I’ve noticed an odd kind of censorship in my family. If we’re shopping and my step-dad wants to ask if we need any sanitary pads he’ll ask “Do you need anything from that aisle that I don’t go down?” and if he thinks we’re suffering cramps he’ll ask “Is it the kind of pain I don’t need to know about?” .This goes for all of my family members. The males will try their hardest to avoid having to talk about it, whereas the females will openly discuss it unless there’s a man in the room.
Is this just my family or do other girls/women get it too? Where men are too embarrassed to talk about periods, and women are nice enough to let them avoid it.
And where does it stem from? This is something that happens to over half the world’s population, for about a week, once a month for the majority of their lives. You’d think the general population would be better educated in periods. And therein lies the problem. I think that the main issue here is the segregation of sex education. I’m not sure if it’s the same now, but when I was in school the boys would go in one room to learn about puberty, whilst the girls were kept in another. Meaning that the girls have no idea what’s happening to the boys during puberty and vice versa. But periods aren’t just some intermittent stage of puberty, they continue for most of a woman’s life. And that seems like something that the guys should have been told about.
Instead the boys grow up with the misconception that periods are some terrible thing that can turn a woman crazy for a week every month. Leading to inane comments like “Oh, she must be on her period” any time a woman displays any extreme emotion (a statement which I honestly believe is a suitable provocation for violence).
There’s also the misconception that all women are terrified of blood. However, as pointed out in the Game of Thrones:
I’ve always loved ‘If men could menstruate’ by Gloria Steinem:
“Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, worthy, masculine event:
Men would brag about how long and how much.
Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day.
To prevent monthly work loss among the powerful, Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea. Doctors would research little about heart attacks, from which men would be hormonally protected, but everything about cramps.
Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of such commercial brands as Paul Newman Tampons, Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-Dope Pads, John Wayne Maxi Pads, and Joe Namath Jock Shields- “For Those Light Bachelor Days.”
Statistical surveys would show that men did better in sports and won more Olympic medals during their periods.
Generals, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation (“men-struation”) as proof that only men could serve God and country in combat (“You have to give blood to take blood”), occupy high political office (“Can women be properly fierce without a monthly cycle governed by the planet Mars?”), be priests, ministers, God Himself (“He gave this blood for our sins”), or rabbis (“Without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean”).”
Whereas for women, it’s either censured (like in my family) or made out to be an excuse for irrational female behaviour.
So let me know what you think. Ladies; do the men in your life censor periods the same way mine do? Is it just a cultural thing were men are trained to be terrified of what happens to women’s bodies? Let me know, because I’d love to find out.