I promised myself I wouldn’t do this. When I started blogging, I thought, “No boobs. No Vaginas, Nats.” You’ll never know who’s going to read what you write here. Mostly it’ll be your Mom, her friends and some very loyal stragglers we like to refer to as ‘our people’. But, you never know… some writerly person may take a random click on your website, and what would they find? Please, have some dignity…. No PMS rants.
Last week I had a couple of days were self-preservation did its thing. Even though I was grumpier than God, I stayed clear of sounding off. I rose above injustice.
This morning, goaded by the ten-year-old male who lives in my house, I canny do it! You is smart, you is kind, you is important, I’ve been telling myself for the past hour. But no, NO! The injustice cannot go unaddressed.
Last night, Mike and Jude went off to watch Wonder Woman. Did Morgan and I want to go along? Well, no… we know the whole story already: Women kick arse. Men are surprised by that. Women save the day. The end. Nothin’ new to us.
Mike came back at 10 pm, all smug, “there, I exposed your son to some women power. Are you satisfied now?” He then flashed an article headline to me— How to raise a feminist son— and said, I’d read it if it wasn’t so offensive.
As you can see, feminism is a sore point in our house. While Mike believes it’s a cause that has been long won, and no longer relevant, I (though not quite ready to don a pussy hat) most definitely am schooling both my children in the plight of women around the world.
This morning, even after spending two hours with his father being ‘exposed’ to kick-ass chicks, Jude lacked enlightenment: why are you so grumpy this morning mom? Why does Morgan take so long getting ready in the morning? Why is the bathroom floor always soaked after she baths? Look at me, bam- dressed, bam- teeth brushed, bam- school bag packed. So easy. Little shit!
The question I’ve been asking myself is, how do I give Jude an experiential understanding of what it’s like to be a female? It’s no good simply explaining, “girls have more to do.” Men don’t believe that; they think it’s a choice women make.
When I explained menstruation to Jude, I went a little ‘psycho-mommy’ on him. There was lots of blood in the explanation. I went full frontal, gory detail on his ass. “Sick!” he said, “every single month, forever?” Yes, forever and ever, I said (I’ll leave menopause for another day.)
And still, I feel I have not educated him. The truth is, the injustice of menstruation enrages me every single month. When I’m standing talking to a man, and my tampon stops doing its job at that precise moment, I want to stop him, and say, “Wait. I want you to be aware that at this moment I’m leaking a thick red fluid from my nether region. This may or may not be making a patch of wetness that you’ll be able to see. While you’re talking, my uterus has been contracting violently, and the pain is so intense, I have goosebumps down my back, and the hair on my face is standing up. But let’s keep chatting; you have important things to say.”
Men have no clue. NO CLUE. Menstruation is disgusting, and painful and inconvenient. It’s not the time of the month when women get irrational. Being pissed off during your period is COMPLETELY RATIONAL! Men are almost incapacitated when they get a little heat rash down by their Johnnies. They walk around with their legs open, and they can’t function properly. Pathetic!
There is a man who gets my vote as feminist of the year, every year. His name is, Arunachalam Muruganantham. This man, who lives in rural India, discovered that his young wife was using old rags during her period. When he asked her why she was not buying sanitary napkins, she replied that if she (or any of the women she knew) bought pads, the money would have to come out of their milk budget. Affordability was the issue. So what this genius went about creating, was a small, table top machine that any woman could build in order to make herself inexpensive sanitary napkins.
The most incredible part of the story is not what he created (cheap pads) or that he open sourced his invention. The fact is, during the research phase, he decided to wear the sanitary napkin himself for a week. He strapped a bag of animal blood to his crotch. It had a tube connected to a release pump, which excreted small amounts of blood all day. He went about with his bloodied undies for five days!! His account of that time is hilarious. After a week, he decided he was going to start a sanitary napkin revolution. And so he did.
This man didn’t settle for a little ‘mansplanation’ of why sanitary pads were needed. He went ‘full experience’ in India, and took down a wall of misunderstanding. I love him. What a man.
I’ve been thinking of insisting, Mike and Jude wear a bag of sheep’s blood for a week. It would be a great way to create empathy and understanding, don’t you think? Alas, I think I would be reported for abuse if I did that to my son. More’s the pity.
Throughout history, women have been dealt a raw deal. Not only with regards to human rights but also with all the ‘extra’ stuff. We’re required to carry the burden of extras a lot: corsets, bras, big-ass uncomfortable dresses, high heels, make-up, hair dying, eyebrow tweezing, leg/pit shaving… and tampons, and pads, and diva cups. BLOODY HELL!
The injustice makes me see red. Men don’t have anything that equates to the burden of dealing with the ‘extras’. They most definitely don’t have a clue what it’s like to be a woman. Going to watch Wonder Woman is not enlightenment. It’s just another way for men to see women dressing in uncomfortable clothes, getting on with the business of getting shit done. Same old, same old.
Men don’t like it when females go on about menstruation; it’s natural, just get on with it, they think. Well, no. Not today, Sonny. I’m here to tell you that just because it’s not visible to you, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. I’ll use my PMS to educate, ’cause that’s the kind of kick-ass chick I am.