(I almost put off writing this a day, just so I could title it Sunday Bloody Sunday. But I was afraid of a general reader revolt, especially after last month’s entry.)
It’s time for my monthly musings on menstruation. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to write about this time: I’ve done charting and FAM to death, I’m all out of poetry (ok, filking) and prose on the topic, I’ve yet to make those new pads I keep wanting to sew (and when I do, you know you’re gonna see pictures, because I will be just that proud).
So what is there to say? Rah rah shed that endometrial lining? Ow ow oh goddess the cramps? Guess we’re not procreating this month (thank the gods!)?
How about, this is a part of being a woman, for many cis women, but it’s hardly the Magjyickal Mystical Mystique it’s made out to be by those who seek to Other us? It’s not really what it means to be a woman? That it’s just another part of my life: I eat, I shit, I breathe, and every few weeks, I menstruate for several days? And as long as I don’t have to keep it a secret, as long as I have the accessories I require, as long I am not being shamed or shunned because of it, it’s not a big deal.
That’s a pretty big caveat, though, innit?
Think of how many other conditions that’s true for: if we have what we require, if we are able to just be and not have to hide or justify, if we are free from discriminated against or attacked or oppressed or shunned because of it, it’s not a big deal. If we don’t and aren’t, well, it’s a big fucking deal.
Think about myopia: without my glasses, I cannot see. I could not drive, I could barely use my computer, I could not see the sign to order in a cafe (or the whiteboard to learn in class). I would be disabled. But glasses are ubiquitous, are they not? Everywhere I’ve lived in the USA, there have been optometrists and glasses shops galore. There’s a tick mark on the driver’s license form saying I need glasses, and I take my tests with them on, and no one questions it. I’m not beaten up or ignored or risking my life if I wear them in public. I am able to just be, to have the accessibility equipment I need, and my culture accepts it. Myopic is understood to be just another normal human condition.
How many other “disabilities” would be simply normal human conditions if they were accepted, accommodated, embraced? Most of them? All of them?
That’s what I’m thinking about today, as I rinse my cloth pads out, in my bathroom sink, with indoor plumbing, with clean public water, with my electric, hygienic washer and dryer sitting in my garage. There’s no one here I have to hide my bleeding from, there’s no one I have to slink to in shame for my brown-bagged absorbent materials, there’s no risk I’ll become infected from dirty or contaminated material against my cunt. I have it easy, here, in this sub/urban house, in this Western country. It’s not a big deal, and it shouldn’t be for anyone with a uterus.
And yet, it is, for far too many. And you bet your bloody britches I blame the kyriarchy.
ETA I owe many thanks to Wildly Parenthetical’s post Invisible Disabilities and How They Get That Way for much of my thinking on the social model of disability, and Beppie from that comment thread for the myopia comparison. I read it months ago, realized it was such a brilliant and astute idea, absorbed it promptly, and only just re-found the thread. Go read, it’s absolutely worth it.