saying the word vagina in my home, and I was told you can’t show your boobs, society makes you feel shame that our bodies are dirty – a lot of women feel like they are second class citizens,” said Phoo, who is an art writer when she’s not on stage. “It’s vaginal liberation, it discusses vaginas in a way that we normally wouldn’t speak about them.”
Just a play?
The monologues aim to give a voice to women beyond the barriers of race or religion.
Growing up in conflict-ridden Meiktila, Pyay Oo May told the audience at Tuesday night’s opening performance that she was inspired to perform on stage as she has experienced discrimination from a young age.
When authorites came to impose a fine because her all female family couldn’t volunteer anyone to join the rotational security watch duty in their village, they made loud jokes, so that others in the neighborhood could hear. “It was a kind of trauma,” she said.
Although many of the monologues are comical, some explore difficult and harrowing experiences, such as rape during the Bosnian war in the monologue, ‘My Vagina was My village.’
Pyay Oo May said this was the hardest story to listen to. “It was very painful, I feel the girl [in the monologue] is hopeless and [has] lost everything — she is physically alive, but psychologically dead,” she said.
A global V-Day movement
In Myanmar, rape has been used as a weapon of war recorded by many women’s rights groups across the country. Women’s rights groups such as the Karen Women’s Organization have documented these abuses and called for an end to military impunity for abuses committed against all women – Karen, Kachin, Shan and Rohingya.
The Vagina Monologues has become a global V-Day movement that encourages women around the world to perform the monologues as a benefit performance to raise funds and consciousness about ending violence against women.
This year, the funds in Myanmar will go to two groups raising women’s rights in ethnic areas; The Karen Women’s Organization and Ninu Women, a group that supports Chin women fighting for equal inheritance rights for women and an end to bride prices.
When asked for her thoughts on the show, founder of Ninu Women, Mae Len Nei Cer, said: “Only one word – revolution!”
Giving a voice to all women
Last year, over $3,500 were raised for Strongflowers Sexuality Education from the performances when it was performed in English for the first time.
Strongflowers founderDR Thet Su Htwe said she was at first scared to speak on stage about her work. “For me the word vagina is too sensitive in our society, even if it is in English,” she said.
But after reflecting on the education gap about sexual and reproductive health across the country, she decided she would do it. “When I do trainings there is so much people don’t know, they think menstrual blood is dirty and that women can’t get pregnant if they don’t have an orgasm.”
But choosing a word in Burmese as the translation for vagina wasn’t that straight-forward.
Each performer translated the monologue themselves or worked in a team. Phoo said it was challenging to choose a word that captured the tone in Burmese in conservative Buddhist Myanmar.
She chose ‘a-sae’ for the clitoris, ‘a-phote’ for vagina because men usually use them in a sexual way, but she wanted to take back ownership of the word and bring a positive energy to it. Usually women use a polite phrase of ‘Main-ma-koe’ which translates as women’s body, but Phoo wanted to choose some more striking words.
Another performer, Aye Nilar Kyaw, said her friends are too shy to talk about vaginas, so she hopes “if people from Myanmar come here, and even if they learn the word vagina tonight, I am happy with that.”
Feminist Activist Nandar, producer of The Vagina Monologues in Yangon, said she hopes the stories will reconnect women with their bodies to feel proud.
“For me, it’s an important reminder for Myanmar society to respect women’s bodies and listen to their stories, we need to start a conversation,” she said. (VOA)
By- Jake Melnik
With the accessibility to high-speed internet, affordable OTT platform subscriptions, the popularity of binge-watching culture is at its peak. Now, we get unlimited shows to watch every day. In fact, it has brought entertainment to our fingertips. Among the popular platforms, Netflix is one of the favourite names for binge-watchers.
However, if you want to have the best streaming experience, then try out these five hacks and make the most of the Netflix streaming service you use:
1. Get access to different countries' Netflix shows that aren't available in your location
There are so many incredible movies and shows on Netflix that are sometimes not available in specific locations. If you also have a show or a list of shows that you eagerly wanted to watch but couldn't, then this hack is made only for you. You can use unblockers such as smartflix, or any other unblocker that is accessible for free to change your Ip address and make the site think you belong to a different location. This way, you will be granted more Netflix shows which otherwise you would have missed. Remember that these unblockers may contain security issues; hence ensure you choose the best and reliable unblocker and access the US Netflix library with a free VPN.
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2. Get better video quality with a super Netflix extension
If you use google chrome to access Netflix, then you must use the free extension given in the browser known as Super Netflix. This extension is basically provided to give users an enhanced video quality. You just have to install the free extension and select the video streaming quality you want in place of letting Netflix do it for you. This option is convenient when you often shift between your mobile data and wifi connection.
Other advantages of Super Netflix involve:
- Automatic skipping of show intros.
- Speeding up video.
- Managing color contrast and video brightness.
Also, super Netflix keeps you from getting spoilers by blurring out the plot description and show thumbnails.
In addition, try to watch your shows early in the morning or late at night as with fewer people engaging on the platform, speed, and quality automatically improve.
You just have to install the free extension and select the video streaming quality you want in place of letting Netflix do it for you.Unsplash
ALSO READ: Tips To Stream Better On Netflix In 2021
There is no doubt that Netflix originals are way too engaging and filled with pure entertainment. However, there is no harm in watching something that is not produced by Netflix yet is something worth watching.
In case you already have a few shows in mind you would want to stream on Netflix other than Netflix originals, then use the Google Chrome extension named no Netflix original. It removes all the Netflix-produced shows from your list and introduces many other great pieces to watch.
