Lately I have been having all sorts of interesting conversations about periods. And before guys say “Better skip this one”, know this: this blog entry is for YOU most of all. You’ll be breaking my precious blogger heart if you skip it.
We all – people with periods and without – have crazy, uninformed, fairly ridiculous ideas about menstruation. Many we inherit from our parents, from text book subtleties, from our own experiences, from the media, from common hear-say even.
From my beautiful (and usually decently liberal) mother I learned that one must hide every evidence that we are going through it. One must shower more than regularly because periods mean you’re dirty. One must not move much to prevent an accident – if anyone sees blood it is the end of our femininity. From my dad I learned that men do not like when we talk about our periods in front of them or to them – and I wonder, do they stop speaking about something when we tell them we don’t like it? HA! I am hilarious, am I not? I learned that if they ever hear us talking about periods they will pretend they didn’t, you know, to help us (what ever would we do without them, ladies?) preserve our dignity, our femininity.. oh I am seeing that word a lot in regards to menstruation! But I must ask myself and others, what is more feminine than a cycle that connects us with the moon and with all of nature, with our entire body and homeostasis, that renews our bodies to the possibility of creating life?
From my text books I learnt that menstruation is a waste, the process of a body disencouraged because you did not fertilize it – ¡and all to pursue ridiculous nonsense like a career, independence, travel, a social life, all those guys’ stuff!
Do note that, by those same standards and same discourse of “waste of potential babies”, both masturbation, oral sex and anal sex are the most CATASTROPHIC WASTE in men – billions of potential babies lost to a night of porn! But no no no, that is certainly not the same, ladies. Why? Because baby Jesus is male, not female. Now shush and make me some babiez.
From the media I learned that menstrual blood is dirty (why else would they use blue water instead of red water in ads for pads?), that you must hide it very well, that we are weaker for it, that it is better to stay in if you’re in your period – granting patriarchy a week of easy policing of our sexuality, yay! That we must be aware of all the products (except the Diva Cup, that shit’s socialist and feminist and evil) you must buy to control the smell, the amount, the hormones, the invisibility, and to make your period more bearable. Capitalism comes to save the day with a million artifices for stuff YOUR BODY ALREADY NATURALLY DOES AND IT HAS ITS DARNED REASON TO WORK AS IT DOES.
I personally find it ridiculous to throw away my money into the overflowing (haha! so many puns) pockets of a few transnational CEO idiots for products that I do not need and that I will then need to hide from them because ew, they do not want to see them, for sure.
I have wondered, time after time, what is dirty about menstruation, for Jimi’s sake?
That it is blood? Well we may not like blood, but we don’t run frantically to hide the shame when we scrape our knees or cut our fingers, now, do we?
That it is a fluid? I can think of equally “gross” fluids that some type of individuals go as far as expect us to swallow. No, I don’t beat around the bush, nope. Oops.
That it smells disgusting? First of all, refer to the previous question, and smell yours. Also, it smells iron-y. Deal.
That it comes from ‘down there’? For one, we, too, come from ‘down there’. Second, if you are a straight cis-guy and are scared of vaginas, you have bigger problems than periods. Third, yeah, refer to previous questions, and note that we at least have different tubes for stuff.
I have also had conversations about conversations about periods (you read right). And it’s not that I love talking about periods, but I hate that society mandates that you absolutely should not speak of it. It is something that happens to about 50% of the population. We should be able to talk about it freely. And in this I include any and every topic related to sexuality, to the body (both male and female). Bodies are not shameful, and we should feel more comfortable talking about them, in order to be more comfortable WITH THEM as well.
These and other really silly ideas about menstruation are further sexist justifications to police, control and manage the bodies of people with vaginas, to stigmatize them, to dominate them. Just like any othe process, function or part of the human body, it is nothing inappropriate, or dirty, or horrible. It is not a natural disaster: it is a needed cycle, like breathing and releasing hormones and digesting food.
Furthermore, I have realized that the more freely I talk about it, the more I go with the flow (pun intended, of course) about it all and the more I accept my hormonal changes, my cycle, my body, the less it bothers me. I just take it all in. Periods can be anything from a reminder that you are healthy, that you have the potential to create life (and occasionally a small celebration that nothing unwanted is coming your way) and that you’re young and very much alive, to a beautiful, logical rhythm which, if you follow it and not resist it, you can learn from it and from yourself in the process.
I leave you, finally, with some awesome stuff from around the interweb, so that we stop being so afraid of it and start getting to knowing ourselves and each other better.