Happy International Women’s Day! We Should Celebrate with a PiñataFilled with Tampons Because That Would Be Fun AND Useful. Felicidades.

it was international women’s day this week. apparently it’s a paid national holiday in a bunch of countries.
i find it hard to feel optimistic about how women’s rights are evolving or even indignant about the ways in which women still aren’t treated fairly, equally, or humanly, in the world today. i tend to feel discouraged and sad instead. just sick, ashamed, maybe, and sad. it’s especially easy to feel disheartened right now with the masochistic tidal wave rising in american politics. i hope there’s a lot of strong people reaching out to keep us from being pulled under.
i’m trying to…. (‘sack up’ is the coloquialismi i would normally use here, but as it’s in reference to male genitalia, and i possess female genitalia, i’ll try something different instead)….i’m trying to ‘ovary stomp’ here and instead of just folding to my broken heart over how things are, i am aiming to be one of the strong arms lifting people up out of the water. i feel like there must be ways i can improve how women are viewed/promoted/respected in my home, my work, my community, my state, my country…maybe even my world.
i want to keep establishing and reminding that women have identities outside of the prettiness of our faces, the sexual appreciation of our bodies, the ripeness/emptyness of our wombs….and also outside of who needs us/loves us/uses us. we are more than our bodies and our utility to others. it might sound simple and stupid, but i think we’re still stuck there at this time, in this world. 
i think it’s helpful to keep talking about the normal realities of being a woman. there’s so much to say, and i’ll keep trying to word good about it. maybe if we can normalize and neutralize all the things that make us different than the men who traditionally make the rules and narrate the story, we’ll gain some ground?   

so, i’m thinking about menstruation this week. if you don’t want to talk uterine blood, just flip back to whatever news or gossip you were reading before you started this post. but frankly, it was probably about megyn kelly or planned parenthood, since this is what’s on the country’s mind now, too.  so you may as well stay here, because you can’t get away from it anyway.

i keep an ‘informative’ blog for my work in women’s health where i actually provide authentic clinical data and (shudder) ‘facts’ about ‘things.’ (it’s exhausting not just talking out of my ass like i do here). the topic i covered recently was “normal” menstruation- length of cycle, amount of bleeding, amount of pain, etc. know what’s normal so you can know if yours is abnormal, right?

but it’s one of those topics that is a little uncomfortable for people, so i tried to find some funny quotes or clips to include. i came up with about a million euphemisms (Your period. The Red Menace. The Crimson Tide. Shark Week. On Your Moon. Being On the Rag. The Red Dot Special. Your Course. Aunt Flo. The Curse. The Monthly Gift.  The Monthly Bill. Your Time of the Month. A Friend Coming to Visit, etc) but otherwise there wasn’t much in the way of funny material on the subject.

almost all the jokes and memes about periods are about how bitchy and terrible women get for a week a month and how they can’t/won’t have the intercourses during their “moon time.”

and that lack of good jokes at the expense of menstruation pisses me off  because i think that the more we talk and joke about our own stuff, the more we own and accept it as part of life. so the fact that all the funny out there is kind of written from the perspective of how MEN have to suffer through women’s menses is not so great.

there’s still this generally accepted idea that menstruation is dirty, scary,  embarrassing,  shameful and uncontrollable. and that since it is something women experience (and not men) for a quarter of their months for half of their lives, somehow that makes women dirty, embarrassing, shameful and out of control.

i’ve written on this topic before. and there’s actually a lot in the news right now about how tampons/pads should not be taxed and about how women in third world countries and other places with less privilege are greatly negatively impacted by the lack of resources to keep clean during menstruation. it’s an example of how women are kept different and distanced by the normal functions of our bodies. it’s not a thing we all deal with in society, it’s a ‘women’s issue.’ i call bullshit.

gloria steinen wrote an essay in 1978 “if men could menstruate’ which you can find here: http://www.mylittleredbook.net/imcm_orig.pdf. 

recently, the idea was taken a step further, and with funny videos, here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/28/what-if-men-had-periods. 

(i still don’t have a real computer and so am limping by using an app- sorry i’m not providing easy hyperlinks to these articles, please do copy/paste, i promise they’re worth it)
it does make you think. what about menses is so awful? it’s just part of biology for half the population. is our negative impression of it because of the half of the population that it impacts? hashtag lame and unacceptable.
we have to check our premises. so much of what we understand about how things work is based on assumptions that may be biased-based constructs in the first place.
i’m going to start working on a series of knock knock jokes about feminine hygiene products. you’re welcome, universe. (no, but srsly, if you have ideas, please help. it’s harder than it seems)
happy international women’s day. let’s keep swimming.

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