Guys, Men: first of all, let me say this:
It’s ok if you don’t want to fuck us on our periods. It’s ok, it can be messy and some people just don’t like seeing blood. It’s alright. Honest.
The first ever argument I had with what ended up a very long-term boyfriend was before we ever had sex. It was cause I had told him I was on my period (cramps or whatever) a couple of days before (as you do, when you hardly know someone and just you know, kissed once weeks earlier…erm, ok, maybe that’s just me) and so he asked as we were about to get down, whether I was still on it. I –drunk as a skunk at this point- totally flipped and shouted: ‘Yeah, cause its totally gross, isn’t it?! I’m sorry that I’m a woman! I apologize for bleeding once a month!’
I overreacted, obviously, and then I just said…’Erm, nah its almost over , it’s fine’ when I noticed he wasn’t an asshole or grossed out but just asked and I was just really drunk. And we had a wonderful, wonderful time, period or no.
Back to my point… Or more like my disclaimer: It’s Ok. It’s not a big deal if you opt out. But here is the clincher: Do not treat us as if we’re contaminated, filthy beings when that time of the month strikes.
Muslim women aren’t allowed near a mosque when they are menstruating, in fact, many are banished completely to their homes/a certain ‘menstruation’ room. They aren’t allowed to prepare/touch food and other things.
Quick anecdotal evidence that got me onto this topic today: Apparently, from a very reliable source, some men do not touch women when menstruating. This is weird. Maybe they will hug their mothers, sisters and the Madonna/pure (in their oh-so-convenient-madonna/whore complex) wife when menstruating…but not their sexual playthings/flings/girls they are having affairs with.
I’m talking plural here because, told to me in confidence, although this is the first time I’ve heard of this behavior in European/Western/non-religious/non-tribal circumstances, I somehow doubt that in this context a lack of –abover-the-belt-affection is a first time occurrence in the history of time. Why do I believe that?
Because the message of our periods as something to hide and be ashamed of and as dirty is everywhere. If you haven’t noticed it girls, that’s too bad. I hope it’s not ‘cause the message has become so internalized that it’s just too late.
Picture the scene (if you watch TV in the UK then you must surely remember this idiotic TV ad from a few years back): A woman is being picked up by her date, who is waiting in her flat’s living room while she’s getting ready in the bathroom . He sees a little plastic wrapped thingy and asks her ‘Hey X, is it ok if I have one of your sweets?’ She looks quizzically at herself in the mirror and then realizes he is talking about one of her proudly (erm, yeah, actually, not so proudly, but cleverly disguised!) displayed tampax mini tiny tampons which are apparently so inconspicuous they are mistaken by the funny little menz in our lives as sweeeets! Awww, funny! Cute! …and most of all the message: ‘Phew, Thank God that he didn’t realize I am a biologically capable of menstruating and need tampons! That would have been awfully embarrassing! What clever Tampax people! They fit in my womanly tiny stupid ugly-ass handbag AND they disguise as sweets!’ I can’t quite recall but I think she comes out looking super hot and when flouncing away on her date, arm in arm with the feckless man in her life who is oblivious to her monthly dirty-bloodyness, turns to the camera and winks (right? Oh, Clever, cleverness!).
What about the one that takes away ‘all those nasty smells’ and other such completely embarrassing side effects of menstruation? Clever, clever… we womenz must stick together and purchase ridiculously overpriced ‘period management’ thingies cleverly disguising the fact that we become smelly, bleeding lepers a few days a month! GROSS!
I could go on…No really, I could. See, this book I read made me all aware of stupidity related to the hush-hush nature of menstruation, and its antidote in the Radical Menstruation Feminist movement (yes, some such thing exists, and I think that’s awesome: http://elevatedifference.com/review/new-blood-third-wave-feminism-and-politics-menstruation) .
Trying hard not to sound like a radical menstruating hippie moon-tent worshipping feminist, I must confess I get bloody (hah, see what I did there) angry when see all kinds of stuff about the ‘grossness’ of using a menstrual cup (“…but that means you …erm…have to like…touch yourself…and see your own blood…GROSS!” ) and all things related to ‘HILARIOUS’ hormonal side-effects of menstruation. To elaborate the latter, I have to admit I watched an American show called ‘Mike and Molly’, a sort of run-of-the-mill, pretty basic humour sitcom. I think I sometimes watch it cause they are both overweight and I like to think that there is mainstream-love for those of us that don’t have a body like Jennifer Aniston (oh, sorry, I meant ‘Rachel Green’) and cause I think the actress that plays Molly is really funny.
The episode in question is one in which a whole 5 minutes or so of canned laughter are dedicated to a bunch of old ‘chocolate and midol’ jokes (midol is the brand name of a muscle relaxer)…you know the ones…’uh oh, watch out she on her PERIOD! All she wants to do is be irrational, shouty and eat chocolate. Ha Ha.’ Erm, yeah. I don’t expect much from that particular show but I’m sure we’ve all watched one or two sitcoms with the same boring PMS-related jokes crap.
And that, and the ‘disgusting nature’ of our menstruation as portrayed by the femCAre industry (Tampons, Pads whathaveyou) coupled with the anecdote I heard today, got my back up enough to write the following:
Your mothers bled and many endured horrendous pains and hormonal fluctuations once a month from the age of ca. 13 til let’s say 55 (on average). You do the math. I’m not very good at it.
Why does this matter? If she would have decided that she couldn’t be bothered with the hassle, she would have gotten rid of her uterus in some way and you would not be alive today.
Think about that one before the thought crosses your mind that periods are gross (and women on their periods ‘dirty’ by extension) , before you think really stupid jokes are funny only on the merit that you also know some ‘crazy womenz that go all crazy when on their period and just HAVE to eat chocolate and take painkillers for their nausea-inducing cramps’ and that we shouldn’t talk about things like this in a public forum (I’m looking at you, TMI( ‘too much information’)-comments on my status a year or so back that proudly exclaimed ‘my mooncup finally arrived!’ Dude, it’s not like I described in detail what my period’s consistency was or details of other itimate bodily functions.)
For some comic relief on the advertising-to-women-stupidity, watch some ‘Target Women’ by this hilarious comedienne, Sarah Haskins on Current TV: http://current.com/shows/infomania/target-women/
The ‘Lady Garden’ episode is genius and is all over that ‘don’t talk about lady parts’ shit.