It’s that time of the month again. You know what I mean. It’s that magical, sacred week when I scream my love of womanhood and celebrate just how amazing it is to be a woman. I stand tall and proud and proclaim to the world, “I am menstruating!” What a fantastic miracle of the human body.
Ah who am I kidding? I hate it.
Over the past few years I gave noticed a rush in ‘period pride’. Women have been popping their heads out of the woodwork informing us that we must shed the stigmas of the past and embrace our uniqueness. We’ve been brainwashed into believing our periods are disgusting and shameful. There are many cases in history where this is quite evident of course.
“it’s in the Bible (just check Leviticus), it’s part of Islam and orthodox Judaism, and even as recently as the 1950s, scientists from Harvard conducted studies to see whether or not menstrual blood was poisonous (it’s totally not, btw).” (Stein, Elissa and Kim, Susan. ‘Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation’. )
So maybe it really is just brainwashing. Maybe it’s the advertisements on television that promote pads and tampons with phrases like ‘discreet, easy to hide etc’ that create this shame. Perhaps it is simply that we are not encouraged to talk about menstruation. With all these jumping forward, screaming at us to embrace our periods, I still can’t quite jump on the ‘yay for periods train.’
Germaine Greer, a noted feminist and author suggested that women often contemplated what their menstrual blood may taste like in ‘The Female Eunuch’. She wrote, “If it makes you sick you’ve got a long way to go, baby.” I guess I still have a long way to go then, because I have very little interest in tasting my menstrual blood. I have very little interest in even seeing it.
Is it the stigma that society has enforced upon me that makes me hate my period? I don’t believe it is. I have never been the kind to try and hide my time of the month. I don’t see the point. No one will know unless I scream it to the heaven’s anyway. Sure I avoid white and skin tight clothing, but I rarely wear them on a regular day. I don’t hit the beach or pools when I’m on my period, but that’s mostly because my insides object to wearing tampons. Honestly, it’s like a ping pong show.
Sex is an issue for me too. I won’t have sex when I am bleeding and yes, it does have everything to do with feeling attractive. When I’m menstruating I feel tired, bloated, my stomach muscles feel like I’ve completed one hell of a core training session without the benefits, I suffer headaches and I feel quite horrible in general. I don’t even want to look at a penis. I want to curl into a ball in a dark room with a heat pack and a cup of tea.
I hate cleaning the blood as well. Blood is a tough stain to remove. If a strategically placed pad stops blood from staining my underwear or expensive bamboo sheets, one of my few luxuries, then I will keep on using them. I’ve heard moon cups are a wonderful alternative, but once again, that requires sticking something up my vagina when all I want to do is tear the damn thing out.
I’m not embarrassed by my periods and I’m not disgusted by them either. I hate having them. I hate that one day of debilitating pain, that day when the Ice Queen cries because my tea went cold, and then the two to three days after of feeling like general crap, but I know I have it easy compared to some women. Whilst I agree that menstruation should not be stigmatized, I do not think I will ever enjoy my periods. I just cannot jump on the “yay train”.