Ah, the menstrual cycle. There are several euphemisms used to describe that monthly bodily function: The Crimson Tide, Aunt Flo, The Rag, and my personal favorite, Shark Week. Love it or hate it a period is with you for a significant amount of your life, and we can all remember the day we started our monthly cycle.
Many of us can also remember the first time we were made to feel ashamed for having a period. For me it was in a biology lab at the tender age of fourteen. As I was reaching into my bag to pull out a text book, one of my pads fell to the floor and landed at the feet of my male lab partner. He looked down and let out a noise of disgust akin to someone having accidentally stepped in feces. I remember that moment of intense embarrassment as I rushed to retrieve the pad and stuff it back into my bag.
It has been many years since I was fourteen but still the male attitude towards a period remains the same. When the subject is brought up by women, men tend to physically cringe and quickly change the topic to something they consider less disgusting. These are the same men who can watch violent action films featuring decapitation, or horror films with torture scenes, play aggressive contact sports and video games, and yet the mere mention of a woman bleeding causes a sense of revulsion that leads to juvenile antics.
The only time a man will bring up the subject of a period is to use it against a woman, to invalidate her, by saying, “Oh, you are being unreasonable and I know why! You must be on your period and therefore unable to function normally.” While I do acknowledge that with a period comes hormonal changes, the male idea of what is actually occurring is grossly misguided.
It does not matter if a woman is being aggressive or having a sensitive moment; the ‘Is it that time of month?’ comment is tossed out as if to say there is something wrong with having a period and being on it at that particular moment. Women have been bleeding once a month since the dawn of time and even during “that time of the month” we have achieved greatness. We have ruled nations and corporations, run households, competed in triathlons, closed six figure business deals, hosted dinner parties and gone about our day to day business without anyone being the wiser of what was going on in our underwear. This idea that women are completely irrational and incapable of operating as they usually do during their menstrual cycle is a myth.
Menstruation is as natural as any other bodily function and gives a feeling of discomfort that is similar to going for an extended of period of time without relieving oneself. Yet, if I was having a disagreement with a male, lacked an adequate rebuttal and responded by asking him if it was “that time of the day?” indicating maybe he should go an defecate and relieve himself of his discomfort he would look at me as if I had taken leave of my senses. So, why are women ridiculed and shamed for something that they can not control and for something that does not control them?
It is an attitude and behavior that needs to stop and one that we women no longer should put up with. Women are human, with a range of emotions that can be affected by numerous things from a lack of sleep, to low blood sugar, to what day of the week it is!
So ladies, the next time a man asks you if it is that time of the month, simply respond with a simple, “You mean that time of the month when my tolerance for your attitude is at an all time low? Then yes, it is that time of the month!”
Featured image via