4. Binge-Watch With Your Friends And Family
Watching any shows or movies with loved ones adds to the excitement and joy of the moment. Unfortunately, due to the current world situation, people are stuck at their homes or may live too far to hit a movie night with you. But, using a tool called Teleparty, you can virtually host binge-watching sessions along with your friends and family. This tool will let everyone on your list get engaged virtually at the same time to watch a movie together.
5. No More "Are You Still Watching?"
If you are also tired of tapping on the "next episode" option and want to binge-watch a show without any disturbance. Then here is another Google Chrome extension for you. Get an extension of Never-Ending Netflix from chrome and remove anything that comes between long hours of binging. This extension will automatically play the next episode, lets you skip the sequence, and most importantly, keeps the prompt of "are you still watching?" from popping up every now and then. You can also search shows by genre on Netflix using this extension.
When it comes to binge-watching shows and movies, Netflix indeed pops up in the mind of serial streamers. After all, Netflix has it all, from the latest seasons of money heist to all the episodes of the 90s as well as today's people's favourite show, "Friends." Hence by using the hacks and tricks mentioned above, you can go for your non-stop binge-watching mode along with better quality and convenience.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and include some commercial links)
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In the era of computers and smartphones, it is hard to imagine a task that hasnt been made easier by some sort of technology. You all may know how harmful the blue light emitted by computers, smartphones, tablets, televisions, and other electronics is for your eyes. Since the inception of the pandemic, the use of these electronic devices has increased, and we all know it can have multiple undesirable effects on the eye.
Dark circles are formed mostly due to the reflection of the dark maroon underlying orbicularis oculi, a circular muscle around our eye. The dark pigmentation gives you an exhausted look which makes you seem sick or sleep-deprived. The skin around the eye is the thinnest, results in reflection of the said dark maroon underlying orbicularis oculi. The artificial light from the screen of your electronic devices causes a lot of drying, as it steals the moisture from the skin and also causes a breakdown of collagen
Reduce overhead lighting to minimize screen glare. | Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash
How can you deal with the undesirable effects?
*Follow a proper skincare regimen, use a moisturiser rich in vitamins especially C,E, and K. Massage it gently in clockwise and anticlockwise gentle circular movements.
*Apply under-eye cream 40 minutes before going to bed.
*Green tea bags can also help to shrink the blood vessels that will lessen dark circles.
*Catching up on sleep can help reduce the appearance of dark circles.
*Take frequent breaks while using digital devices.
*Reduce overhead lighting to minimize screen glare.
*Keep your eyes an arm's distance away from the screen.
Vivek Singh, CEO and Co-founder of Anveya Living says, "People spend a large portion of the day straining their eyes on computers, phones or tablets. Our eye muscles try to focus and refocus on and off screens which causes strain. There are a few solutions to this problem. Dehydration plays a big role, especially in the area around the eyes. Make sure you pick an eye cream that suits your eye concerns. For example, Anveya has an under eye cream with Vitamin C that helps to reduce puffiness, wrinkles and pigmentation. It basically provides intense hydration, nourishes and protects the thin skin around the eyes".
Apply under-eye cream 40 minutes before going to bed. | Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Unsplash
Commenting on the same, Shilpa Rathi Maheshwari, Founder of I AM LOVE, a Nutraceutical Health and Skincare Brand, said, "Screen time is the latest plague that has been going around and everyone has fallen victim to it; the young and the old. Too much eye strain affects the skin around the eyes, it causes them to age at an accelerated rate. While curbing screen time is one solution, it can't be a solution for people whose livelihood depends on it. Well, you don't have to worry when you have enough protein and collagen in your body. You might need to supplement your body with an increased amount of collagen and protein to negate the damage being done."
(Article originally written by: N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: under-eye, skin, treatment, eye-cream, dark circles, sleep, routine, self-care
Some women say they experienced period changes after getting a Covid-19 vaccination. While the reported changes are short-lived, research into this possible adverse reaction remains critical to the success of the vaccination programme, according to an editorial published in The BMJ.
"A link between menstrual changes after Covid-19 vaccination is plausible and should be investigated," wrote Dr Victoria Male, a reproductive specialist at Imperial College London, in the editorial. Reports of menstrual changes after Covid-19 vaccination have been made for both mRNA and adenovirus-vectored vaccines, she added, suggesting that, if there is a connection, it is likely to be a result of the immune response to vaccination, rather than to a specific vaccine component, she said.
While changes to periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding are not listed as common side effects of Covid-19 vaccination, more than 30,000 such reports have been made to the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) surveillance scheme for adverse drug reactions till September 2. However, most people find that their period returns to normal the following cycleand, importantly, there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility, Male said.
Most people find that their period returns to normal the following cycleand, importantly, there is no evidence that Covid-19 vaccination adversely affects fertility, Male said. | Photo by Hakan Nural on Unsplash
The MHRA states that its surveillance data does not support a link between changes to menstrual periods and Covid-19 vaccines, since the number of reports is low in relation to both the number of people vaccinated and the prevalence of menstrual disorders generally. However, the way in which data is collected makes firm conclusions difficult, Male noted.
She argued that approaches better equipped to compare rates of menstrual changes in vaccinated versus unvaccinated populations are needed, and pointed to the study that the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has undertaken. Indeed, the menstrual cycle may be affected by the body's immune response to the virus itself, with one study showing menstrual disruption in around a quarter of women infected with SARS-CoV2.
If a link between vaccination and menstrual changes is confirmed, this will allow individuals seeking vaccination to plan in advance for potentially altered cycles, Male contended. In the meantime, clinicians must encourage their patients to report any changes to periods or unexpected vaginal bleeding after vaccination. And anyone reporting a change in periods persisting over a number of cycles, or new vaginal bleeding after the menopause, should be managed according to the usual clinical guidelines for these conditions, she suggested. (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: vaccine, menstrual cycle, period, covid, women, health