It strikes me as really infuriating that with all the shit that women have to go through, we still often have to go out of our way to demand respect.
Take the monthly menstrual cycle, for example. Bleeding out of your reproductive organ is not exactly a blissful experience. On top of the logistics associated with containing a stream of blood from seeping out of your body (really not a small feat, if you ask me), you also have to deal with 1) cramps that make moving any muscle in your body excruciating 2) extreme exhaustion that feels like you’re cloaked with a heavy, wet blanket, and that makes the thought of doing anything other than remaining horizontal utterly arduous, 3) sensations and feelings of fullness and gas that make you feel like a fat bloated blob of space taking up too much room. But we’re told that this is just a part of what it means to be a “woman.” The fact that this is seen as a normal, suck-it-up experience of being a female (if you’re lucky enough to be healthy) just seems really unjust to me.
Lack of compassion withstanding, society also repeatedly pelts us with how unacceptable and disgusting this monthly function is. Just look at all the jokes there are about PMS and “time of the month”; about crazy women on their periods bitching at innocent, bewildered-looking men. “You must be on your period!” us women are often told when we express even a slight twinge of negative emotions. Like we don’t already have enough to be upset about. Like it’s wrong to feel any emotions other than shiny happiness and sparkling joy. Like somehow we need to justify our existence.
Even the advertising industry sends us the message that our “time of the month” is some dirty little secret that we must simultaneously deal with and hide about. Look at how fun and cute this tampon is! How discreet! Who knew such a sleek and adorable little thing really is a superior blood-flow stopping machine?!
Now that you have an idea of what it’s like to be a woman, maybe you could stop asking me why I’m so angry. Stop indirectly judging and condemning my anger as unacceptable. Unless you have personal experience dealing with having to “plug it up” in a society where the idea of menstrual cycle still elicits groans of disgust from grown men and looks of embarrassment and discomfort from adult women, maybe you should just patiently let me express my indignation and rage during this special time of the month. If you are a male, you might also want to stop to appreciate how, just by possessing different sexual organs, you are spared from having to deal with this bloody mess, and how it might not be too far-reaching to give women some respect simply for the shit they have to go through to exist in this world.
But maybe I am just having some severe mood swings. Maybe these intense feelings of burning wrath really are just the consequences of losing a bit too much blood (I am anemic, after all), likely exacerbated by a chronic lack of sleep (did I mention I was supposed to be finishing my dissertation?) Regardless, don’t expect to plug this one up.