So I, too, could menstruate if I eat enough donuts?


Every once in a while, kind of like a cycle, some men on the internet get really mad about menstruation, and they start explaining how it’s filthy, unnatural, and disgusting for women to bleed from their vagina. “Why?” they wonder, and the obvious answer is that woman are unclean, they’re eating too much junk food, so menstruation must be their repulsive horrible body’s way of cleansing itself of toxins.

Obvs. I’m kind of curious about this “academia and the arts” cure, though, but not curious enough to wander over to the Art building on campus and ask the women faculty and students about their periods. I suspect they would, if they didn’t call the police, tell me that they’re perfectly normal and didn’t notice any decline in frequency when they entered college.

I’m also interested in this claim that “Men are the superior sex and they don’t have periods because we know how to look after their bodies.” So I could look for some fat lazy slob (why are you looking at me that way) watching trash TV (I didn’t!) and gossiping (I never!) and ask them if they’ve been menstruating lately (no, I’m not going to ask myself) (and no, I’ve never menstruated). I’m wondering if I could take up a diet of Twinkies and cheeseburgers now, and look as svelte as those ladies in the tampon commercials, if only I could start bleeding out of my bottom every month. It might be a fair trade.

It’s not just men who make these claims! Freelee the Banana Girl made similar arguments a while back. If you menstruate, you must have been wicked and accumulating toxins that your body needs to purge.

And don’t forget Yada the Hotep wackaloon. He got really angry when his daughter started menstruating, and went on a quest to find a magic bark and a magic diet that would make her stop. He also claims that animals don’t menstruate…except they sort of do. One way to stop menstruation is to get pregnant, and most mammals only thicken their endometrium seasonally, and typically don’t shed that tissue until they go into labor. Humans have the curse of year-round fertility, so that’s the problem, not that they menstruate, but that they are constantly preparing for a potential pregnancy.

I wrote about this before. It’s not about toxins or cleanses — it’s about maintaining a defensive boundary against those highly invasive mammalian embryos — put up a wall of soft vascularized tissue against the chance that you might get pregnant some month, and then discard it when fertilization fails to occur.

Comments

  1. Curious Digressions says

    Women can be relieved of menstruation if they follow an appropriate diet.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amenorrhea See Causes: Low Body Weight

    By appropriate, I mean direly unhealthy, except in very rare and temporary competitive athletic training. Healthy people with a uterus menstruate. Dumb guy is dumb.

  2. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Does this mean that sometime around their fiftieth birthday women suddenly change their diets and cultural habits?

  3. weylguy says

    This reminds me of the myth of the male orgasm, more properly known as the “penile sneeze,” in which the penis ejects the body’s waste matter.

  4. Zeppelin says

    Maybe my sample is skewed or something, but this extreme, irrational squeamishness about menstruation, to the point where people are embarrassed to be seen buying tampons and stuff, seems to be an Anglo thing. I’ve seen it mainy from Americans and from the occasional Brit. Is it some sort of Puritan neurosis?

  5. microraptor says

    @Zeppelin- the idea that periods are filthy, disgusting, and unnatural dates back thousands of years. The Old Testament has references to women being banished to special tents when they were menstruating so that they wouldn’t contaminate their husbands.

  6. Saganite, a haunter of demons says

    A guy talking about “academia and the arts” might want to pick up (and actually read) a book for once in his life. Maybe something topical even, about what periods are based on perhaps. How these morons can be so certain in their intellectual superiority is amazing to me.

  7. citizenjoe says

    There is a nice discussion of cultural taboos and superstitions regarding menstruation in the book, Nine Pints by Rose George.

  8. Ragutis says

    Zeppelin

    21 December 2018 at 1:01 pm

    Maybe my sample is skewed or something, but this extreme, irrational squeamishness about menstruation, to the point where people are embarrassed to be seen buying tampons and stuff, seems to be an Anglo thing. I’ve seen it mainy from Americans and from the occasional Brit. Is it some sort of Puritan neurosis?

    I’m American, but I’ve never understood it myself. Much like the embarrassment many feel about buying condoms. Um, if you’re a dude buying tampons and/or rubbers, its pretty certain you’re getting laid. Might as well be waving a flag. It’s quite a base rationalization, but hey, if it helps some particularly insecure guy drum up the courage to help his partner out (in this minuscule, almost not worth mentioning, WTF is wrong with you?) way, then they’re free to use it.

  9. nomdeplume says

    And still the bar which I thought must surely mark the limits of human stupidity keeps getting lowered and lowered. Are we seeing the results of a gradual total breakdown in American education?

  10. nomadiq says

    Wait wait wait – so all a woman has to do to be more ‘academic’ and to cleanse themselves of ‘toxins’ is to have a hormonal IUD implanted? I don’t see the connection but I’m sure our esteemed Facebook friend has an explanation.

    It certainly can’t have anything to do with hormones, physiology, developmental biology and natural selection. Those things sound made up by an idiot online with some kind of — God knows what — motivated rationale.

  11. unclefrogy says

    the combination of absolute certainty and complete appalling ignorance is really amazing.
    uncle frrogy

  12. woozy says

    @6

    – the idea that periods are filthy, disgusting, and unnatural dates back thousands of years. The Old Testament …

    Filthy and Disgusting, sure. But “unnatural” is a bit of a new one for me. I mean all women do it from the beginning of time in all cultures and all diets makes this illogic … beyond inconceivable. Not sure what “natural” is supposed to mean in this case. As for it being “obvious” what the period is… Jeebs…. nothing to say.. just nothing to say.

  13. patricklinnen says

    quatguy @14
    I would guess abstinence classes, a.k.a. ‘only P-in-V is sex’ classes. But your comment is more concise.

