Hi, hello, what’s up? I want to take this special time of the month when I get to blog at OK4RJ to talk about how we talk about periods (haaa, time of the month. Pun intended. I hate myself.). You know all of that stuff from second wavers, your mom, Your Aunt Diane, etc. about how your period makes you a WOMAN and now you are EMPOWERED and we are here because of THE BLOOD OF OUR MOTHERS and this is your MOON TIME? I want to problematize the shit out of that conversation.
This idea that you have to love your period to be a “real” feminist or a “true” woman is total bullshit and really harmful. It’s also cissexist and ableist as hell to assume that ALL women menstruate. Placing so much emphasis on menstruation and biology as the basis for womanhood excludes transwomen. It furthers the trope that trans* people can never really be the gender that they identify with unless they have the “authentic” body parts or biological processes. Transwomen are women, whether they menstruate or not. While I personally can’t speak for trans* people, I would imagine all of this emphasis on menstruation is probably pretty fucked up for transmen as well. Telling everyone who gets a period that you have to love your body, your period, and your womanhood really isn’t helpful if you get a period but don’t identify as a woman. Any push for authenticity quickly turns into identity policing.
Not all ciswomen menstruate, either. People with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), people who have gone through menopause, had hysterectomies, or have various other health issues may very well never menstruate. Are they any less of a woman? Do they not still have a stake in access to reproductive health care? People with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) can have excruciating pain, depression, irritability, and even thoughts of suicide related to their period. Expecting us to just love every single cycle is bullshit. I don’t feel closer to Mother Gaia when I’m bleeding so heavily I can’t sleep without a pad and a tampon and still bleed through my sheets. Even if someone who menstruates has able-bodied privilege, they still might not exactly enjoy their period. And that is okay. It’s not always a fun process.
It’s possible to not be totally enamored with your period while simultaneously recognizing that menstruating doesn’t make you inferior, dirty, or impure. If you feel empowered by your period, great. Good for you. I’m sincerely glad that you aren’t ashamed of your body or in pain. But don’t tell me I’m a bad feminist because I hate my period, don’t police the identities of trans* people, and just check your privilege in general. Reproductive justice is about so much more than whether or not people want to have abortions. Reproductive justice needs to include trans* people and people with disabilities, including reproductive disorders. It is about so much more than able-bodied, cisgender women.
Carly got her first period in a mall dressing room in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. Her cousin Rachel had to explain how to use tampons so she could still go to Matthew’s Bar Mitzvah pool party without the whole mishpucha publicly congratulating her on becoming a woman. Rachel just graduated from Washington University in St. Louis and Carly is super proud, and still grateful.
- .@COHIntl are distributing dignity kits (hygiene products, underwear, & flashlights) today to women displaced by the storm in #Moore #okhelp 1 hour ago
- #Tulsa area folks, here's a chance to help and heal with your community! #okhelp facebook.com/events/5217295… 1 hour ago
- Spread the word! If you know someone in #Moore who needs vegan, gluten free, & nut free lunch, they can go to First Baptist on 27th #okhelp 1 hour ago
- RT @OUSoonerAlly: OU Housing and Food has taken in about 100 displaced families from Moore. If you want to help, drop off any... http://t.… 1 day ago
- RT @prettyrickyroo: kaylee hawkins, 9, is from moore and at norman regional healthplex on i-35 and tecumseh. her parents aren't with her. c… 1 day ago
Tagsabortion activism anti-choice birth control community building conference contraception Dr. Tiller economic justice feminism feminist theory series fetal personhood gender healthcare heteronormativity intersectionality Justice for All Kansas legislation LGBTQ missouri news Oklahoma Oklahoma legislation personhood pop culture pregnancy public health queer race racism rape culture red state red states reproductive justice self care sex education sexual assault so you want to be an activist student activism take root take root 2013 Texas trans* weekly round up