WARNING: The subject of this post is female menstruation. Should you be a person of either gender that gets squeamish over such words as period, blood, uterus, menstrual cycle, etc., may I suggest one or more of the following:
-Don’t read this post.
-Take an online course in female biology.
-Consider “switching teams”… you know what I mean.
-Don’t read this post.
Ok, now… have the weak among us left the room? Good. Let’s move on.
Many of us women have been raised to feel shame about our bodies in various ways. We are either too heavy, too thin, our boobs are too small, our butts are too big, our hair is always the wrong color, we aren’t pretty enough, and we don’t tan well. We hear things like “thunder thighs”, “double bagger”, “well, she has a pretty face”. We constantly compare ourselves and are compared to Hollywood and Sports Illustrated’s version of acceptable beauty… beauty that tends to be the result of thoroughbred racehorse genetics and a gifted plastic surgeon.
A lot of those things are out of our control, right ladies? For example, no amount of spin classes and hot yoga will undo the breeding hips I inherited from my grandmother, and dying my hair from naturally brunette to platinum blonde only scared the living hell out of my kid (momma is still sorry, baby). And while I’m certain we would all love to be the perfect 34D, well, life just don’t work like that. How many of you men are sporting a nice 8.5 inches of ideal girth that’s not bent, goofy looking, or unreliable, I wonder? Let’s see a show of hands…
Most of these “hot or not” assessments are done by balding, middle aged men with face-melting halitosis, driving old Chevy Malibus, and packing a paunch that would rival what my belly looked like at about the 7 month mark, I might add. Mmmmmmmm…. so sexy. No wonder his standards are so high!
But what really gets me…what really chaps the big ass that matches my breeding hips?
Say it with me, people: PERIOD, PERIOD, PERIOD. See? You didn’t vaporize after all.
We are made to feel somehow defective or burdensome because our bodies go rogue once a month whether we like it or not and usually at the most inconvenient time imaginable. We give it James Bond-like code names such as “The Curse” or “Little Friend”. We feel compelled to be sneaky with our tampons.. hiding them up sleeves, in pockets, in our bras. We get hyper conscious of every trip to the bathroom, discreetly wrapping all of the bloody evidence in half a roll of Charmin, climbing out the window, shimmying down the drain pipe in order to dispose of it in a public trash can making sure no one we know is within eye shot, and stealthily making our way back. Don’t believe me? Google “hide tampon”. There are websites with helpful hints on how to disguise something that you can’t help about your bodies, girls! Isn’t that encouraging?
We hide that the REAL reason we are bitchy is because our cramps are slaying us from the inside out and that we’d really like you to gut us like a fish and extract the offending organ, pretty please with dark chocolate Haagen Dazs gelato on top?
Even buying feminine hygiene products is an exercise in biology shame. You’ll die before asking your man to pick up a box of Kotex on his way home as he will react with disbelief if you dare make the request. You can feel the stares in the aisle while you try to predict if this is going to be a gnarly vampirish blood draining week or if you’ll be blessed with a light flow for once. And you always, ALWAYS go to the female checker… but even then, you still flip the box over and try to “accidentally” cover it with your bagged caesar salad and People magazine.
The whole experience sucks donkey balls. Twelve times a year we are forced to believe that we are, well… ICKY.
Being the unorthodox, obnoxious mother that I am, I’ve made a concerted effort to teach my teenage daughter to reject this thinking, to embrace that her body will betray her sensibilities regularly, and that while it’s sort of bullshit that most men will never be stricken with more than jock itch, she has nothing to be ashamed of. I have done a good job… perhaps too good. Let me share with you a few texts between her and I this week as she entertains her favorite Auntie Flow… she tends to type in all caps while having her lady time… pardonez moi, it’s her not me.
Daughter: IM GOING TO FIND A KNIFE AND REMOVE MY UTERUS
Moi: Or maybe just get the Midol and the heating pad?
Daughter: TEARING MY UTERUS OUT AND STABBING IT WITH A KNIFE WOULD FEEL AMAZING
Moi: Have you taken anything?
Daughter: I KEEP SNEEZING AND LEANING OVER AND BACK UP AND ITS LIKE FREAKING NIAGRA FALLS AND NO I HAVENT TAKEN ANYTHING!!!
Moi: Have you inserted a lady stick?
Daughter: YES BUT WE NEED MORE!
Daughter: MUCH MORE!!
Moi: Ok, should I go now? (Are you sensing the desperation here, like I did?)
Daughter: YES. YES PLEASE
Moi: Just the big ass torpedoes or do you want mini vagina mattresses too?
(This seems to have tempered the panic of bleeding to death while supplies are running low as she returns to not textually screaming at me.)
Daughter: i dont like sitting in my own period thank you i’ll go with the torpedoes
Moi: Okie doke, your bloody majesty.
Daughter: rhank you
(Woops, sloppy fingers, kid.. mom can’t help but respond in corresponding Scooby style)
Moi: Rou’re relcome
I could have never been so open with my mother about my menstrual cycle, could you? Maybe the pendulum has swung too far with my kid but I would much rather endure hearing the gory details than for her to feel embarrassed and secretive like there’s something faulty in her. All of it has to stop. The body shame placed on girls and women is unacceptable but especially raising our daughters to feel negatively about a physical process that can’t be controlled.
People… DON’T FEAR THE FLOW!
Girls, rise up and proudly tell your teacher you need to use the restroom to change your tampon… I PROMISE they will not argue!
Men, march fearless through that Costco with the commercial size crate of sanitary pads… women will look at you like you are the sexiest thing since Magic Mike!
Ladies, boldly and shamelessly tell your man “No sex tonight, baby, I am riding the red sled and no I won’t go down on you to make up for it because I’ve got nothin’ to make up for…now rub my back, dammit!”
Boys, making a girl feel bad for having her period will provoke an ancient tribal curse on your testicles that will make blue balls and elephantitis feel pleasant… DO NOT TEMPT THE MENSTRUAL GODS! After all, she can’t help it any more than you can help jerking off like a demented monkey.
Shout it with me my sisters…
I AM HAVING MY PERIOD AND IT’S OK! I LOVE MY UTERUS AND MY UTERUS LOVES ME! I HAVE THE RIGHT TO MENSTRUATE WITHOUT JUDGEMENT!
Now go forth and shed that uterine lining with pride, girls, and start a menstruation revolution out there!