Yesterday I was moaning about the advertising of sanitary wear and wrote the following poem.
Is there nothing sacred?
When I was young there was something mystical
about girls and their machinations physical.
Today we are told of every aspect
which to me detracts from keeping respect.
The girl failed to progress to the next round
because menstruation came around.
Did we need to know a fact that’s private
justifying failure with the monthly habit.
We see dazzling adverts on TV nightly
for equipment to maintain personal dignity.
There are wriggle proof sanitary towels
that protect pjs from accidental fouls.
You can cavort, run or dance even madder
now there are things to cope with a sensitive bladder.
Would it be so terrible for the rest of us
if bodily functions were treated with less fuss.
It could never change my own regard
for ladies who in mind are starred.
© David L Atkinson January 2015
The inspiration was from English tennis player, Heather Watson
who suggested that the reason for her most recent defeat was 'girly
things'. Little did I think that such an admission would lead to a huge article on the subject bringing in such athletes as Dame Tanni Gray-Thompson and Paula Radcliffe. But one surprise was the historical commentary.
It has been said that from first century Rome to 19th century England, menstruation was thought to leave women periodically dangerous.
As late as 1878, the British Medical Journal printed the opinions of physicians who believed that menstruating women could cause bacon to become rancid.
Christianity associated the menstruating woman with the curse brought down by original sin.
The Catholic church used to object to women using tampons.
If you want to have a biblical viewpoint read Leviticus 15: 19 - 33 (New Literal Translation)
The BBC article goes on to examine the physiological changes that could affect performance but the bottom line is that women react differently and at differing levels of intensity.
We're the Millers
So what has this to do with writing? Well menstruation has been used in stories as a source of humour. The film 'We're the Millers' has a side swipe throughout on the subject often through the lady in the picture above. On the other hand why include it at all? If you write and feel that it is relevant okay but, rather like referring to Patrick Steele's haemorrhoids, is it relevant?
Similarly, there are plenty of physical frailties that may be important to a plot line but if there not - leave them out.
As a man living in a woman's world, and having lived with women, suffice it to say that discomfort in any form needs to be managed as well as it can be.