Saturday, June 18, 2011

ode to aunt flo

so it really bothers me when women talk about their period as "the curse", or talk about how dumb and useless and dirty and horrible it is.
i think it irks me most because it smacks so decidedly of the old misogynistic attitude that there is something dirty about being a woman. i don't like it coming from men, but expect it, but i absolutely can't stand when women give into that thinking.
there is nothing gross about having a period. it is not "dirty". it is not something to be ignored/denied three weeks a month and then bemoaned and cursed the other week. getting a period means that your body is healthy and functioning. it is an affirmation of the beautiful power of reproduction.
yes, sometimes periods are painful. i have endometriosis and used to spend days in bed, fainting, throwing up, when i got my period. i know about the pain. i'm not saying that getting my period is my favorite time of the month. but it is a time that i respect and am thankful for. it is a time every month where my body reminds me of what it is capable of.
and, i found that once i switched to cloth pads and a menstrual cup, i have far shorter and easier periods. apparently a lot of the cramps, itching, and general yucky feeling i used to get during my period was because my body was reacting to the bleach and weird chemicals and plastics in the disposable pads and tampons i was using. the first month that i wasn't using the disposable stuff, my period was suddenly 4 days rather than 7, with slight cramps on the first day rather than doubling-over pain for two or three days. and it's not just me who's found that. the quickest of google searches will give you hundreds of stories of women who thought they had horrible periods and then found out they actually just had horrible pads and tampons.
but i dislike the disposable products for more reason than just their bad effect on my health. i dislike what they say about menstruation. when i use a cloth pad, i have to come into contact with my period, literally. before i used cloth i thought it would be so gross to wash the blood out, because i had really no idea what period blood was like...i'd always just shoved the used pad in the trash as quickly as possible because it was "nasty"(i always made sure to wrap it in layers and layers of toilet paper so no one would know that i did anything as disgusting as menstruate). turns out menstrual blood is no grosser than any other body fluid. i don't freak out about blowing my nose or cleaning a cut or spitting, so why should i freak out about period flow?
the answer is that i thought it was gross because i'd been told it was the disposable pad companies.
the disposable period industry teaches girls from the start of menstruation to be grossed out by their periods, and ashamed. why on earth would they advertise a quiet wrapper for a pad? so none of the other women in the women's restroom will know that you have a properly functioning woman's body? really? getting your period is so shameful and disgusting that even the sound of a pad being unwrapped within earshot of other women is just too humiliating to bear?
give me a break.
it is impossible to think that a period is gross and shameful without thinking, though probably subconsciously, that your body is gross and shameful. getting a period is about as tied to being sexually a woman as it gets. so when you ignore/deny/hide/disdain your period, you are necessarily ignoring/etc part of your very being.
for those who feel that although they are sexually women, they are of the male gender, i can understand this sort of discomfort. but for women who identify as women, it baffles me. well, not totally. i do get why it is...because i did feel that way. if we tell young girls often enough that a period is a curse, they will believe it until they are taught or realize better. i guess what i don't get is why we let our bodies be slandered by corporations trying to make a buck off the backs of our insecurity.
so anyways, i'll be getting my period next week and i will treat its arrival with the honor that my body deserves. i will wear cloth pads that force me to be in contact with and think about my period. i will celebrate the fact that i have a sexually mature, healthy body, capable of performing enormous feats of strength and endurance and bringing life into the world. i will use a heat pack and take an advil, but it won't be because i'm cursed. it will be because anything good is a little hard, and my period is something very good.

1 comment:

  1. Well said sis. And we let corporations make all kinds of money off of our insecurity, vanity, fear, and anything else they can use against us because we are lazy and stupid (in general), and would rather let someone else do our thinking for us.