I had talked about periods and mensuration on this post before.
Today I wanted to talk about it again because I read this in the news. I am sure most of you have already read it but for those who haven’t here it is.
Richard Neill complained on Facebook about pad-maker Bodyform; that he felt mislead by their years of advertising about periods. That, in fact, the company had lied to him about menstruation. He had believed that a woman’s period was a fun and exciting experience, thanks to advertising conventions that have become a genre all of their own.
Here are his exact words, “’Hi, as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years.As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things, I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding, rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings!! Dam my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen …..you lied !!. There was no joy, no extreme sports, no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving, gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform, you crafty bugger’.
I couldn’t stop laughing while reading it but I do understand where he is coming from. Even in this 21st century, TV advertisers are scared to say period or menstruation and use words like “that time of the month” so of course men will have no idea until they have to deal with it.
Look at some of the ads below.
When I was growing up, period or menstruation was a taboo subject. Until I had my own period, I really didn’t know what it really meant. There was a little information in Sex Ed class but definitely not enough information. I knew women get period for 4 days every month from my mum and aunties but no one told me what it really is or what to expect.
The first time when I had my period, a ceremony was performed called Bahra which I have described in my post here. I had been to Bahra ceremony before but it was all about fun, party and gifts and nothing about period.
In the Hindu faith, women are prohibited from participating in normal day-today life while menstruating. She must be “purified” on the fourth day before she is allowed to resume her normal chores. I have seen all the female member of my family following this rule while growing up.
This follows description in Puranas (Hindu holy book) about Indra’s ‘Brahmahatya’ (act of killing of Brahmin) and the mitigation of the sin. Part of this sin was taken by women and is considered to be active during menstrual period. Therefore menstruating woman are forbidden from performing any rituals and contact with menstruating woman is also forbidden (with exception of small children).
For this reason they forbid women from entering a temple to worship or do any other religions acts when they are on their period, because they are considered “impure” at that time of the month.
I get this logic as in the olden days as there was issues with hygiene as there were no sanitary napkins or tampons available but it is bit silly to follow nowadays as well.
Even in Australia, in a room full of people, when I said, “I am having such a bad day because I am having my period.” I can see so many discomforted faces. Menstruation is completely normal and natural but no only men but women are also uncomfortable to talk about it.
I wonder why they forget that a woman getting her period means she is capable of having children which is the nature of life.
The worst thing is that lots of people ignore that there is PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) when women has some emotional reaction. It is not lazy or crazy but that women’s body does go through the process that makes her more emotional. I know in some women it is higher than other but deal with it every one and accept the facts.
Imagine if menstruation was for men and not for women. Do you think the same rule would have applied in this society? I am sure it would have been glorified instead of hidden.
Gloria Steinem wrote about what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not during the 1970s on this topic and I couldn’t say it any better. 🙂
- Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, worthy, masculine event.
- Men would brag about how long and how much.
- Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day.
- To prevent monthly work loss among the powerful, Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea. Doctors would research little about heart attacks, from which men would be hormonally protected, but everything about cramps.
- Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of such commercial brands as Paul Newman Tampons, Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-Dope Pads, John Wayne Maxi Pads, and Joe Namath Jock Shields- “For Those Light Bachelor Days.”
- Statistical surveys would show that men did better in sports and won more Olympic medals during their periods.
- Generals, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation (“men-struation”) as proof that only men could serve God and country in combat (“You have to give blood to take blood”), occupy high political office (“Can women be properly fierce without a monthly cycle governed by the planet Mars?”), be priests, ministers, God Himself (“He gave this blood for our sins”), or rabbis (“Without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean”).
- Male liberals and radicals, however, would insist that women are equal, just different; and that any woman could join their ranks if only she were willing to recognize the primacy of menstrual rights (“Everything else is a single issue”) or self-inflict a major wound every month (“You must give blood for the revolution”).
- Street guys would invent slang (“He’s a three-pad man”) and “give fives” on the corner with some exchange like, “Man you looking good!”
- “Yeah, man, I’m on the rag!”
- TV shows would treat the subject openly. (Happy Days: Richie and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that he is still “The Fonz,” though he has missed two periods in a row. Hill Street Blues: The whole precinct hits the same cycle.) So would newspapers. (Summer Shark Scare Threatens Menstruating Men. Judge Cites Monthlies In Pardoning Rapist.) And so would movies. (Newman and Redford in Blood Brothers!)
- Men would convince women that sex was more pleasurable at “that time of the month.” Lesbians would be said to fear blood and therefore life itself, though all they needed was a good menstruating man.