In this piece, Gloria Steinem writes about what it would be like if men menstruated rather than women and how it would be looked at differently. I think that the video I chose goes along with what she says about how menstruation would be looked at completely different if a man was to go through it.
Steinem states that if men menstruated rather than women, that it would be seen as a manly process, not something nasty or unnatural. Men would go around freely bragging about their cycles or how heavy their flow was. They would even brag about how long their cycle lasted and make it a competition with their buddies to see who’s lasted the longest. However, we all know that if someone were to overhear a woman talking like this, it would be considered disgusting. It is not appropriate for women to talk about their periods publically even though it’s a completely natural process. When I first went through this, I was nervous and wasn’t sure what to do. This was because I never really heard anyone talking about menstruation, other than with talking about it with my mom. I think if people, or women would start (or be allowed) to talk about it more, it wouldn’t be such a big deal to talk about, or be seen as gross.
Steinem talks about how if men menstruated, sanitary supplies like pads, tampons, and medicine would be free or federally funded. Men would not have to pay for any supplies out of their pockets like women do now. Some men might still pay for “name brand” supplies. In the video, the military men at the end promote a brand of pad that their men use when on their period, called General Patton Pads. This goes along with what Steinem is talking about how some men will, even though their products would be free, go buy “prestige” brand products to use.
Since men menstruating is seen as something to brag about (unlike in a woman’s case) or manly, it would make women different than men; Meaning that women could not be in certain positions. Steinem uses military men, right-wing politicians, and religions as examples saying that only men could handle these positions. In the video, the military figures say that if you want to know the face of courage, the heart of sacrifice, and the eyes of bravery then, like Steinem says, “you have to give blood to take blood”; meaning that since women do not menstruate, they wouldn’t befit to serve in the army. In the beginning of the video there is a sports reporter interviewing and football star that says that his secret to his success all comes down to his flow and that the team does so well because they all follow his cycle. I think this is a very accurate idea of how men would act if they did menstruate, just another way that men would find a way to brag about their periods and compete with one another. We all know that a female athlete definitely couldn’t base her success or lack of on her period.
If men could really menstruate, it would just be another way to oppress women. By telling us that we are equal to men, but different in the fact that since we don’t menstruate, we cannot do this or that. So either way we go, we are different or oppressed, whether we menstruate or not. We are treated differently because it is not appropriate for us to freely discuss our periods, but it would be encouraged for a man to do so. Menstruation is considered nasty by so many people (men) but it would have a completely different look on it, if it was a cycle for men. Menstruation is a completely natural process and should be talked about openly in either case.
To wrap up this post, I would just like for everyone who reads this, to think about these ideas as if the roles were switched. What if we looked at women menstruating in the way Steinem says it would be looked at if men did it? Just think about how different our world would be, men not being able to do certain things because they didn’t menstruate?
Katelyn Stewart– 002