There is no such thing as a happy period

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.

 

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25 responses to “There is no such thing as a happy period

  1. Aww man, your post gave me a good laugh but it also had a very poignant message as well, well done! Every man(and prudish woman) should read this 😉

  2. Great Great post indeed…

  3. Very nice writing on a subject that some women (especially men) still feel uncomfortable about.

  4. I hate it! But at least it allowed myths gift of my two children. But the mood sings and pain are miserable. Oh well. 🙂

  5. Gloria Steinam was fantastic with those witful lines. great read and hilarious too.

  6. I also recommend the Red Tent. I come from a family that didn’t explain it and when I got my first period at school, I was unprepared and extremely scared. I kept it a secret because I was afraid that I might be dying. It had been kept such a secret that I didn’t even know it was normal, I just silently suffered and went home, showered, and went to bed to cry and pray. When my mom finally figured out that I was upset (which took her about 2 hours after she’d gotten home from work) she then broke down in tears to tell me that I was finally a woman. I was 11 and didn’t feel like a woman and thought she was crying because something was wrong. She then gave me a box of tampons and a hand mirror, then told me to read the instructions on the box and put me in the bathroom.
    It is very taboo in America too and when it is talked about, its usually with disgust. When I first started dating Shiva, I was shocked that he so openly asked me, so when is your period? I was really shocked and he said, “you know, so I can track it. That way if you PMS and freak out at me, I’ll know why and won’t get mad at you. Plus, I’ll know if you need a little extra sleep or maybe some red meat and less salt. Maybe, I’ll just take you out to eat or cook for you on those days.” I seriously didn’t know what to do with myself and thought Newari men were raised to be the most awesome people on the planet.

    • I have to go and read Red Tent now :).
      I am so glad that Shiva sets such a great example for all the men from Nepal. I am so happy to read that he looks after you and understand what women goes through during this time.

  7. Yup, Gloria on target as usual. If you like reading fiction, one of my favourite books is Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent. I highly recommend.

  8. M, you are raising an important issue. One thing I have noticed lately is that my mother, aunts, sisters, relatives, all seem to be very uncomfortable during periods. They say they have extreme pain.

    Growing up in the village for more than 15 early years, never got to hear about this uncomfort. Has it always been so painful? Or is it that people are talking openly lately??

    May be the things you have mentioned here will help up to a great extent. I do not personally have any suggestions, but do remember Eckhart Tolle saying it [periods] could be a portal to AWAKENING in his book ‘Power of Now’. He recommends becoming very alert and inhabit the body as fully possible before the premenstrual tension.

    He writes “Menstruation can become not only a joyful and fulfilling expression of your womanhood but also a sacred time of transmutation, when you give birth to a new consciousness.” May be worth reading.

    I pray for a comforting period to all women out there!!! SMiles from Kathmandu..

    • Thanks. I know this is women’s issue but it has lots of effect on men as well. I am so glad that there are lots of nice men around who understand this process and look after their women.

      I will find the book you have recommended. Thank you

  9. Haha atta girl! Gloria Steinam rocks. I was in cracks all through :))

  10. haha menstruating men is a funny list, i get very bad cramps during my period and hence there is always one day sick leave in a month…i simply hate it, when the date comes closer …i literally pray that it doesn’t happen when i’m in an odd situation like in a meeting or while traveling. I always keep my anti-cramp medicine handy, menstruating sucks!!!!

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