Via Amanda, ABC wins some sort of record for cramming the greatest amount of anxiety over menstruation possible into a single article. I was honestly shocked to go back up to the byline and discover that the damn thing had been written by a woman.
The curse. Aunt Flo. Riding the Crimson Wave. And, in British-bashing Australia, the red coats are coming! Women across the centuries have had names for their monthly “friend” — some laced with humor and many whispered in tones of taboo.
Quite frankly, The Onion’s euphemisms were better.
I prefer “Falling to the communists”, but that’s just crazy little me, with my having been educated to a high-school level of biology and not projecting some kind of gender blood-magic to my monthly Mudslide in Crotch Canyon. But upon learning that women now have the option of not “Ordering l’Omelette Rouge” (oh man, this is fun!) some people’s minds immediately jumped to the obvious problem:
“There may be important health consequences that we don’t know about,” said Christine L. Hitchcock, an endocrinology researcher at the University of British Columbia. “I don’t think we understand everything that the menstrual cycle does well enough to say with confidence that you can abolish it and not have any consequences.”
I’m just kidding, Susan Donaldson James didn’t have that anywhere in her article. That was already covered by sane publications. Susan has more profound concerns:
It’s unclear whether women will embrace this new pill, which contains the same formulations of estrogen and progestin used for birth control pills for decades, but its arrival marks yet another step toward the blurring of the genders.
As 21st century women dominate the universities and continue to climb the executive ladder, and metro-sexual men explore their feminine side, it’s harder to define what it means to be a woman.
Shit, maybe if we hadn’t encouraged men to exfoliate or use mousse, we’d have enough wiggle room to play around with our “red dollar days.” But we did! We did get that degree and we did take the promotion and our husbands did get their backs waxed, and now woe! Woe befalls those who tamper with the last remaining distinction between men and women!
Look, I know that for some women, this is actually an issue, but it is clearly an individual woman issue, not a social issue. Put two extreme women side by side, one of whom thinks that “serving up the womb steak medium rare” puts her in some sort of life-affirming granola-fuck moon cycle woman thing*, and another that finds “trolling for vampires” to be an absolutely reprehensible experience. Can you tell, just by looking, the difference? Nope, they both look like women to me. Whew! That settles that. Or does it?
Most of us are in the middle, and will choose yay or nay based on how squicky the idea of not “rebooting the Ovarian Operating System” makes us feel. It would help, however, if certain *cough* journalists would refrain from doing this:
Lybrel, manufactured by Wyeth, stops the growth of the uterus, sending it into hibernation.
But other women worry that taking Lybrel is tantamount to tampering with nature, and some doctors have warned that the pill is not 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, particularly for overweight women. Total bleeding stopped in only 80 percent of women in the trials, according to gynecologists. Iron retention can also be a side effect.
“I personally would not opt to take the pill,” said Erin Stahl, 28, an educational administrator in New Jersey. “I think it does seem a wee bit unnatural and physically frightening.
The first is just so inaccurate as to be mind-boggling. Unless it’s not, and my uterus is growing right now, in which case, holy crap! It’s about time someone made something to stop it before it eats my stomach or something. The second is a scare tactic disguised as legit medical information.
And someone please explain to me this complete non-sequitor:
Today, both men and women have different attitudes toward menstruation. Indie rock vocalist Ani DiFranco sings with 21st century attitude about her monthly cycle: “I woke up one morning covered in blood, like a war — like a warning that I live in a breakable takeable body.”
What in the fuck does that first sentence have to do with the rest of the paragraph? Ani DiFranco, as much as I love her, is only one woman. No other women or men are quoted at all, but hey, Ani provides a shocking quote, so maybe no one will notice, right?
So what stereotypes have we had so far? Let’s see, the ball-buster, the young idealist, the nervous woman…what’s left? Oh yeah, the really messed up:
“Someone else might choose to do this because she doesn’t want to menstruate because it makes her feel unfeminine,” (emphasis mine)
I don’t enjoy “playing banjo in Sgt. Zygote’s Ragtime Band” all that much, but it sure as hell ain’t because it makes me feel ‘unfeminine.’ Although it was kind of neat that Susan began this article tsk-tsking over how failing to “fly the red flag” might make us less of women, and ends with a quote about a hypothetical woman who would chose to stop that filthy, shameful cunt bleeding in order to feel more feminine. It’s a circle of misogyny so perfect it makes a grown woman weep.
*This is going to get me flamed with a vengance, I can just tell.