While reading Gloria Steinem’s piece If Men Could Menstruate I couldn’t help but almost laugh at the truth behind it. Upon reading the sentence “Male human beings have built whole cultures around the idea that penis-envy is ‘natural’ to women” (238). I almost shouted in agreement. Even the phrase “have some balls” is used to mean to have courage or strength when in reality it’s the most vulnerable part of a male’s body. Male genitalia is seen as superior over female’s. However, in Steinem’s piece we get to think about if the roles of genitalia were reversed. Before I even read the next paragraph I already felt like I could see where this was going; I was right. “Menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event: Men would brag about how long and how much. Boys would mark the onset of menses, the longed-for proof of manhood, with religious ritual and stag parties” (238). How sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free; a topic I had thought myself before reading this piece.
An article I found talked about another side of the story. How for women, our menstruation is seen as disgusting and dirty and makes women feel even more insecure of their bodies. A girl in the article says, “Anytime I talk about my period, I feel the need to begin with, ‘I’m sorry to bring this up…’ or ‘I’m sorry if this grosses you out, but…’ Why do I (and other women) feel the need to apologize for being women?” From movies and our own peers we constantly here jokes about periods. If a girl is having a normal emotional reaction to something there is a joke made “Whoa, she must be on her period.” It becomes learned that menstruation is something that makes women inferior and gross. Yashar says this is all because males associate the vagina with one thing only: sex. It’s the feeling of being unsupported and like women should be ashamed that caused the attitude from males about menstruation.
Also, final thoughts, why is it the end of the world to ask men to pick up sanitary supplies? A woman in the article was sick with the flu and couldn’t get out of bed, but when she asked her boyfriend to pick her up some tampons he said “anything but that.” When we buy tampons or pads the cashier always gives you uncomfortable looks, but if you’re a male what’s the problem? We all know they’re not for you.
Julia Russo (Sec. 007)