I was not going to write about hormones for Wicked Wednesday this week as it is subject that I have covered before but then I read Hormones by Honey and I changed my mind. Her post made me realise just how fucking lucky I am when it comes to the roller coaster ride of female reproductive hormones.
Don’t get me wrong I am not immune to the little fuckers. About 2-3 days prior to my period starting I tend to be prone to tearful outbursts often triggered by the silliest of things which the rest of the time would barely register on my radar and/or generally feeling sorry for myself and that little pity party of hormone induced crazy is often repeated a day or so after my period comes to an end. Mostly it is just really annoying because I know it is happening, I know it is hormones and yet it happens anyway. The self-knowledge can sometimes be comforting as I know it will pass but more often than not it just makes me all the more irritable that I am so prone to feminine weakness.
I have to wonder how many women just read the end of the last paragraph nodding in agreement. I think no matter how bad your PMT is, or is not, what I have described will be familiar in some degree or other to most women and I think that is some of the problem. We have all been taught that our periods and the way in which our female hormones affect us are a weakness. It is what makes us fragile little flowers prone to emotional outbursts. It is why for centuries we have been viewed as less intelligent than men, less able to make decisions, less focused, just plain old, less…. and it is fucking bullshit. There is nothing less about me because I am female, female hormones do not make me less of a person, but that is not what society has taught me. Society has made me believe that having PMT is a weakness, rather than just being part of natural female cycle, something to learn to live with, you/we are constantly sent the message that our periods and the resulting hormone roller coaster is something to be ashamed of, to be quiet about and I hate that. Actually my hormones are my strength, they keep my body healthy, they allowed to conceive, carry, birth and breast feed two children and they are the power house of my sex drive. Yes sometimes they make me cranky but anyone would think being cranky was purely a female thing when it fact the only female part of it is that we get it on a schedule, unlike men who just have to guess when they are going to be moody grumpy fuckers.
As I said at the beginning I know that in the hormone stakes I have, so far, been fairly lucky. My periods appear like absolute clockwork as does my little dose of the PMT dragon. The only time in my life when I have had problems was caused by taking the pill which worked brilliantly as a contraceptive by completely and utterly killing off my sex drive. Needless to say when I finally realised what was going on, took me about 6 months mind you, I stopped taking them. It took about 2 weeks for my body to settle down and my juices, quite literally, begin to flow again.
Yes I am looking at it in very simple terms and I am aware that for some women like Honey and many others when our hormones get out of whack things can be really challenging and getting help to manage them is vital, but that challenge is not helped by the underlying ‘feminine weakness’ narrative that is still, sadly, all to prevalent and as a result ingrained in us as women. We are constantly taught that steady and calm is the desirable medium, that emotions are weaknesses, that periods are a messy inconvenience at best and a disgusting shameful problem at worst. We are never taught that what makes us female is wonderful, clever, amazing, powerful and strong and yet the very thing that has been used to shame us and keep us in our place for generations is the thing that makes us women and there is nothing weak about being a woman.
Well said, Molly, and absolutely true. It seems as if female hormones are feared. Reminds me of the “female hysteria” treatments from the Victorian Age.
I swear, men have hormone fluctuations, too, and I would go so far as saying they get a “man period”. They would never admit to it, though!
I absolutely agree about the Victorian ‘female hysteria’ ideas and I think deep down many of those ‘beliefs’ are still widely perpetuated
Indeed, we are not weak because of the hormones, but they make us strong and amazing, even though they sometimes make us cranky and sick too.
Love this post and love the photograph that you’ve put with it. I too am pretty blessed in the hormones and period stakes. But I’ll never forget when I worked at a bookies (a big one where all the staff/managers were male except me) and I was having a bit of a bad time with PMT. I walked into work, one of the managers said hello, and I burst into tears. I was mortified but I just couldn’t stop crying. It never happened again (well not due to PMT) but it’s stuck with me because I hated how out of control of my own body I felt.
“we get it on a schedule, unlike men who just have to guess when they are going to be moody grumpy fuckers.” made me chuckle
And yes, yes, yes, absolutely agree that it is considered a weakness and shameful. How beautiful to point that out
Bloody love this post. I can hear you talking! The thing that also fucks me off is men (but sometimes women!) will sometimes dismiss valid anger/frustration with a snide ‘oh, it’s probably PMT’…not, actually…you’ve been a cunt/wound me up/taken claim for my work/undermined etc and I am legitimately pissed off and calling you out…! Xx
When I first read this I could hear the ‘you lucky, lucky bastard’ quote from the Life of Brian in my head! As you say, it’s only when they get out of whack you realise just how much they controls us, evil fuckers!
None of us should be ashamed of them though, they are what they are, we all live and adapt to how they affect us. The ones who should be ashamed are those that blame us for being weaker because of them. I can’t tell you how often I hear ‘it must be that time of the month’ from colleagues, not one of them consider I’m raging because of their actions or words and nothing to do with hormones!
Thanks for writing this Molly!