I Can't Come Into Work Today Because I'm Menstruating Profusely


Periods, amirite? You ladies know what I’m talking about. Every month with the headaches and the cramping and the crabbiness and the irrationality. Sure periods attract bears but the only thing deadlier than a bear is a woman on her period (high fives nearest woman). I mean, keep knives away from me when I’m bleeding because my period literally turns me, a good natured silly person, into a murderer. Literally a murderer.

Buuuut seriously folks (and especially cops): period or not, I’m not a murderer. And if you’ve ever known a real human woman who is not a character on Two and a Half Men or a Cathy cartoon that has come to life, you know that, for most women, periods are just another annoying thing with which we deal. They don’t make us incapable of performing at work. They don’t necessitate bedrest. They don’t turn us into irrational she-demons who can silence enemies by shooting a stream of poisonous blood across the room. If we’re going to traffic in stereotypes, a woman on her period (or threatening to go on her period) is much less unstable and scary/despondent and useless than a man whose favorite team just lost The Big Game.

So it’s kind of silly to me that one Russian lawmaker is proposing that women be allowed two paid weeks “period leave” per year — that’s two days per month. From Reuters,

Mikhail Degtyaryov […] wrote on his website that he had proposed a draft law to increase the protection of women at the workplace.
“During that period (of menstruation), most women experience psychological and physiological discomfort. The pain for the fair sex is often so intense that it is necessary to call an ambulance,” said Degtyaryov, 32, who is married with two sons.

Degtyaryov also argues that periods interfere with workplace productivity and implies that it would be better for everyone if Russian women just sat on the sidelines during Leak Week. It’s for their own good, and also: ew. Women are precious yet disgusting. Like Faberge eggs filled with dead snails.

Unsurprisingly, Russian feminists aren’t terribly happy with the move, warning that it’s just another attempt from the government to push a conservative agenda on its citizens. If you’re keeping score, this is the same group of Russian government knuckleheads behind the so-called anti-gay propaganda law that has led to gay bars boycotting Russian vodka and me boycotting Russian nesting dolls (which is difficult when your bed is just a slightly larger, hollow version of yourself and your purse is a smaller model of yourself that fits inside your stomach).

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Claire Suddath didn’t see the proposal as anti-feminist, though. She saw it as something that’s, for women in the US, would be analogous to getting extra change back when you order a Jamba Juice (which is probably the most privileged way possible to see it, but I digress). And I sort of see how it would be cool if a woman like me — who is lucky enough to not deal with much in the way of PMS besides slightly increased fatigue levels — got a couple of days off per month. I’d use them to do stuff that I don’t want to waste my precious weekends on, like getting my nails done (controversial opinion: manicures are excruciatingly boring) or going to the doctor (non controversial opinion: if my appointment is for 2 pm then why do I have to sit in two separate waiting rooms for like 45 minutes before someone comes in and tells me I don’t have strep throat?) or talking to customer service (ughhh).

I’m half past certain that any extra time off or professional concessions afforded specifically to women would be used to bolster arguments that women aren’t as capable as men. And that’s a shame. When people grumble about ladies actually needing time off from work because of issues of or relating to their reproductive systems — debilitating periods, ultrasound and pregnancy care appointments, maternity leave — it speaks to a profound ignorance of what the female body entails and enables. Without women’s reproductive systems, none of the people complaining about women needing to take care of their reproductive systems would exist to complain in the first place. Raise your hand if you weren’t grown inside a female body. None of you should be raising your hands.

The belief that every woman needs time to deal with her period like how every woman needs time to recover after childbirth makes menstruation seem like some insurmountable monthly disability. And it’s not. Unless you’re starring opposite Adam Sandler in Grown Ups 3.

Image via Lars Christenson/Shutterstock.

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