Disappeared sanitary napkins, ignored women

Gender neutrality does not mean gender equality


A woman had her period while taking the high-speed train, but sanitary napkins could not be bought on the high-speed train. Finally, the flight attendant found one for her. So the lady put forward the hope on the Internet that the high-speed rail can sell sanitary napkins, so that all women can avoid the same embarrassing situation as her.
But this request was rejected on the grounds that “sanitary napkins are personal items”. In the heated discussions on the Internet, people who also objected said that it is impossible to accept the sanitary napkins and food on the high-speed rail carts. Some people said that this situation is a small probability, there is no need to do anything special, women should bring their own, or even Some people still don’t know what is going on with menstruation and sanitary napkins.
In this discussion, the embarrassment of women and the inability of sanitary napkins to go to the “elegant hall” nakedly showed the taboo of menstruation and the gender culture of inequality that followed. Menstruation (and menstrual products) are considered to be hidden from others, and women with this characteristic are devalued.
Therefore, today I want to share 8 books by reading alone, to uncover the mystery of the taboo of menstruation, and to see the shackles that this culture imposes on women. If the ancient stigma of menstruation came from ignorance, we want to find an answer to the fact that modern society is still secretive about this natural physiological phenomenon and the needs of women are naturally ignored.


“The Girl of the Maple House”

Menarche: Frightened, afraid of embarrassment


“Girls in the Mapo Linshe” is a record of oral interviews with 11 daughters of Zhejiang Forestry Department employees. Most of the interviewees were born around the 1960s. Scholars recorded the life history and life history of women under the historical changes of the Republic. The following conversation is from an interview with one of the interviewees, who described her ignorance and fear and shame about menarche in an age without sex education.

Q: How old is your first menstrual period? What did you do then? How does it feel?

A: Even at the age of 15, when Kar Chenguang was in junior high school, he encountered menarche, and he was so frightened that he bleed a lot of blood, thinking that he was about to die.

Q: After menstruation, how did you know about menstruation and treatment? Who makes or buys related items for you?

A: At that time, my mother didn’t come to Hangzhou to come to Xiao Mian to work, and she went back to the house once a week. Then after the menstrual period, it was my sister who used the sanitary tape she used herself. At first, I didn’t know if it was a condom. I thought it was like wearing bibs and wearing a high-shouldered head. Because the belt is too short to wear, I scolded my sister. She said that even if a condom is used, it will be worn with a high waist and a high head. If a condom is hung up on the shoulders, what is it! Makes it even embarrassing to be embarrassed.

Q: When and how did you know you became an adult? How did it feel then?

A: That Chenguang doesn’t know what it is called an adult, but only the second day after menstruation comes. It is the normal physiological condition of each female child.

Q: How did your family and neighbors view you when you had your period? Is it different from usual? Why?

A: There is no difference. Because on the second day of menarche, the school organized the puppets to go to Daguan Mountain orchard to learn farming and labor. A week later, when my mother came back from Xiaoshan, my sister told her to fix something, and my mother even rushed to the Daguan Mountain orchard to work for the puppets. When looking at the place, Mao is not worried about it. I’m afraid of being embarrassed, thinking that the whole class must know that I’m getting my period, so I don’t care about my mother, Karmao thinks it’s too naive. My mother “travels all the way” to see and care for her, and she ignores her.

Q: How did family members and neighbors view menstruation at that time?

A: I remember my friends who were with us. It was Guo Yun who had her period at the earliest. My friends wanted to laugh at her.

Q: How did you feel about your period and your future menstrual experience? Why?

A: At that time, when I had my period, I was quite happy, because my body was weak and weak, and some people called me a jerk, but I felt a little dark in my heart, and I felt that I couldn’t grow up. Now, Mao is worried. I heard adults say that when menstruation comes, it is to be an adult. I feel that I will still grow up, and I will be a crooked person in the future. So, I was secretly happy in my heart.

Q: Tell me one thing about menstruation that impressed you the most at that time.

Answer: Occasionally, I have chest pains before menstruation, and I can feel hard lumps. Every time I have a situation, I will secretly call back to the house to get a hot water bottle, and I will burn my chest, just like summer. Yes, my heart is full of panic, full of panic, do I feel that I have a problem? Is it cancer? Why are there lumps? I didn’t dare to ask the adults, but my heart was panicking. When menstruation came, my waist was sour and sour. I went to the toilet to see that it was full of blood, and I was frightened. I quickly came back and hid in the quilt hole and rested. I felt that I was about to die. Backache and mixed blood, must be dying, really panic (fear).


Documentary “Monthly Revolution”


“Feelings and Sexuality of Chinese Women”

This is still the case in modern society and can only be seen as stubborn and ignorant


Li Yinhe’s “Feelings and Sexuality of Chinese Women” was written 20 years ago and interviews Chinese women of different ages, occupations and education levels. She found that very young women have positive and positive feelings about menarche. Although people in modern society no longer believe in the hypothesis of stigmatizing menstruation, disgust and fear still affect contemporary women.

