(HT to the wonderful EK McAlpine who has been ranting about this on twitter with me forming angry ideas @whatkatie_did)
Hello. My name’s Kate, and I fucking hate my period.
This shouldn’t be controversial. My period fucking sucks. I’m being tested for endometriosis in the next few weeks, as my periods are heavier than seems possible, and I am in agonising pain that, on the first day, will make me pass out without codeine. That pain comes and goes throughout the next ten days. I spend all my time in those ten days dosed on varying levels of painkiller just to act like a normal human being. Throughout the rest of the month I get recurring pain once every few days, a determined ache in the base of my spine just trying to stop me being productive half the time.
It’s probably alright if I hate my period, because that fucker hates me right back.
NOW. This is a perfectly acceptable opinion, and one I have seen shared everywhere I go. Quite apart from everything else, I find my period a massive inconvenience. I have to carry sanitary items around everywhere, every bathroom break takes longer, and whilst I have no problem with period sex, it requires a great deal more clean-up. There is literally nothing I enjoy or am even neutral about in the process. I hate it.
Unfortunately, I have seen a massive rise in the wishy-washy, dancing around a classroom chanting kind of hippy beliefs that piss me right off, about how periods are beautiful and you should enjoy your flow as a woman and aaahhh you’re all part of the ocean and the moon and isn’t it glorious? Aren’t you grateful?! *waves arms around*
No, you irritatingly cheerful hippy wanker. Stop your fucking dancing and get a less whimsical voice. No, I’m not, and I shouldn’t have to be. Let’s start with grateful, shall we? What a word.
The point that one should be grateful for having something that others don’t is tinged with an attempt to police every woman’s reaction to herself, and it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I should never be told to grit my teeth and enjoy what other people can’t. I get this a lot when specifically discussing anorexia nervosa sufferers, many of whose menstrual cycles are stopped indefinitely by the illness, and I managed to edge through without losing them. You know what? The fact that they can’t do something I can when they want to is shit. And the fact that I don’t like it is also shit. THERE ARE NOT SCALES OF SHIT.
(Quite apart from this, I’m not sure I’ve ever met someone who wished they had periods specifically, but rather the ability to bear children. If you feel differently to this I would be really, really interested to hear from you.)
Next on my list of pet hates from fucking hippies is the “try-some-homeopathy” as a way to allieviate the struggle of your period. NO. STOP PRANCING AROUND MOTHER EARTH AND LISTEN TO ME. I am in medical pain. I need medicine. And no, I’m not being gifted by Mother Nature or Gaia or any other shit. This is just what happens, and if I find it to be a load of sweaty bollocks, then a load of sweaty bollocks it is. The medical industry hasn’t made me feel like that. My uterus has.
On the flipside, by the way, there are an alarming number of people in this crowd who go the complete opposite way and say that periods are something to be grateful for, because they come with the gift of childbearing. The ability to bear children is also not a gift, for reference. It is something that some people can do and some can’t. No one gets to tell any women that their bodies are designed for a specific purpose. And the whole Sin of Eve thing is getting really fucking old.
Furthermore, this edges dangerously into the territory of new beauty politics, which is all a crock of shit. The whole basis behind the “every body is beautiful” claims is entrenched in patriarchy. You know what? Periods aren’t beautiful. They’re gross. Like other bodily processes. Does that mean I should be ashamed of them? No more than the fact that I sneeze sometimes, or that I generate piss. But also no prouder than I am of these. Something doesn’t have to be beautiful to be worthwhile. I saw a blog on this where they talked about keeping their mooncup equivalents and using them to paint with to dispel the “gross” air. NO. THAT’S STILL GROSS. LIKE PAINTING WITH SHIT. OR EARWAX.
It’s all about holding women up to an unnatural standard. “Periods are beautiful!” is the menstrual equivalent of “Childbirth is a miracle!”. Well, no. Childbirth is icky. It’s all shite and blood and pain. The reason we’re told childbirth is this magical affair is because women are this magical, no hair out of place, stylised wonder. There can’t be an element of femininity that isn’t glamorous and yet is still feminine. That would shake society to its core.
This isn’t self-loathing, or hating my own womanhood. I am viciously proud of my womanhood. But that doesn’t mean I have to take a bunch of stuff that isn’t awesome about being a woman and pretend it is. You don’t get to tell me how I feel about anything, PARTICULARLY my vag and what it does on its off days. That’s my business entirely.
SO, Hippies. You go and dance around a tree and paint love hearts on it with your vag blood. I’m going to stay here and complain loudly and unashamedly about how much this sucks and how gross you people are, and the next one of you to suggest to me that I’m not embracing my femininity is getting punched in the jaw.