It is with great relief and zero explanation that we bring you Fuck You Week, Jezebel's first annual week of desperate emotional cleansing and unhinged psychic purging.
Maybe there are dudes — and some ladies — who are sick of hearing women complain about their periods. But women have the right to — and should — complain about periods. You know why? Because periods fucking suck.
We need to be allowed to talk about periods. Menstruation, like sneezing or sweating or erections, is a natural bodily function. But honestly? Sometimes women suffer in silence. Because for some ladies, to complain about your period is to participate in demeaning sexist clichés about being on the rag. She's annoyed? Must be that time of the month. She's crying? Probably surfing the crimson wave. As though menstruation, like an emotional tsunami, washes over the body and wipes out the real you. Maybe it does! For a couple of days! Or maybe it doesn't! But we want to seem strong and capable, so we grit our teeth and pretend it doesn't feel like a tiny rabid chihuahua is gnawing on the inside of our uterus. Fine. But fuck that. Fuck having your period.
First of all, there's PMS. Bloating, irritation, feeling like you have a water balloon in your abdomen. Also, some people — okay, me, okay? — get slightly clumsier during PMS. I seem more likely to drop things, bump into walls, cut myself on notebook paper. (Which is not to say that menstruation renders women incompetent, it does not. I could still be in the army or run a business or be president, so fuck you.)
Then. The cramps. Twinges, squeezing, contractions… Ever had a charley horse on your foot? Ok, now, imagine it's in a sensitive internal organ. Right. Fuck cramps. Cramps are the fucking worst.
Oh, and then there's the very essence of menstruation: THE BLOOD. Bloody hell. You're bleeding, uncontrollably, for four to six days? And you're supposed to act like nothing's wrong? FUCK THAT. That shit is horrifying. Women spend a shitload of time and energy trying to plug a hole in a dam that's designed to burst. An unstoppable stream of vivid red, and we're supposed to do gymnastics and party in a bikini like a tampon commercial? OMFG. Fucking bullshit.
And can we talk about how we jokingly call it Aunt Flo? As if it's normal for a relative to wake you up in the middle of the night so you can find yourself lying in a pool of your own blood. As though permanently staining your underwear, sheets and mattress is something only your mother's sister would do. FUCK THAT.
There are eons-old jokes about what would happen if men were the ones who menstruated. Like, if men had periods, they would brag about how long and how much. The US Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea to help stamp out cramps. Sanitary supplies would be federally funded. In January of this year, the sitcom 2 Broke Girls aired the joke, "If men were the ones who got their periods, tampons would be thrown free from floats like Mardi Gras beads." You know what I think? I think if men had periods we'd see a whole lot of men with bloody crotches. Dudes have no problem walking around with wet armpits — perspiration is natural! — but a woman spends decades of her life fretting, checking, cleaning, disposing, cleaning, washing, wiping, flushing, managing the monthly flow. So no one knows she's spending a few days making vampire tea bags. Despite the fact that it's perfectly natural.
The point is this: Yeah, it happens, yeah, it sucks, no, it doesn't mean women can't run shit, but FOR FUCK'S SAKE, CAN'T WE EXPRESS OUR DISPLEASURE WITHOUT BEING BELITTLED OR PATRONIZED OR THE OBJECTS OF BIAS? No one has an issue with saying "paper cuts suck." A woman should be able to say "my period is a goddamn nightmare" without being forced to turn in her girlpower! I-shall-not-complain, anything-he-can-do-I-can-do-better card. I don't want women to complain about periods so that men think they're the weaker, more complainy sex. I want women to complain about periods because it's fucking normal to mention it if you feel like someone's sucked out your life essence with a tube like a Skeksis from a Gelfling. If your uterus is fucking erupting lava into your pants, you have the right to mention that shit. So that then you can move the fuck on. It fucking sucks, you can fucking say so and then fucking get back to business. FUCKING MENSTRUATION, FUCK.
As we learned when we posted readers' horrifying period stories, periods often start with shame and embarrassment, even though they're happening to little girls who have zero control of the situation.
When women get older, some are able to control the situation — control periods — by using birth control pills. Despite what (sadly) a lot of Americans think, birth control is not something you take before you have sex. It's a drug that must be taken daily, at the same time, every day, whether you're sexually active or not. You're either on birth control or you're not — you don't "eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner" because you're a "slut" — as someone (a woman!) once accused the Jezebel staff of doing. But birth control is hormonal and expensive, and for many women, it's not a good fit or it's unaffordable. And so, we bleed. And bleed and bleed. And not only manage to get shit done, but succeed and excel. We cramp and we cry and we work and we laugh and we bleed and we kick ass and we do it all again 27 days later. And sometimes everything goes smoothly, it's not a big deal. And sometimes you get a huge red stain on your underwear, jeans and airplane seat. Sometimes you want to scream, MENSTRUATION FUCKING SUCKS WHO THE FUCK INVENTED THIS SHIT, COME ON NOW. Fuck menstruation.