Thursday, October 16, 2003

The online Museum of Menstruation (and I can't even begin to tell you how relieved I am to find that it's just a clever name for an informational website, and not a real museum) has been collecting responses to the question, "Would you stop menstruating if you could?" The breadth and range of the responses are utterly fascinating.
it's embarrassing. When suddenly you can't go somewhere you were supposed to and are asked why, if you excuse yourself from a commitment and it is a woman, perhaps she doesn't get as severe a period as you, so she assumes you are just being a hypochondriac/sissy who shouldn't let such things interfere with life and activities.

Have fantasized swapping my very fertile system with some poor female who is dying to have crying, money-eating, life-goals killing children, but cannot.

Bleeding once a month lets me know there's nothing wrong. Examples: if I'm stressed, I don't get my period. I didn't get my period once due to precancerous cells on my cervix, or from a very bad infection.

Please don't come up with that stuff about feeling more creative and better connected to Mother Earth and all that bullshit. Sorry for all women that define their relation to nature and spiritual things by bleeding.

Menstruation is a reminder to me that I am an organic creature, a child of Mother Earth. Menstruation is a sign of a healthy womb/healthy body. Menstruation is an emotional and spiritual thing for me. During my period, I am aware of the power I have as a woman to reproduce life and to become a living environment for the growth and development of a human being. To me, menstruation is sacred.

In my world, there were four things that qualified you as an adult; being able to wear makeup, having pierced ears, being baptized, and of course, having a period. I just wanted to feel like a grown woman, and I also wanted the responsibility.

I don't hate my period (usually), or think it's shameful or wrong; I'm fairly open about it, really. I just find it generally useless and pretty irritating. It doesn't have any "effect" on me - I'm not more emotional, more artistic, more connected to femininity. I'm just bleeding from the crotch for seven days.

Why, God? Why does God favor men? Why do women have to deal with all the pain, bloating, moodiness, odor, etc. Men have nothing they have to deal with.

Paging Connie Willis to the red courtesy phone.

More seriously, I'm struck by how few of the responses are as matter-of-fact as the second to last one. Women seem to project all kinds of things onto menstruation, and the factual correctness of the interpretation (no, there's no connection between lunar cycles and menstruation, and certainly menstruating doesn't mean that "nothing's wrong," as the third quote suggests) doesn't even seem to enter into it.