Every once in a while, I learn something about fundagelicals that I find simply discombobulating. Some Christian guides prescribe that a man should keep track of his wife’s menstrual cycle on the family calendar, even.
I mean, I knew that these patriarchal religions were all about controlling their women’s reproduction, but I had no idea. What’s the rationale? Here’s one reason given:
In his 1986 volume, Research in Principles of Life Advance Seminar Textbook, on page 170-171, Gothard suggeststhat a man keep track of his wife’s menstrual cycle and use it as a reminder of the sufferings and death of Jesus, then quotes Isaiah 53:4-5.
So Jesus menstruated? What?
The other reason is the infantilization of women’s behavior: they’re at the mercy of their cycle, so you need to be prepared to deal with them when they go all hormonal.
But this is something that goes on far beyond a man actually tracking his wife’s circle. It’s rather pervasive. Women are dismissed all the time for just being “hormonal,” and “it must be her time of the month” is a common response to a woman’s anger. In fact, there was a time men argued women shouldn’t be elected to political office, because of their periods. Do women’s hormonal cycles sometimes make them break down crying or get angry for no reasons? Perhaps, but guess what? Everyone has hormones, not just women. Everyone has bad days, not just women. And you know what? I’ve seen this “she must be on her period” line used to dismiss women’s actual needs and actual concerns.
You know, I did not track my wife’s menstruation at all. Sometimes I’d find out, obviously, and every once in a while she’d get menstrual migraines, but that’s about it for indicators — and I know some women do have debilitating physiological responses to their cycle. But I have never, ever known my wife to have a particular emotional excess or intellectual deficit in response to hormonal changes.
But maybe if I’d kept a big note on the calendar, I’d have had an excuse to belittle her once a month.