Purses and Periods
Hey there everyone 🌞 I hope you’re not squeamish, because today we’re gonna be talking about periods!
I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that didn’t see menstruation as a taboo. In fact, we were really, really open about it! My aunts called my mom the first time each one of my cousins got their periods, and I can only assume my mom called my aunts when my sisters and I got ours, too.
When I was a kid I remember asking my mom why women carried purses. I didn’t have a phone or wallet to carry around, and I certainly didn’t know that women’s clothes usually don’t have usable pockets! She told me that purses are for carrying phones, wallets, pads, and/or tampons. So of course, I asked what pads and tampons were, and she was totally honest with me.
Well, not totally honest. She didn’t tell me that periods can cause cramps, and acne, and make hair greasier, or really any of the major downsides. She told me I’d bleed, I’d want a lot of chocolate, and I’d probably cry for no apparent reason. Oh, yeah, and I’d be a woman! I’d be able to have babies if I wanted. So, I actually looked forward to getting my first period!
Bonding Over Blood
When it finally happened, I didn’t feel like a “woman.” I felt awful. And here I am, 9 years later, and I still feel more like a teenager than a woman.
Periods don’t mark adulthood, so saying that someone becomes a woman when they get theirs is a little misleading. Women are adults, after all. Menstruation can start as early as age 9; it absolutely doesn’t mark adulthood and anyone who thinks it does is an absolute fool!
So what did my mom mean when she happily announced to the family that our cousin “is a woman now!”? Well, she meant that my cousin had experienced something unique to the female body and was able to bond with other people over that experience.
It’s like an initiation, or a rite of passage, but it’s also not. Not all women get periods, so saying it’s a rite of passage is a little misleading. But it’s something that female people can and do bond over. At least, we bond over it when we’re not too embarrassed by it.
Stop the Stigma
Despite being raised in a Christian household, my mom never taught my sisters and me that periods were some sort of Biblical punishment. She didn’t teach us that women were the “original sinners” or that periods were unclean or something to be embarrassed about.
When we don’t understand something, we make up stories to try and figure it all out. Menstruation has been around for a long time, but we’re still not too sure how it developed into what it is today. This probably has a lot to do with the gender and sex biases in the medical field. See, for most of the Western medical past, the white-male body has been used as the default average human.
Now, I’m not saying that the white-male body is seen as default because of the belief that man, Adam, was made before woman, Eve. But I’m not not saying it either. I’m not saying people didn’t bother researching menstruation because of their religious beliefs, but I’m not not saying that either.
It’s pretty easy to see how teaching 50% of the population that G-d wants them to suffer in pain for causing the downfall of the entire human race might cause some feelings of shame, right?
Just earlier today I saw a post on Facebook about a girl who was against feminism because being subordinate to men is God’s will. If that’s what works for her then she should do her thing. But that doesn’t work for me. At all.
Made In the Divine Image
All humans are equal but different. And that’s okay! I do not believe that any person should be live a life of servitude because of the body they were born into. In fact, I think that’s like, a majorly f*cked up, sick in the head, delusional psychopath sort of mindset. No offense.
For real, I don’t want to bash religion. I’m bashing the belief that people born with specific bodies, like female bodies or black bodies, are naturally meant to be subordinate to other people. It seems like a very slippery slope toward justifying slavery. I don’t mind that the girl on Facebook was religious and just really want to be clear about that.
But I like the idea that we were all made in the Divine Image. Depending on how spiritual you wanna get, you could say that everything that exists is made in the Divine Image. After all, Divinity is limitless, so how could it possibly be represented by only one form? How could something infinitely vast and limitless be separate from us; how could our limited world exist outside of that which is limitless?
You can read a little more about my thoughts on the matter here, but the article basically says that nothing exists outside of G-d, whatever G-d may be. It talks about the 3 stages of existence that everything experiences: creation, sustenance, and transformation. Everything that exists was made, it exists for a while, and then it transforms into something else.
All cycles have a beginning, a middle, and an end. These concepts can be found in the Hindu Trimurti of Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Maintainer, and Shiva the Transformer. We could also say that G-d the Father is the Creator, The Holy Ghost is the Maintainer, and Jesus of Nazareth is the Transformer. Don’t think the Trimurti and the Trinity are interchangeable though! They were just given as examples of the life cycle being used to describe the Divine, that’s all.
But do you know what I think is a really, really obvious representation of Divinity through these 3 stages of existence? The female form.
As far as I know, every human in existence has come out of a female body somehow. Period. The male body provides one cell and the female body does literally everything else. Whether or not we choose to use it, we hold the power of creation, babes!
But, in order for us to actually create another human being, we need to have periods! What goes up, must come down; every beginning must have an end, right?
Periods represent our ability to create life. Periods represent the transformation of our bodies as the uterine lining sloughs off as blood. They represent our ability to maintain the entire human species.
Throughout our lives, menstruation follows the cycle of existence. It starts at puberty, it stays around for most of our lives, and then it goes away eventually. Each monthly cycle acts as a reminder of our power to create, our power to sustain, and our power to transform. And, let’s face it, sometimes the blood can make us think of our mortality, too.
We’re always in-between life and death, and I think that with the right perspective it can be used as a wonderful insight into life.
Thanks so much for reading! Tell me what you think in the comments below 😊