bleeding and not sorry

  • by Cindy Belardo

😖emotional regulation & passing as a non-menstruator response: “I'm so sorry; I’m not feeling well today. I will have to take a sick day.”

☺️expressing real emotions & revealing menstruator status response: “I need to rest today because I’m on my period, having severe cramps, and feeling fatigued. I can’t complete my work tasks at full productivity, communicate with coworkers, and act like I’m not in pain.”

 

We have all hid our period status from other people. Why do we feel so uncomfortable sharing this?

 

On a recent podcast called the ArmChair Experiment, Kristen Bell said, “I think we need to unpack why women across the globe feel the need to constantly have this performance of niceness and emotional regulation,”🕵️ 

Psychologist, Sheenie Ambardar states that society’s expectation that women “be ‘on’ and productive at all times” feeds the apology cycle, she said. Also. that the main reason for apologizing for our period is to not embarrass or be embarrassed by cis-men.

 

Ah, you mean the male-dominated, white patriarchal society is the root cause? Mmkay makes sense.

 

We are all too familiar with the list of unrealistic expectations for what a woman “should be”: to be submissive, accommodating, patient, smart, beautiful, but not concerned about beauty all the time, well-dressed, polite, kind, nurturing, skinny, curvy, feminine, fair-skinned, virgin, have a job, but not be CEO or an engineer. Society is slowly changing but has historically seen women as the caretakers of the home first and foremost. If a woman wants a career or degree, she is still expected to be the primary homemaker and take care of the kids in a “second shift”.

 

According to a recent study, 85% of women reported period pain and 77% reported psychological distress as menstrual symptoms. This is the reality of so many menstruators. So, how can we actually normalize it?

 

First, we can talk more about periods in school and the workplace: menstrual leave, free period products in all restrooms, and disclosing when you are on your period. This creates opportunities for education and understanding. Only in education about bodies, hormones, sex, gender identity, and reproductive health can we can also destigmatize periods for trans and nonbinary folks.

 

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