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25 February, 2012

On "Women's Mysteries"

A lot of people have written about the various happenings at PantheaCon recently, where, again, the question of cis-separatist women's rituals has come up. And in and among all the things about which women get into which spaces and all that, there's something that doesn't go unquestioned: the idea that there exists a "women's mysteries" dependent on cis bodies and associated with menstruation, and that this can be referred to as "women's mysteries" and somehow, magically, everyone will know what it is.

Well, y'know, the only mystery involving menstruation I care about is why it's so unspeakably horrible.

If I were to accidentally stumble into such a ritual because people were too shy about their body stuff to actually mention what they were focusing on, that would be kind of a mess for me. I'm not up for celebrating this particular vile experience, particularly not with people who are overjoyed by it. The Mirena is my favorite cybernetic upgrade ever, because it means it basically goes away.

I don't want the mysteries of my body to be reduced down to something I find unspeakably awful.

I mean. Even with my moods levelled out a whole hell of a lot, I spent the weekend recently hating myself, hating my body, filled with moderate dysphoria and dissociation, and generally kind of fucked up. Why? Because I was having a menstrual cycle. Eventually my liege stabbed me in the knees, which at least reset my equilibrium a bit. It was genuinely a horrible experience, and one I hope not to repeat.

And that's without the usual side-effects - the tremendous pain, for example. The serious emotional lability and not in good directions. The sensation of sweating filth out of every pore, like the endgame of having the flu - the sort of vile sense of contagion that requires doing a lot of time in the shower to have a hope of feeling clean. (And yes, yes, I know, Teh Patriarchee treats menstruation as unclean! But really, the whole 'no really, I need a bath' thing is not manufactured out of social pressure.)

If someone assumes that a cissexual woman is welcome and appropriate at their menstruation ritual, well...

... I exist.

Define your fucking terms. Don't call your menstruation celebrations women's rituals, because not all the women you might *want* to bring in want to fucking be there.

7 comments:

Kristin said...

AMEN to this. I don't get the women's mysteries thing either.

Do people not realize you are either (A) celebrating a vagina and processes unique to women (none of which I give a fuck about as I frankly am not going to be using my uterus since I hate pregnancy and childbirth and bleeding) which excludes many non-cis women and women who don't want to reproduce like myself, or (B) celebrating a pretty sexist, socially constructed role? What does "Womanhood" mean? Sex is questionably biological, and gender is constructed...so which are we trying to say is a good thing?

Why can't we celebrate "personhood"? Just saying.

Tana said...

*snorts*
See, you now would get a lecture about how the bad society alienated you from the wonders of your body.

Honestly, I know a few women who are not in the 'ouch, ouch, ick, go away' category. But they are so few. And I've never met a one who would go: Oh yeah, I have the Power!!! (By the powers of tampax!)

Personally I can't see the difference between: bad man ruled society wants to use you as a birth machine and: Goddess wants Baaabiiies!

Both reduces the person to reproduction. Is it so hard to shift the focus a few inch above the waistlines?

DaisyDeadhead said...

(giggles) Well, I don't miss it. I think menstruation over-rated, if nothing else. I don't get anemic any more either! (Alright!)

And yeah, that sweating, you were giving me flashbacks with that...

thene said...

I'm cis, but I don't bleed because I use a Mirena. Guess I'm not a woman. I guess no one over the age of 60 is a woman either. Anyone who's stopped bleeding due to brestfeeding? Not a woman. While excluding women from a space due to their trans status or their age is flat-out reprehensible, using menstruation as the basis of womanhood is just plain silly. It doesn't work, duh.

thene said...

I'm cis, but I don't bleed because I use a Mirena. Guess I'm not a woman. I guess no one over the age of 60 is a woman either. Anyone who's stopped bleeding due to brestfeeding? Not a woman. While excluding women from a space due to their trans status or their age is flat-out reprehensible, using menstruation as the basis of womanhood is just plain silly. It doesn't work, duh.

thene said...

I don't menstruate because I use a Mirena. There's a few other types of contraception that reduce or block menstruation; a large minority of women don't menstruate due to age; many women who breastfeed don't menstruate. While excluding women from a space due to their trans status is flat-out reprehensible, using menstruation as a synonym for womanhood is completely silly. It doesn't work duh.

DaisyDeadhead said...

Wow, what happened to my comment? Was it THAT bad?