So a certain someone told me that I was doing my sons (I have 3 of them) a great disservice by discussing my menstrual cycle with them. I am, and I quote: "Telling them shit they don't need to know about". I really had to let that one digest a little bit. Actually, no I didn't. I refrained from retorting because I couldn't think of anything to say right then and there that didn't include a shitload of insults and tons of profanity. Let's forget, for a moment, that this person presumed to tell me how I should raise my children and focus on the underlying issues regarding that time of the month. Shame.
So what is the deal with all the shame, secrecy, and embarrassment surrounding a woman's menstrual cycle? I'm sure we've all have experienced it in some way, either what we project or what is projected onto us. The apprehension about buying pads or tampons. The crippling fear a girl will go through about someone at school will find out she's on her period. The mortifying accidents you've had in college when you foolishly wore white on the wrong day. The feminist in me knows this is all some left over misogynistic bullshit. Something along the lines of it being an "unclean" time that fed more old wives tales and myths.
I guess now the question would be how do we overcome it? And so that question brings us back to me and my sons, and daughter, when she is older. I don't hide my period from them or many other biological imperatives. My 16year old knew the basic frame work of the birds and bees by the time he was 8yrs old because he asked me in a frantic state why his testicles moved in the shower. I know, it's a long story and I will probably blog about it one day when someone pisses me off about how open I am to my children on the subject of sex. But I digress. This whole subject came up when my 4yr old busted in on me while on the toilet and wanted to know why I was bleeding and had a band aid in my panties. I decided to explain to him and his brothers what my cycle was and how it works. As a side note, I must admit being happy he didn't bust in for the tampon removal!
Personally, I think my household is a happier place with my sons getting information about my cycle, it's hormonal factors and how they affect mama. With regards to my teenager, I think it's just the kind of information a young man needs and I like to think in some small way I'm doing my part to do away with all the shame and secrecy.