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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.

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