Why Menstruating People Should Be Taken Seriously
Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Should menstruating people be taken seriously? It seems like a foolish question to ask, and if you support my campaign, you are all the more confused by my asking this question. I was recently engaged in a conversation with someone about the validity of male privilege - which will be another blogspot - and the subject of biology came into play. This person used periods in an effort to weaken my argument for females. At first, I was unimaginably offended: What? Are you living in the twentieth century? What a bigot! Do people even believe this anymore? It is very easy to get caught up in the nuances of an argument, and instead of rationalizing and proving your stance to be objectively correct, we get frustrated. While there is no shame in being passionate and angry about issues you care about, it is not the most convincing way to go about an argument. In the moment, it would have been simple to lash out and name-call and tell this person that they were bigoted, discriminatory, and ethically wrong; but in reality, this would have done no good in communicating my ideas.
Thus, in an effort to organize my thoughts in a far more coherent and formal manner, I am writing this blogpost: Why menstruating people should be taken seriously.
People should be taken seriously when menstruating. To me, it feels like a given stance to take; however, I admit that I reside within the liberal bubble of Madison, Wisconsin, and am involved in feminism groups that argue the nuances of issues, rather than getting swept up in basic arguments.
Despite obvious influences and biases in terms of my beliefs, I strongly believe and urge you to consider the fact that your stance on menstruating people does not come from menstruation itself, but rather from your inherent biases against women. In all honesty, periods can be frustrating: physical pain, occasional emotional instability, and the shame of the whole experience. In reality, these symptoms are no different from males who may have a headache, anxiety, stomach ache, or are even experiencing depression. It is standard in our society to look down upon others for circumstances beyond their control; the same concept can be applied to menstruation. We would never look at a man who has a headache and assume that he cannot think clearly, engage in civil debate, or accurately and productively carry out his duties. That being said, we do look towards menstruating people and speculate that they are emotional, unable to engage in rational conversation, and have an inability to do their jobs. Just like males, menstruating people can work through related pains or frustrations in an effort to fulfill their commitments. This trait is not exclusive to hardworking men or lacking in menstruating people; rather, it is displayed in any professional, mature, and devoted person.
The belief that menstruating people are not as likely to complete given tasks due to their period is rooted in the idea that women are less capable than men. As writer and activist Alexis Sobel Fitts explains, “...women usually have to work twice as hard to be taken as seriously as men.” Simply put, this uncovers the ‘root-causes’ for a wide variety of gender and sex issues that have risen in our cultures. Childcare rights, abortion, workplace rights, educational opportunities, and many more. We have always lived in a patriarchal society, and as we evolve, those underlying injustices become more apparent. Bottom line, periods certainly do not limit one’s ability, but rather, the imposing limits associated with them can be discouraging. While we look to menstruating people as lesser, they are on the receiving end of the discriminatory actions of inflated egos of those who look down on them, creating self-confidence issues and fear about productivity and value in the workplace.
Moreover, most inadequacies in the workplace, in commitments, etc, are unrelated to menstruation issues; the only fault lies with those who disrespect people for their periods.
I hope that you enjoyed this post! It might help some of you better understand my perspective, help others develop their arguments, and hopefully assist some in understanding how a more productive argument can be presented. If you have suggestions, comments, questions or concerns, reach out to me, or comment below!
If you are interested in reading more on the subject, I highly recommend the following articles:
Do Women Have to Talk Like Men to Be Taken Seriously? And Should They?
2. Why You Shouldn't Be Afraid To Tell Work You're On Your Period