Menstrual Cycle Used to Justify Discrimination against Women and Girls

Leslie Carol Botha: SMCR is an active organization of menstrual advocates challenging the shame and secrecy around menstruation.

The Menstrual Cycle: A Feminist Lifespan Perspective

prepared by the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

I. Introductionsmcr

A. Why Menstruation Matters
The Menstrual Cycle is one of the most important biological differences between females and males, one that has been used – in many contexts — to justify discrimination against women and girls. Thus, the more clearly we understand the biological and social significance of the menstrual cycle for both women and men, the better we understand the fundamental arrangements of human society. Challenging the shame and secrecy surrounding the menstrual cycle, encourages embodied consciousness, or a more meaningful and complex appreciation of bodies across the lifespan. Interdisciplinary menstrual cycle research, especially studies that explore the psychosocial dimensions of menstruation in diverse cultural settings, is an emerging subfield.
Some menstrual activists and menstrual cycle researchers refer to “menstruators” instead of women when referring to those who menstruate. This linguistic choice locates menstruation beyond the confines of gender as socially constructed and expresses solidarity with women who do not menstruate (due to illness, age or some aspect of their physiology) and transgender men and gender queer individuals who do in spite of their gender identity. Refusing to assume who does and does not menstruate is one way of challenging the rigid gender binary that perpetuates privilege and oppression (Bobel,2010).

 

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.