Putting The 'Men' Into Menstruation Again: The Period Indignity Officer
Once again it's Testicles that trump Tampax, in Scotland's latest well thought out but badly executed initiative.
My Mooncup truly has run over at the news Scotland has appointed it's first Period Dignity Officer.
Wait..." what's that you say, Skippy?" It's a man? "Oh. Oh well, at least they've...done SOMETHING, I suppose."
The appointment of Jason Grant to the role, which is based in Tayside, Scotland has, unsurprisingly, created quite the backlash - and once again, it's women that are denied the basic right to have agency over an issue that affects us. And us only.
What an opportunity this role would have been for a woman - any woman, who has the real, lived experience of having a bloody miserable time once a month, to offer empathy and support to other women who are also going through the same.
Older women who are going through, or have gone through menopause - younger women who are just starting out on their menstrual life, women who have debilitating conditions like dysmenorrhea, endometriosis, or PCOS. There are literally millions of women out there - and no doubt a few thousand in Tayside, who could step up to the plate to educate, inform and inspire.
Instead, there's a man in a red polo neck (because fact fans - that's the colour of blood) who'll be - according to the job description "empowering a large range of people from a diverse range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, in particular young people who menstruate". Hoo boy, there's a lot to unpack there, not least the erasure of the word 'women' from a job description that's ostensibly about something that only affects...women.
Empowerment is good. Discussion around periods is needed - as is better education, and removal of as many taboos relating to the subject as possible. Of course, this includes men - reducing stigma and encouraging openness around something that can cause embarrassment, fear and upset needs to be considered, but that has to start with women and be controlled by women. It's our narrative and our story.
In a tweet posted in response to the story, Tennis legend Martina Navratilova said "Have we ever tried to explain to men how to shave or how to take care of their prostate or whatever?!? This is absurd." and she's right, of course.
How can a man, who has never experienced flooding, bleeding through sanitary towels, having stained underwear, clothes and bed linen - know what period dignity is..?
Not having the money to pay for a simple, no frills pack of basic sanitary protection that might cover a couple of days...and no cash to buy medication to deal with the pain...
Experiencing pain and cramping so badly that there's no comfortable position to sit or lie in...
Wondering if or when a period will show up and how bad it will be when it does...
Dealing with the intricacies of everything that happens mentally and physically in-between periods. PMS, PMDD, Ovulation, Luteal Phases.
Feeling the wrench when trying to conceive and bleeding starts. Understanding the sense of loss when periods end and coping with all the body changes this entails...
Somehow that red polo neck just doesn't cut it. It should have been Jackson Pollocked with every shade of red, brown and black on the spectrum to get a really accurate idea of what a period looks like.
Even better, give him a different colour polo neck for every day of the menstrual cycle. "Today, I'm wearing my stretchy beige discharge coloured polo shirt, because I want to talk about Ovulation!" He said, grinning like a maniac. And the women...the women ran a mile.
Do the right thing and give women their Period Dignity back, Scotland.
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