We need to talk about menstruation, and why it sucks! Graphic by Haydee Vanegas.
Disclaimer: in this article, “womxn” refers to cis-women who menstruate. We understand that there are people who do not identify as womxn but also menstruate, and their experiences are equally valid.
If we want to raise womxn awareness, we must start by sharing the most important topics with the world. Let’s start with menstruation. Because it sucks! So why is none talking about it?
If there is something every womxn has a love-hate relationship with, that is menstruation. It is a natural physiological process. And it is something that only happens to us. Menstruation accompanies us for most of our lives. We hate it when it comes because of the discomfort and suffering that brings. But we hate it when it doesn’t come because that means something is changing or is not going as normal. And we get so used to menstruate that when it is not there, we miss it.
But the truth is that, even when menstruation is completely normal. And it has always been there accompanying womxn since the start of humanity. No one talks about menstruation, which seems crazy because it is a key element to understand womxn. And to raise awareness about what being a womxn brings and means, we need to talk about menstruation.
So, as part of my Womxn Awareness series of articles. This time I want to talk about something none is talking about: menstruation sucks. Let’s review some reasons why it does. And raise awareness about why we need the world to consider it. Because it is unfair that something really natural on womxn stills a taboo and is not considered within laws and politics. And that is one of the major reasons menstruation sucks.
Male Awareness Makes From It a Shame
We all were raised under Male Awareness. That means everything womxn do or have is perceived as unnatural, shame, or even a sin. A huge example of that is the fact that the bible considers womxn are a derivation of man. Or that womxn are responsible for humanity losing the grace of God. Well, menstruation is also a huge example of how Male Awareness has treaded down womxn. Because, since ancient times, it has tended to make from menstruation a shame. Or even some sort of punishment. And our response, as womxn has been becoming ashamed of our nature, and try to hide it.
That is why menstruation has been excluded from most of the historical records. And in which it appears, it was related to sorcery and magic. Like the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Ancient Egyptians used to see it. But the Medieval times were one of those eras in which menstruation was really misconceived and shamed. Because according to the few historical records in which it is referred, it was seen as a punishment and a shame. So womxn had to hide from the rest of the world just for having their periods.
But the worst part of that is the fact that the misconception of menstruation continues alive. How many of us have got to hide our pads or tampons when we are buying it at the supermarket? Or worse than that, how many of us have been ashamed for feeling bad during our periods? And worse how many times have we been criticized for the huge suffering and the number of side effects our natural process has? Menstruation has been shamed by male awareness that womxn worldwide even pay more taxes on the products we need for our biological cycle. Plus, regular laws don’t even ponder this topic.
What menstruation means
Okay, let’s talk about menstruation now. Menstruation is the last period of the menstrual cycle. Biologically, this means the complete process that prepares the womxn body for pregnancy. This cycle is controlled by two hormones: estrogen and progesterone. Those hormones make each of the ovaries’ eggs to mature and get released to be fertilized. Also, hormones make the uterus spongy and thick so it can sustain and land a pregnancy. But when the pregnancy doesn’t occur during the cycle, then we don’t need our uterus to be spongy and thick. That is why, at the end of the cycle, our body itself sheds the lining that makes the uterus that way. The result of that is the period, vaginal bleeding.
But that is just the biological meaning of menstruation. And it is not the only one. Because this macro process involves womxn entirely. Not only our biology but also our physiology, our psychology, our mood, our entire lives. So, here are some meanings menstruation can have:
- The good or the bad news: menstruation literally means we are not pregnant. That is its main purpose, it is our body telling us: hey, not this month girl. And depending on each womxn this could be good or bad news.
- Suffering: if there is something that menstruation brings itself, that is pain and changes. No matter where the pain is, most womxn experiment many levels of pain during menstruation. And it is not only on the belly. Some of its symptoms are also breast tenderness, leg and back pain, and even headaches. Along with the fact of the bleeding you feel, that can also be heavy and really uncomfortable.
- Expenses: being a womxn is expensive. And the menstruation cycle is the main reason. We have to get periodical medical reviews. Along with that we have to buy tons of products to hold the bleeding, it can be pads, tampons, or cups, but we still have to buy something to collect that blood. Also, most of the time, we have to find ways to reduce the symptoms. Most womxn have to take medications to reduce the pain and suffering menstruation produces. And those are just a few of the expenses menstruating carries.
Why menstruation sucks
Over the article, we had a quick review of why menstruation sucks. And all of those are fair and real reasons. Menstruation sucks because of the suffering. It also sucks because we go through an entire psychological process of mood changes. Plus it sucks because we need to buy many things for it and most of those things have extra taxes. And menstruation sucks itself because it is a process in which we can not just erase its symptoms. The only thing we can do with it is a struggle and try to reduce the main symptoms.
But if you ask me, the main reason why menstruation sucks it is because we live in a society under male awareness. Menstruation sucks because we live in a society that doesn’t understand it. And not even ourselves understand it at all. The reason behind it is because anyone talks about it. The worst part is that this has been happening for centuries. And we allow it to continue that way.
If society could understand menstruation many things about it would change. For example, we could finally get laws and politics that support the number of expenses we have. If the world talks about it, womxn could finally get better conditions at work when menstruating. And if society finally understands menstruation we could be able to educate future generations on this important topic to improve their wellness.
So, let’s talk about menstruation and worry about it because we all as womxn and the next generations of womxn need it. It is natural and it is our right to be ourselves, and ourselves includes menstruating.