So the other day I was tipped off about an online rant against the allegedly new and increasingly popular practice of ‘free bleeding,’ whereby menstruating women choose not to use tampons, pads or other feminine hygiene products.
Described in the headline as a “disturbing new feminist trend,” it was the funniest thing I had read in quite some time.
I’m not linking to the piece in question (it’s not hard to find it if you really want to) because of reasons that will soon become clear.
At first blush, it was hard to know where to even begin with the mockery. SO MUCH COMEDY GOLD.
Take, for example, the VERY FIRST SENTENCE:
“A disturbing new trend is on the rise, thanks to extreme feminist bloggers and activists everywhere.”
EXTREME FEMINIST BLOGGERS.
The (rather poorly written) piece goes on to explain the two-fold extreme feminist reasoning behind free bleeding — to wit: that periods are nothing to be ashamed about, and that “tampons, pads, and other feminine hygiene products are ‘man’ made inventions, intended to inadvertently rape a woman during her period, thus furthering her victim status as a woman living in a world run by men.”
But wait! It gets better!
“For any normal woman, however, this idea is horrifying, and for equally as many reasons as the idea is spoken in favor of. If you’re like myself, a proud, intelligent, educated, and body-conscious woman of modern times, the reasons why this is a bad and ugly practice are quite apparent to you. But for those of you who are not blessed with the acute observational skills such as myself, I will gladly share my wisdom with you.”
Because, obviously, if you don’t find this idea horrifying, you are not normal. Or intelligent and educated. Or of modern times. LOLOLOLOLOL.
I could go on picking this thing apart sentence by sentence, critiquing and laughing at the ‘wisdom’ offered to support the overarching thesis of VAGINAS AND PERIODS = EWWWWW but I won’t because a) it’s too easy and b) really, there’s no point.
I can’t resist sharing one more paragraph, however — IMO, the pièce de résistance:
“Secondly, it is a well known, documented, scientifically proven fact that women are naturally more unclean than men are.
It’s stated in the Bible, as well there have been studies done on the female anatomy to further my case. The female reproductive system alone is host to over 7,000 types of bacteria, some of which are helpful to the system, but many of which are not.
These bacteria work together to create the odor and excretions that the female genitalia has been notoriously known for. As women, we need all the extra help we can get to remain clean ‘down there,’ both for ourselves and for our partners.
Without the help of the many feminine hygiene products that are now available to us, through prescription and over the counter purchase, our special place would be an intolerable wasteland, of unbearable odors, discharge, and build up.
The fact that Feminists see no problem with adding blood and other types of monthly discharge to the mix is not only disgusting, but alarming and unhealthy.”
AN INTOLERABLE WASTELAND.
Now, if you’re like me — a person who may not describe herself as ‘a proud, intelligent, educated, and body-conscious woman of modern times’ but who most certainly is not a fucking idiot — you’re probably thinking a few things at this point: What the hell? Is this supposed to be satire? Is free-bleeding actually so popular as to warrant a trend piece? Did the author really just reference THE BIBLE as a scientific source? Who wrote this ridiculous piece of shit and what kind of publication would choose to run it?
Lucky for you, investigating such mysteries is part of my extreme feminist blogger contract. (That, along with being ugly, hating all men and loving cats.)
The publication is one Modern Woman Digest, which calls itself “an online portal for all things related to womanhood and the challenges we face in today’s society.”
More of a blog in form and feel, the site’s stated goal is “to open up new avenues of thought for females the world over and to promote the cornerstones of femininity – Motherhood, Family, Confidence, and Beauty.”
There’s the first tell. In my experience, the only people who refer to women as ‘females’ are military service folk and male sexist assholes.
The author, meanwhile, is one ‘Adora Bull.’ (There’s the second tell. Adora Bull? Really?) According to ‘Adora’s’ bio, she lives in New York and is a semi-amateur journalist, alternative model and national spokeswoman for Goths For Christ.
