If you're a woman, I bet you've been asked at least once in your life – “Are
you on your period?” and I'm pretty sure this happened when you had
expressed your dissatisfaction with something. It is no secret that women on their period go through a combination of physical and emotional symptoms. These include feeling irritated, sad, anxious, etc. There is also premenstrual syndrome, which starts a few days
before the period and may impact their mood. While these are clinically proven symptoms of menstruation that are different for different women, people frequently use them to base a woman’s actions and emotions on the fact that they are on their period. This also results in them simply dismissing the woman’s feelings in the process.
This kind of behaviour is attributed to the fact that, as a society, we have always believed that women are crazy, overemotional, irrational, and hormonal. This belief has been going around for so long that women often end up questioning themselves and their emotions. They over-assess the severity of their feelings, trying to figure out if they really are acting crazy. Not many realize that this is a form of mental abuse commonly known as
gaslighting. Gaslighting is when someone manipulates you into questioning your own emotions and actions. When a woman is trying to communicate her feelings, gaslighting can come across as a way of not letting them have a voice, dismissing their feelings, and avoiding conflict. The impression that women are crazy is an extremely old one. In ancient
times, men conveniently used to get women diagnosed with hysteria if they
were ”causing them any trouble”. In fact, the word hysteria comes from the Greek word hystera, which translates to the uterus. This means that the disease hysteria literally meant being a woman. The idea has stuck around to date and is evident in how most people react to an upset woman. I've also had the men in my life ask me if I was PMSing or on my period just because I was upset with them. They never wanted to talk about what they had done that made me mad. Instead, they based my actions and feelings
on the assumption that I was on my period. Let me tell you that it is super annoying! Half the time this question is asked, I am far from getting my period! For the longest time, this made me question my emotions. I was always told that women go through more mood swings than men and are drama queens. This is weird because I have seen men who are way more dramatic than any woman in my life. And it is not just me; I’ve had similar
conversations with my friends who are going through the same thing.
Even if I’m on my period, I don’t think that gives anyone the right to invalidate my emotions. Yes, maybe my period makes me 'sensitive', whatever that means, it is still okay for me to show emotions. It is great that more and more people are becoming aware of PMS and period symptoms, but they shouldn’t be throwing it around whenever they feel like it. I can be angry if I’m on my period or not, and my feelings are valid because they are real. Even if someone is asking out of concern, it is not okay to just dismiss someone’s feelings on the assumption that they’re on their period. It may have long-term effects on a woman's self-esteem. Women often explain away their feelings rather than pay attention to them. Menstruation is one of the most significant processes on the planet for the perpetuation of our species. It's how we sustain life. Women go through these terrible symptoms every month to protect humanity. People should be thanking them for being so strong and putting up with everything that comes with PMS and menstruation. Gaslighting them and calling them crazy is a centuries-old misogynistic tool that only manipulates them into thinking that their emotions are not valid. I think it is time to let all these preconceived notions go. It’s high time everyone realized that women are not crazy or overdramatic but maybe it's us who need to be a little more sensitive!