Skip to main content

I Feel Compelled to Discuss Literature and Menstruation

Since I’ve been going through A Tale of Two Cities and changing the genders, I can’t help but keep rolling my eyes at how Lucie (who will become Lucas, I believe) is treated like a child, yet I’m sure that a male character of the same age and experience would be treated like a an adult (a male adult). I keep thinking about how women have been displayed as weak, silly, and unable to face danger, or even mild unpleasantness in literature, and then movies and television, since forever.

And here’s where there might be too much information for some readers: When I last got my period I started thinking about how women have been menstruating since the dawn of humans. Menstruation is messy and can be painful. Anyone who says women can’t handle pain or who accuses them of being squeamish must not be aware of the discomfort, and sometimes pain, of menstruation, not to mention the managing of all the blood. No matter what a woman is doing to manage her period, whether it’s pads, tampons, or cups, there is blood involved.

So, squeamish my ass.

It doesn’t matter if she gets up and goes to work in an office, a school, a factory, with her period or if she goes running or if she parents all day. The next time you’re tempted to think of women as weak or silly, remember that they get their periods. And they go to work, and they workout, and they parent through all the discomfort and blood.

When women are in situations where a man is pressuring them into sexual activity or else he’ll get “blue balls,” I’d like women to start saying, “Well I get menstrual cramps once a month and I manage to survive.”

We still have this societal notion of women being “the weaker sex.” And it’s nonsense. Women shouldn’t have to talk about their periods of they don’t want to. But men are not going to understand what actually goes on down there unless some women do because we’ve relied on pop culture for too long and pop culture hasn’t educated people properly on menstruation.

I’m almost done with my first full edit of A Tale of Cities. I think I might post chapters here on my blog as I finalize each one.


Cousin Pons said…
Very thought provoking Stephanie. It's almost as if menstruation has been swept under the carpet as far as literature is concerned.

Popular posts from this blog

The Acid Bug

My blog will now join the short list of results that pop up when you search for "nairobi fly, acid bug" on Google. Mike was hit by one over the weekend.
The Nairobi fly is a small beetle that does not bite or sting, but based on its nickname acid bug, guess what it does? The insides of the bug are toxic, and if you smack it against your skin the juices cause a burning rash. They are common throughout East and Central Africa, and it's the season for them here in Burundi. We think Mike and his friend rode through a swarm of them on their bikes over the weekend, because his friend has some burn spots, too, and the spots appeared on both of them after they returned from the ride.
We've heard of two remedies to soothe the burning, but Mike hasn't tried either yet. One is to use toothpaste, the old-school white kind, and the other is to cut a potato and rub it on the burn area. Both the toothpaste and the potato are supposed to draw out the acid. If you wash the area imm…

Expectations vs. Limitations

"You'll never be more than alive
You'll never do more than survive
Until you expect it"
~10,000 Maniacs - Few And Far Between

Yes, I've gotten to the point where I'm quoting favorite songs from my teen years for inspiration. (On that same playlist, "I think about the time, I kicked a boy 'til he cried," The Sundays.)

I've been loosely following a training schedule to get ready for my two ten-mile races. This is the first week where I'm feeling the craziness of trying to fit it all in. Mike's out of town and I have some volunteer commitments at Muffin's school. I can only run during her school hours anyway, which limits me if I have any other plans during the day. A couple hours of writing/working is nice to accomplish regularly. I also need to eat, and feed Muffin, which means I need to make time for grocery shopping and cooking. I'll let the dishes and laundry pile up for days, though. It's not as urgent as the eating a…

What Goes Through My Head When I Lock My Door

When I'm alone in our apartment, or alone with Muffin, I lock the deadbolt, day and night. Here is my thought process:

I'm walking down the hallway toward my door. I nod "Hello" in a neighborly way to a man also walking down the hall. I enter my apartment (having had my key ready since I first got into the elevator because women are conditioned from an early age not to be fumbling for their keys in an area where the distraction of doing so might make them vulnerable to an attack) and close the door. I put my hand on the deadbolt but I don't turn it right away.

What if the guy who just walked by thinks I'm locking it because I'm afraid of him? 

It's not about him specifically, though, it's about being a woman alone in an apartment building. 

So what if he's offended? 

It's none of his business if I lock my door or not, unless he was planning to enter the apartment, in which case fuck him, I did the right thing by locking the door.

I'm a nar…