Yes, really, Goths For Christ. Here’s the Facebook page. I don’t even.
So, we’ve got a woman with a name that’s surely a pseudonym who’s supposedly into Goth culture but thinks blood is gross, writing a blog post that is trying OH SO HARD to solicit outrage from feminists and disgust from everyone else. (Because periods, remember, are the most disgusting things ever, what with the associated UNBEARABLE ODORS.)
Are your spidey senses tingling? Because mine sure were.
Before I had even Googled ‘Adora Bull,’ I was pretty sure she was a persona created by someone trolling for lulz — more than likely a young man or teenager with lady issues, judging by the multitude of juvenile euphemisms for female genitalia on display.
I learned that her claim to fame is being the author of a piece called “Top 5 Reasons Why I’m Glad Paul Walker is Dead,” published in the wake of the Fast and the Furious actor’s fatal car crash. (Which ‘cornerstone of femininity’ was Adora promoting with that one, I wonder?)
A trolling success, the post attracted the wrath of pissed-off Paul Walker fans and was circulated widely.
Fast-forward a few months and Adora’s latest attempt at shit-disturbing — this time via menstrual talk and feminist baiting — appears to be inspired (if not directly authored) by the notoriously juvenile and anti-woman Internet pranksters of 4chan, who recently decided to try and make free bleeding a thing. WHAT A SURPRISE.
The attempt seems only moderately successful.
On the one hand, the Modern Women Digest free-bleeding post has 399 comments on it including some from people who read it straight and subsequently chimed in with their own versions of VAGINAS AND PERIODS = EWWWWW.
On the other hand, Adora’s bluff got called out pretty quickly in the post’s comments and elsewhere online, and I haven’t heard boo about free bleeding on Twitter (yet) or in any of the other social media circles in which I run.
Also, one assumes I’m exactly the kind of person who’s supposed to be outraged by all the feminist hate spewed by Ms. Bull(shit), but I’m not — because, as we already established, I’m not a fucking idiot.
And yet, I’ve chosen to write about this post, fully aware that I’m likely giving the site even more traffic by doing so.
The reason for this is simple: I am an extreme feminist blogger (TAKING FEMINISM TO THE EXXXTREEEME!) and when I see an opportunity to educate, debunk myths and otherwise consciousness-raise about menstruation, I take it.
First, allow me to defend the choice to not use conventional tampons or pads — not because I think they were created “to inadvertently rape a woman during her period” but because such products are chemically bleached, chemically scented blends of cotton and rayon and/or plastic which are expensive, terrible for the environment, potentially toxic to humans, and usually marketed in a way that perpetuates the idea that menstruation is something that must be endured in secret due to its shameful, shameful dirtiness.
If someone wants to opt out of all that, I say more power to ’em.
And you know what? If someone wants to continue to use conventional tampons or pads, I’m cool with that, too. Because dictating what other people should or should not do with their own bodies is not very feminist.
Here’s a fun fact that does not come from the Bible: A usual amount of discharge for a typical menstrual period is about four to six tablespoons, or about two to three ounces.
Hardly the gushing torrent of blood our cultural narratives would have us believe, yes?
The truth is that containing a couple tablespoons of menstrual discharge every month isn’t really that difficult. Reusable cloth pads and menstrual cups are great, cost-efficient and eco-friendly alternatives to more-mainstream options.
However, they do require a person to occasionally come into direct contact with her/his menstrual blood (that’s right, folks, some men bleed, too! EXTREME INCLUSIVITY), which a lot of people are uncomfortable doing because our patriarchal culture is heavily invested in perpetuating the idea that menstrual blood is THE GROSSEST — the better to keep you distracted from your own oppression and take all your money, my dears.
And so the cycle (HAHA SEE WHAT I DID THERE) of baby-powder-scented shame continues because INTOLERABLE WASTELAND, while assholes are empowered to gleefully troll the world with the ‘edgy’ idea that periods and feminists are gross. Because, you know, no one’s ever heard THAT ONE before.