Monday, May 3, 2010

Let's apologize for having periods

A husband-and-wife team has invented an iPhone application called "Code Red," which tracks and forecasts a woman's menstrual cycle.

Marketed to a male audience, the app - which of course can be used on the infamously named iPad - allows the user to enter in the dates of a woman's last few periods, and then predicts when the next one will be.

A female face with devil horns appears onscreen during the few days before a period is expected. This image is intended to warn the user of impending "PMS" and the emotional havoc it apparently wreaks on a man.

(The linked article has an accompanying photo of a woman baring her teeth in a shout. I can only assume this is meant to validate the image of a "bitchy," menstruating woman.)

This demonization of menstruation is hurtful to women. We are not lunatics just because our bodies remind us of their fertility. In fact, this "lunatic" moniker derives from the connection - especially evident before the advent and hyper-adoption of artificial light - between menstruation and the lunar cycle.

The existence of "Code Red" implies that periods are a nasty affair, and men would benefit from a system that alerts them when their female partners are about to have them. Perhaps they would become enlightened to the emotional and physical duress of a period. A woman is not crazy just because she might get more angry, sad, or anxious than usual during a certain stage of her menstrual cycle. She is in tune with her body and emotions. It is probably more unnatural not to have emotional swings during this time.

But I'm fairly certain that the intention behind this application has little to do with sensitivity. It is supposed to serve as a warning - "Get away from your girlfriend this week: She's hormonal"; or "Don't have sex with her tomorrow; it will be gross for you."

Through this technology, women are again subjected to the judgment that our bodies are dirty and we should feel ashamed not only of our physical beings, but our emotional selves as well. I can only wonder what the wife of the husband-and-wife team was thinking.

1 comment:

  1. You make a very valid point; the issue of menstruation and how it invalidates and/or belittles women has been going on ages. One wonders if it isn't because men find child bearing and all that comes with it frightening.