Monday, June 10, 2013

On Aunt Flo and Things We're Not Supposed to Talk About

We're going to talk about something that's going to alienate my male readers for a bit.

Periods.

And that is precisely why we're going to talk about them.  Because we don't talk about them.  Because half the world's population has them or has had them.  And they're perfectly natural and normal and, y'know, actually a good thing for your body, and women are expected to treat them like a dirty little secret.

I watched a video the other day about stupid things women have to deal with, and one of the things it mentioned was having to sneak a tampon to the bathroom.  I'll be the first to admit, I'm embarrassed to have to buy "feminine hygiene products"...especially from a male clerk.  But my question becomes why?  Why is there a taboo against a natural, healthy, normal thing?  Just because it's a little gross?  Yeah, well, so are farts, but it's something you can't control and, I've noticed, most guys don't feel bad about doing in public anyway.

Now, I am by no means saying you have to love your period.  Is it a great sign that everything's hunky-dory in your endocrine system?  Absolutely.  In fact, it's a great indicator that you're eating right, your ladybits are all in order, and that you're not too stressed, as any of those can affect the frequency or heaviness of your period.  But, let's be serious, periods can really suck.

Aside from having to spend several days crafting schemes to somehow get everything you need into the bathroom without anyone noticing, there's all the crazy stuff that happens to your body.  I had a (male, obviously) friend once tell me that there has been no medical link found between PMS hormones and mood swings (and that therefore the mood swings are all in your head).

My response was to look him in the eyes and tell him that, even if that were true, there are plenty of not-in-our-head reasons for mood swings on your period.  PMS hormones cause bloating, fatigue, bizarre food cravings, headaches, breast sensitivity, cramps, nausea, and a whole host of unfortunate physical happenings.  So, no, maybe my emotions are not directly impacted by the change in hormones.  But tell me how you feel when you're sore and tired, feeling fat because your clothes don't fit right, and still can't stop yourself from craving potato chips.  Like I said, periods suck.

But just because they suck and are maybe a little bit gross doesn't mean we shouldn't talk about them.  It's just another one of those things we're taught not to talk about because it's not polite -- but then how do you know what a warning sign is for when something isn't right?  Period problems can get really out of hand, and it's important that we be okay enough as a society that when a girl's health is at risk, she isn't ashamed to talk about the fact that it's her time of the month.  Also, it would be nice to not have to bring my purse to the bathroom every day for a week.  Thanks.

Your Friend (the PMS Tiger (great meme, look it up)),
Rachel Leigh

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