Being a woman doesn’t make “being a woman” any easier

Caitlin Moran explains some things about being a woman for readers of Esquire. Item 3 is menstruation.

3. Periods

We’re still pretty traumatised about our periods, even though we’re now 40. Being a woman doesn’t make “being a woman” any easier. All that womb-shit is nuts. It’s like having an exploding, insane blood-bag of pain up in your business end — nothing really prepares you for when it all kicks off. One day, you’re just a kid on your bike. The next, you’re suddenly having to wedge a tiny Barbie mattress in your knickers, crying while you watch Bergerac, and eating Nurofen Plus like they’re Tic Tacs.

And then deal with the tiny Barbie mattress and wedge in a new one, and repeat many times, and then do it all over again 3.5 weeks later. And dealing with the Barbie mattress is gross, and you’re not feeling good anyway and then you have to deal with gross every few hours, and the gross is coming from you. You’ve become a source of gross stuff, and you never asked to. It’s better when you graduate to tampons, but not all that much better, plus toxic shock syndrome.

Men, imagine if, some time around your 12th birthday, some manner of viscous liquid — let’s say gravy — suddenly appeared in your pants, in the middle of a maths lesson. And then it turned up every month for the next 30 years. You’d be all like “NO!” and “WTF?!?!” and “SRSLY??? THIS????” That’s what we’re like, too. We’re not wise, or in touch with nature, or down with it. We’re just people with a whole load more laundry issues than you. Have you ever tried to scrub blood out of a Premier Inn sheet at 6am, using just travel shampoo and your toothbrush? It’s one of the defining aspects of being a woman.

The things that can go wrong, and do. The opportunities for humiliation and embarrassment. The nuisance of it all. I like Moran’s harsh take on it.

7. Tired

We’re tired. So, so tired. From the moment we grew our tits, we’ve been cat-called in the street; commented on by relatives (“Ooooh, she’s big-boned”; “Well, you’ll be a heart-breaker”) as if we weren’t standing there in front of them, hearing all this. We’ve seen our biggest female role-models and icons shamed in the press, over and over: computers hacked and nude pictures released; sex-tapes released. So we know even success, and money, will not protect us from the humiliation of simply being a woman.

Gloria Steinem and Lands End.


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