Why should we be disgusted, feared, ashamed, rather than rejoiced, at a normal physiological phenomenon that even represents physical growth? Li Yinhe analyzed that one is because of the low status of women, and the other is because of asceticism trying to cover up women’s secondary sexual characteristics.

Girls feel very different about menarche, and these feelings can be summed up as: 1. fear caused by ignorance; 2. shame caused by negative perception of the event , a sense of disgust and even a sense of inferiority; three, as a normal thing. But the survey found that very few people have positive feelings about the event, such as the euphoria caused by the expectation of becoming a mature woman, the pride caused by the positive view of the event, and so on.

1. Know nothing about menstrual cramps in advance

Many of the respondents were ignorant of menstrual cramps beforehand. This has to do with the atmosphere of the times when they enter adolescence, and the way this kind of information is spread among their peers (sisters, classmates, friends). Surveys have shown that prior ignorance often causes women to have a negative view of their own biological characteristics, such as fear or disgust.

2. Know a little about menstrual cramps in advance

Girls who know about this physiological phenomenon in advance have less fear, but many people still feel disgusted: “I have my period since I was 14 years old. But I’m still very nervous. I especially don’t want this kind of thing to happen. It feels dirty, troublesome, and painful. Every time I come, my back and stomach hurt.”

In general, menstrual cramps are a major event in a woman’s life and an important juncture in making women realize that they have gender differences with men. From the experiences and feelings of the women I interviewed, although many people can see it as a natural thing from the beginning or as they age, many people do experience menarche out of ignorance. Fear, or being influenced by the opinions of those around you, produces negative feelings such as uncleanness and disgust for this physiological phenomenon that is unique to women.

This situation is not unique to China, not only many less developed countries have similar situations or harsher negative views and customs about menstruation, but even Europe, which we think is the most open and civilized, was in the Middle Ages of. … In fact, this negative view of menstruation goes back even further. …Though people no longer believe these hypotheses, menstruation fears continue to shape perceptions of menstruating women to this day.

Why is there so much misunderstanding, fear and even disgust about the harmless physiological phenomenon of menstruation? The reason first comes from ignorance. It is understandable for human ancestors to misunderstand unexplainable physiological phenomena. However, in modern society, fear and disgust towards a natural physiological phenomenon can only be regarded as stubborn. Second, the negative evaluation of menstrual cramps reflects the low status of women – because of women’s low status, some physical phenomenon of her will be disgusting; finally, the fear and disgust of menstrual cramps reflect There is a psychological tendency of asceticism, because it is a signal that a little girl is beginning to transform into a mature woman, and its disgust shows a desire to stay in the stage of a girl and not to become a woman. This kind of psychology arises from the social atmosphere that does not want to reveal but tries to hide the secondary sexual characteristics of women, and this social atmosphere is peculiar to the ascetic culture.


Documentary “#WomenDefeat Women’s War”


“What’s the Use of Feminism”

Girls can’t go to school because of ‘menstrual poverty’


The book “What’s the Use of Feminism” asks 40 questions about women, covering political participation, marriage, family, workplace, and more. In the body-related chapters, the author illustrates the devaluation of women’s physical characteristics in Western culture, where the womb and menstruation are associated with negative terms such as filth, regression, and hysteria.

On the one hand, menstruation is taboo, and women have to use hygiene products to prevent others from knowing they are going through their periods. Good hygiene products, but also ashamed to let menstrual blood ooze out and not be able to go to school. To address this, the governments of India and Kenya have made schools provide free menstrual supplies.

Throughout history, women’s bodies have been problematic for men of any nation and creed. It reflects the paradox that women are seen as both very powerful and very weak; both very attractive and very disgusting. This is especially evident in the taboos surrounding menstruation that still exist in every country today. The 15th chapter of the Book of Leviticus tells us: “A woman who walks through her passages shall be defiled for seven days… Whoever touches her bed shall be unclean until evening, and shall wash her clothes and bathe in water.” The first appeared in AD 73 The Latin Encyclopedia declares that, if exposed to menstrual blood, “new wine will become sour, crops will wither, grafted crops will die, the seeds of the garden will wither, the fruit of the trees will fall off, the blades of weapons will become dull, and the ivory will shine. It will darken, the swarm will die, and even bronze and iron will rust at once.” Wait a minute, the women might be shouting, it’s not that bad! How does menstruation capture the male imagination so strongly?

