Tuesday, January 30, 2007

From "If Men Could Menstruate" by Gloria Steinem

"What would happen, for instance, if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not?
The answer is clear--menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event:
Men would brag about how long and how much.
Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood, with relgious ritual and stag parties.
Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea to help stamp out monthly discomforts.
Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. (Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of commercial brands such as John Wayne Tampons, Muhammad Ali's Rope-a-dope Pads, Joe Namath Jocks Shields--'For Those Light Bachelor Days,' and Robert 'Baretta' Blake Maxi-Pads.)
Military men, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation ('men-struation') as proof that only men could serve in the Army ('you have to give blood to take blood'), occupy political office ('can women be aggressive without that steadfast cycle governed by the planet Mars?'), be priests and ministers ('how could a woman give her blood for our sins?'), or rabbis ('without the monthly loss of impurities, women remain unclean').
Male radicals, left-wing politicians, and mystics, however would insist that women are equal, just different; and that any woman could enter their ranks if only she were willing to self0inflict a major wound every month ('you must give blood for the revolution'), recognize the preeminence of menstrual issues, or subordinate her selfness to all men in their Cycle of Enlightenment.
Street guys would brag ('I'm a three-pad man') or answer praise from a buddy (Man, you lookin' good!') by giving fives and saying, 'Yeah, man, I'm on the rag!'
TV shows would treat the subject at length. ('Happy Days': Richie and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that he is still 'The Fonz,' though he has missed two periods in a row.) So would newspapers. (SHARK SCARE THRETENS MENSTRUATING MEN. JUDGE CITES MONTHLY STRESS IN PARDOINING RAPIST.) And movies. (Newman and Redford in 'Blood Brothers'!)
Men would convince women that intercourse was more pleasurable at 'that time of the month.' Lesbians would be said to fear blood and therefore lif itself--though probably only because they needed a good menstruating man.

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