MENSTRUATION MATTERS

I adore Penelope Trunk. I may not always agree with her, but I always read her column, and I’m glad she exists. Today, she wrote about the backlash she received for this recent tweet:

Twitter _ Penelope Trunk_ I_m in a board meeting. Ha ...-2

She is a little stunned that there was such an uproar about her tweet: other bloggers wrote posts about the “disgustingness” of it all, and 70 people stopped following her on Twitter (at this moment, she has more than 18,000 followers, so it’s not a huge uproar). She writes,

Most miscarriages happen at work. Twenty-five percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Seventy-five percent of women who are of child-bearing age are working. Most miscarriages run their course over weeks. Even if you are someone who wanted the baby and are devastated by the loss, you’re not going to sit in bed for weeks. You are going to pick up your life and get back to it, which includes going back to work.

This means that there are thousands of miscarriages in progress, at work, on any given day. That we don’t acknowledge this is absurd. That it is such a common occurrence and no one thinks it’s okay to talk about is terrible for women.

Throughout history, the way women have gained control of the female experience is to talk about what is happening, and what it’s like. We see that women’s lives are more enjoyable, more full, and women are more able to summon resilience when women talk openly about their lives. [Emphasis mine]

I practically stood up and cheered. This is exactly why we started our little blog (I say ‘little’ because I know we don’t have 18,000 followers). We want to talk openly about women’s lives, and invite others to join the conversation. Although there are many times it is inconvenient, messy, sometimes even painful, menstruation, like miscarriage, is part of (most) women’s lives.

And like miscarriage, menstruation happens at work, too. From the factory floor to the board room, women are bleeding on the job. And sometimes, women need or want to talk about it. Maybe to seek support. Maybe to request a bathroom break to change her pad or tampon. Maybe to lie down for an hour until the cramps subside. Maybe just to know she’s normal. What’s “disgusting” isn’t the menstruating or the miscarrying, or even the talking about it, but the shaming of women for doing so. (Read the whole thing – the quote above is just an excerpt.)

And one more thing: Penelope Trunk is absolutely right – it is fucked up to have to wait three weeks for an abortion.

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