  14. jrkrideau says

    Excellent agreement of pronoun too.
    “Men are the superior sex and they don’t have periods because we know how to look after their bodies.”

    Who is this “we”?

  15. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Are we seeing the results of a gradual total breakdown in American education?

    No. Deliberate sabotage.

  16. Zeppelin says

    @microraptor: I’m aware that many cultures have menstruation taboos! That doesn’t answer my question of why, in the West, it seems to be especially pronounced in Anglo nations. We’ve all got the same Old Testament, so that can’t be the origin of the difference.

    @ragutis: The condom thing fits in with our general taboos about sexuality, at least. But feces are taboo and yet buying toilet paper isn’t treated as particularly shameful, so why tampons in the US? Is menstruation more closely associated with female sexuality in the American mind than it is in the German mind, so that it falls under the sexual taboo in one culture but not the other?

  17. neptis says

    Yeah, that guy is dumber than a loaf of bread, no discussion. But could the commenters maybe not make universal statements about women and menstruation?
    “Healthy people with a uterus menstruate. ”
    “I mean all women do it from the beginning of time in all cultures and all diets”
    I get you probably mean well, but there’s plenty of women that don’t menstruate or don’t menstruate regularly for all sorts of reasons (and not just from being “un-healthy”, and not having an uterus is definitely an option for a woman).

  18. says

    And still the bar which I thought must surely mark the limits of human stupidity keeps getting lowered and lowered

    Colleague of mine recently shared a meme saying “Please stop adking “How stupid can you be?”, because apparently some people see that as a challenge.”

    WMDKitty

    TBF, periods are pretty gross and can get v. messy, esp. if you’re a heavy bleeder.

    Messy, yes, but calling them gross is the same fucking bullshit as in the OP.
    Not emptying the bin afterwards, that is gross.

    If it’s any hope, kids these days tend to be a lot less embarrassed about their periods to the point of serious TMI. I swear I got a student whose cycle I know better than my own.

    Also, what neptis said.

  19. inzvanity says

    The muslim imams are the worst for this. They preach all the time that women are filthy and impure because of menstruation.

  20. says

    I find it a little funny that this is very close to the old (70s or so) radical feminist claim that menstrual cramps and PMS were caused by living under patriarchy, and would fade away when the patriarchy did.

    I guess it technically hasn’t been disproved.

  21. chigau (違う) says

    andybutula #25
    … this is very close to the old (70s or so) radical feminist claim that menstrual cramps and PMS were caused by living under patriarchy, and would fade away when the patriarchy did.
    [citation needed]

  22. ledasmom says

    So, when I bled for a month, it’s because of particularly bad diet for the year or so before that? For the love of lunch, I would have had to be living on Crisco and aspartame. My coworkers had to know about my bleeding issue because the sudden rushes of blood could overflow a jumbo pad in a minute and necessitated emergency rushes to the bathroom.
    I suppose these jerks also have some ridiculous explanation for the hot flashes. I am grateful that the actual people I work with are understanding of my need to run outside into freezing weather a few times an hour.
    This is all finding excuses not to be sympathetic. I mean, is it that much of an imposition to nod and then go fetch naproxen and a heating pad?

  23. Marissa van Eck says

    So explain how I’m on a ketogenic diet and still getting my period? Believe me, I’d love to be able to stop it with just dietary changes. The ignorance of people, mostly men, is astounding…

  24. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    Giliell — Fair enough. I, personally, found it gross, and am quite happy to be period-free.

    You don’t need to be conciliatory about having had a lived experience that doesn’t fit someone else’s preferred narrative.

  25. Crudely Wrott says

    Surviving daughter came to me one day. I was then performing my duties as a single parent. I had prepared myself for the moment because, well, biology.
    She asked me, quite unabashedly, for which my love for her only grew, if I could go to the market and get her some tampons and something with wings.
    I paused for only a short moment and said, “You bet’cha. I’ll be right back”.
    I went to market, plopped two boxes on the counter and the cashier, a young lady, looked at me with some bemusement. I raised myself to full height and told her with a grin, “These are not for me”.
    Oh, how we laughed! Ever after when I went shopping and she was on duty we exchanged knowing winks and waves
    I would do the same for my now adult daughter, who has produced two wondrous grandsons for my enjoyment and nefarious influence, in a hot minute.
    So . . . what is this asshole’s point?

  26. madtom1999 says

    In early Victorian times the average age for onset of menstruation was around 18 IIRC so diet is important. As is not being pigshitly stupid.

  27. says

    You don’t need to be conciliatory about having had a lived experience that doesn’t fit someone else’s preferred narrative.

    Oh dear, didn’t anybody ever teach you the difference between somebody not liking something and something being bad?
    But hey, you can play brave warrior this way.
    But yeah, I’m pretty sure tons of internet misogynists will give you a cookie for this.

  28. Rowan vet-tech says

    TMI warning…

    My periods are gross. I produce large volumes of large blood clots that get caught in my pubic hair and then semi-dry there during the day, matting the hair together. This is disgusting to me, not merely “messy”. But shaving just causes me to leak blood past the pads so that’s untenable. The last couple days of my period are always equally gross, brown, sticky old blood that smells like rot. It’s gross. I’m going to throw a goddamned party when I finally hit menopause.

    My period is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. But it’s also gross. Just as sneezing is natural and nothing to be ashamed of, but snot is gross.
    I’m perfectly allowed to think my period is gross without it being tied to misogyny.

  29. says

    “I’m perfectly allowed to think my period is gross without it being tied to misogyny.”

    THIS.

    There is nothing that isn’t gross about passing half-dead jellified chunks of unused uterine lining through your vag while your uterus does it’s best to try and turn itself inside out.

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