Oh, those crazy, hysterical women. Can’t live with em’, can’t live without ‘em, right? Slaves to their hormones and their untameable bodies… Blood coming out of their wherever…
These are just a few of my favourite examples of the things people say to dismiss or explain away the emotions and behaviours of people who have periods.
We all know about that time of the month before our period is due known affectionately (or, more accurately, with a sense of angst) as PMS. We all have some kind of opinion on it, whether you dread it every month, secretly like the excuse to act out, or don’t really get it.
PMS is a very real part of our lives, both culturally and in the way most of us who have periods tend to view our own fluctuating emotions and behaviours. OR, maybe Premenstrual syndrome isn’t even real (as this author argues pretty damn well) and we’ve all just been brainwashed by the patriarchy to believe we go absolutely, uncontrollably nuts once a month.
Did you know…
PMS remains an enigma because of the wide-ranging symptoms and the difficulty in making a firm diagnosis. Several theories have been advanced to explain the cause of PMS. None of these theories have been proven, and specific treatment for PMS still largely lacks a solid scientific basis. Most evidence suggests that PMS results from the alterations in or interactions between the levels of sex hormones and brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters.
I want to propose that we humans who bleed and rage and laugh and cry embark on a mission to embrace and own the PMS-monster narrative.
Let’s don our capes, wield our organic tampons like swords and charge headfirst into stories of PMS-induced rage and madness. It’ll be a fun ride. Well, it’ll be a ride.
Did you know…
The mood changes surrounding this condition have been described as early as the time of the ancient Greeks. However, it was not until 1931 that this disorder was officially recognized by the medical community. The term “premenstrual syndrome” was coined in 1953.
Me, senior content writer at Ohne’s fem space:
I have cried in public – like hysterical, snotty, ugly-cried – far more times than I care to admit, and almost every time can be attributed to PMS. Think English train stations, Brazilian bus stations, on airplanes about to take off, in a crowded, fancy cafe in Madrid while the nice waiters tried to make jokes to me in Spanish, at a garden party surrounded by a gaggle of elderly near-strangers, in the middle of an exam I wasn’t even finding difficult…
PMS-monster rating: 2/5. I didn’t want to let myself off the PMS-shame train, but my stories are weak baby-dragons compared to the fire-breathing lunacy of some of those I’ve heard, so I’m giving myself a lowly two out of five and vowing to nurture my PMS-monster into a beast worthy of this list.
Leah, co-founder of OHNE
“One time my boyfriend and I were in Vietnam on the last day of our holiday. He did an impression of me, one that I’d usually laugh at, but this time I was PMS-ing. I got so cross with him that it turned into a huge argument, followed by tears, and I even started trying to find my passport to fly home. All over a voice impression that I’d usually laugh at. My period arrived two days later – I was super relieved to have something to blame my moment of crazy on.”
PMS-monster rating: 4/5. Points lost for not following through with plan to fly home. Cause that’d have been a much better story for everyone… except for the poor boyfriend.
Lucy, friend of OHNE
“My dad asked me to help him empty the dishwasher and I threw an entire box of cereal, like a frisbee, across the kitchen at him. Picture a Catherine wheel of cornflakes tearing through the sky – we were cleaning the mess up for weeks.”
PMS-monster rating: 3/5. It’s mad, but I bet it was too funny to be really monstrous.
Maddy, friend of OHNE
“I lay face-down on the kitchen floor, in the shape of a starfish, for about three hours, while saying ‘I’m so annoyed’ over and over. My family just walked around me.”
PMS-monster rating: 5/5. Name one thing that better captures the pure misery of being trapped inside your hormone-induced emotions than just giving up and lying down in a communal space, begging for sympathy, and still getting ignored. See, you can’t.
This post is brought to you by the founders and creators of tampon OHNE. Unlike mainstream tampons, they’re made from 100% organic cotton – which means no bleached polyester and no rayon and all packaging is biodegradable. Some proceeds from subscriptions go towards health and menstrual education for girls in Zambia.
artwork by: Emma Darvick