Barbara Scully Calls for a ‘Red Wave of Feminism’

Holy Hormones Journal: I love this post by Barbara Scully -and I love the fact that her blog is called ‘From My Kitchen Table’. That is where women go to share, to cry, to commiserate and tell their stories.  I heartily concur that it is time for women to embrace their cycles – and  ‘all it means to be female’. Enjoy!

Time for a Red Wave of Feminism?

Barbara ScullyIt’s time for a new wave of feminism.  The Red Wave of Feminism.  This will be the wave that reclaims ALL it means to be female.  So sisters, shout it with me: “we are women and we bleed and sometimes that feels crap”.  The fact that we don’t let it interfere with our lives to any great extent makes us Superheroes. 

Irish Feminist Network
Barbara Scully

Recently a Russian lawmaker asked his Parliament to consider allowing women two days paid leave every month when they menstruate.  The said Russian is quoted as saying “during their period of menstruation most women experience psychological and physiological discomfort.”  He then went on to say that in some cases women are so discommoded they require an ambulance.  This rather over egged the pudding and took from his argument somewhat, I thought.

Needless to say, any comments I saw in response to the Russian lawmaker were entirely dismissive of his suggestion, which was regarded as sexist and silly.  I mean to say, women are not in any way put out by the arrival of the monthly bleed.  Periods are a breeze.  Ever since the invention of tampons, we can even go swimming and horse-riding while bleeding.  And sure with a reasonable supply of Solpadeine or Nurofen, you don’t feel a thing.  Right?  I mean, admitting that periods often make you feel really crappy is letting the sisterhood down, right?  That would be a sign of weakness, a sign that we are…. well less macho than the guys.  Right?

Have a look at this.  This is a video that Bodyform posted on YouTube, addressing a Facebook post by Richard Neil who sought to expose the lies contained in the advertising of feminine hygiene products.  On the Bodyform Facebook page Richard wrote the following (reproduced exactly)….

Hi , as a man I must ask why you have lied to us for all these years . As a child I watched your advertisements with interest as to how at this wonderful time of the month that the female gets to enjoy so many things ,I felt a little jealous. I mean bike riding , rollercoasters, dancing, parachuting, why couldn’t I get to enjoy this time of joy and ‘blue water’ and wings !! Damn my penis!! Then I got a girlfriend, was so happy and couldn’t wait for this joyous adventurous time of the month to happen … lied !! There was no joy , no extreme sports , no blue water spilling over wings and no rocking soundtrack oh no no no. Instead I had to fight against every male urge I had to resist screaming wooaaahhhhh bodddyyyyyyfooorrrmmm bodyformed for youuuuuuu as my lady changed from the loving , gentle, normal skin coloured lady to the little girl from the exorcist with added venom and extra 360 degree head spin. Thanks for setting me up for a fall bodyform , you crafty bugger

Bodyform apparently thought Richard had a point, and hence the clever video posted on YouTube.  In the ad, Caroline Williams, fictional CEO, admits that their ads have lied, but makes the point that their focus groups in the ’80s couldn’t handle the truth of periods, with mood swings,  cramps etc.  She even makes reference to crimson landslides.

I can understand why Bodyform and other manufacturers of what are euphemistically called ‘feminine hygiene products’ might lie about periods – they have a product to sell.  But are we, modern women of the 21st century, living in the so called ‘first’ world also lying – to each other and to our girl children about periods?

A few years ago, BBC2 screened a series of programmes called ‘Tribal Wives’.  In each episode, a different British woman went to live for a period of weeks with a so called ‘primitive’ tribe in various parts of the developing world.

There was one particular episode that stands out in my memory because it dealt with what happened when that week’s British woman got her period.  In the tribe in which she was living, menstruating women had to go to a special hut on the outskirts of the village.  So off our British woman went, somewhat horrified that she was being ‘put out’ of the village as if unclean.  But she found the experience very soothing.  In the special hut she was minded by other women who braided her hair and she was not expected to do any work.  After a few days, she returned to her duties in the village feeling refreshed.

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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.