Thursday, February 24, 2011

What's Happening, Why Am I Suddenly So Angry?

I think it might be because I've been reading this article in the Daily Fail about wristbands potentially (not) being developed to "let men know" when a woman is suffering PMT. Either that or I better pop out and buy some more tampons.*

Well obviously these items are deeply offensive to women.

Firstly - if women are experiencing depression or mood disorders for whatever reason and want those around them to know - they can tell them (y'know what with us being sentient adult beings and all that...). One would hope they would be treated with sympathy and support.

On a larger scale though - for centuries women have been told that their femininity renders them inferior. We've been assigned everything from "the vapors" and "consumption" to the insistence that we have "feeble minds" and claims that periods render us everything from "unclean" to "incapable of making sushi"(seriously - this is why in Japan sushi chefs are almost all male!).

All of these theories have emerged to be completely false and the notion that women are less capable of managing their emotions during certain times of the month seem likely to hold just as little water. Note that these wristbands have not actually been invented - because a wristband absolutely 100% could never tell what stage a woman's menstrual cycle is at. The suggestion by the company that has raised the idea is that it would respond to subtle temperature changes but fertility testing kits which work based on body temperature take that temperature orally or rectally so you would literally have to stuff your wristband up your arse!!

Instead this story just serves to continue to promote the idea that women's menstrual cycles are the source of some problem and that men need "warning" about the stage of the cycle a woman is in (not mentioning that she may be pre-pubescent, post-menopausal, pregnant, suffering amenorrhea, trans-gendered or for any number of medical reasons, not having periods). Two women a week are murdered in this country by their male partners. Perhaps men should wear wristbands that read "I'm a man, I might attack you"...**

*Yeah, like fuck, we all know I have a Mooncup right?

**Hey trolls - why not quote this sentence out of context and then claim I hate men? Wouldn't that be fun? Try to spend all week doing it so you'll not be bothering me!


Loraine Despres said...

If it were men who menstruated, we women would be told we would be unable to succeed, because we had not been baptized in blood. And not having that monthly pain, we obviously would be too frail and unfit for any of the more interesting occupations.

PJ said...

Intrigued by 'consumption' among your list of feminine ailments: just an old name for TB (from its wasting effect), isn't it? Pretty genuine illness, and non-gender-specific. Not aware of examples of it being attributed to women who didn't actually have it.

Cruella said...

Interesting Philippa - I am no history buff but was under the impression that it may have been used for women who were simply weak/thin (and actually potentially anorexic).

Unknown said...

As a young teenager, I always used to get bothered when my parents tried to dismiss any irritability or unhappiness on my part with 'it's probably just that time of the month'. They meant to be supportive and comforting, but they managed to make me feel as though my emotions had no root in reality - they were the irrational messy product of hormones alone. It also made me feel as though I must be a very sensitive and touchy person, getting upset over the slightest little thing. It took me several years to notice that actually I'm pretty level-headed and cheerful; I don't get ruffled by much. But because I am female, the most loving and well-intentioned people in my life taught me to hold my emotions in suspicion and to treat feelings of frustration and unhappiness (however legitimate) as nothing more than byproducts of a biological process that ought to be soothingly dismissed. Usually my period wasn't even due at the time.

That was when I realised that as a grown woman I was always going to have people trying to pin my emotions down on a monthly calendar, rather than actually engaging with the reasons behind them. Perhaps it is a way of reducing female power. I think so.