In the feminist text The Damned: A Cultural History of Menstruation (1976), sociologists Janice Delaney, Mary Jane Lupton and Emily Toth (Emily Toth) discusses contraindications regarding menstruation. They found that Aristotle, the “father of Western science”, had declared that the role of men in reproduction was to provide “active substances” (sperm), while the role of women was to passively receive, and he was convinced that men were superior. Women don’t seem to produce anything during sex, so semen is thought to be an active, productive substance. Menstrual blood in women, on the other hand, is associated with miscarriage and lack of vitality and is therefore considered “regressive”, implying a passivity towards death. (This may be a big source of those stubborn myths: “Men are active and productive, while women are passive and do nothing.”)

Then, the uterus came into the spotlight as the cause of female impotence. The Persian physician and philosopher Ibn Sina once said, “The uterus is the weakness of the woman.” By the 18th century, the English physician John Freed linked menstrual blood to hysteria. His reasoning suggested that if men bleed that much, they would also be “hysterical”. A new idea emerged: The bleeding tendency in women is not only a cause of weakness, but also a cause of mental disorders. Women are naturally hysterical because of their bodies (a view that went all the way to Freud, leading to the establishment of the discipline of psychoanalysis).

Under the long-term influence of men’s theories about the female reproductive organs, many women began to believe them. Maybe, menstrual blood doesn’t cause the fruit to fall off the tree, but it’s still a strictly taboo subject and shouldn’t be discussed even between women. Anti-menstrual poverty campaigners around the world argue that taboos around menstruation are depriving girls of education. Girls often cannot go to school because they can’t afford expensive hygiene products, and they have to deal with menstrual blood with rags, newspapers and plastic bags to prevent it from seeping into their clothes. In 2017, girls all over the world faced the situation, with the exception of girls in India and Kenya, as governments in both countries began to address the problem by providing free menstrual supplies in schools. Elsewhere, the issue is “gracefully” ignored. Girls who can’t afford hygiene products are being punished for “absenteeism” during their periods and long-term failure to make academic progress.


Documentary “Monthly Revolution”



“Take care of your hygiene products, don’t let your father, brother and brother see it”


Chizuru Ueno’s classic work “Misogyny” reveals to the public the misogyny that has already sneaked into every aspect of daily life, “like the gravity of an object, it is so taken for granted that people hardly realize it”. Misogyny manifests not only as “feminine contempt” in men, but also as “self-loathing” in women. The perpetuation of “menstrual shame” is not only a result of men’s devaluation and rejection of women, but also reinforced by the mother’s self-loathing ingrained in her daughter’s heart. The girl received the message that “sanitary pads are personal items and cannot be seen by others”, which first came from her mother’s warning.

Women’s misogyny is learned from the mother. The mother rooted a sense of self-loathing in her daughter’s heart by disgusting her daughter’s “femininity”, and the daughter despised her mother by witnessing her mother’s dissatisfaction and disappointment. When a girl is having her first period and tells her mother, if the mother replies “You have finally become a woman” in a tone that seems to be filthy, it will hurt many girls; Don’t let your father, brother and brother see the supplies.” This will make the girl not only can’t be happy with the changes in her body, but will have a sense of shame that she must hide from others.

At the same time, the children also saw that the mother, who appeared as the first absolute power in the child’s life, served and was controlled by a more powerful one.

Her mother’s disappointment was mixed with her powerlessness that she couldn’t change the status quo. While the mother cursed her own life, she imposed the same life on her daughter, causing her daughter’s hatred. The daughter sees her mother as a negative teacher who “doesn’t want to be that kind of person”, but at the same time she knows that in order to release her mother’s bondage, she must rely on the power of others (men). Moreover, she also had a hunch that the man she committed to might be exactly the same as the father who unreasonably dominated her mother, and she was afraid and uneasy about it.

In vain the endless loop of no exits can be seen.


The movie “Indian Partner”


“Invisible Women”

The so-called equality is actually biased towards men


Only women need sanitary napkins, and only women who menstruate while riding the high-speed rail and do not have their own sanitary napkins need sanitary napkins, so this is a small probability demand and should not be met. When male netizens opposed the sale of sanitary napkins on high-speed rail, they compared women’s demand for sanitary napkins with the need for medication for “special” diseases, emphasizing the non-routine and unnecessary nature of women’s demands. But this is only reasonable in the eyes of men (perhaps in part), and what everyone needs is a necessity, and everyone here is equivalent to a healthy adult male.

In the book “Invisible Women”, the inequalities behind many forms of equality are revealed. The author shows us how the society we are accustomed to operates with the needs of men, while the needs of women are not seen. For example, it is unfair and unreasonable to see women’s physiological characteristics and child-rearing needs in equal public toilet areas for men and women. In the United Kingdom and the United States, where gender culture is more advanced, there are also cases where menstrual supplies are lacking in the materials provided for free, because women cannot see the risk of illness and restricted movement that women face when they lack menstrual supplies. And what is asked in this debate is only to sell.

However, gender-specific supplies are not only about safety, but also about health. In the UK, homeless shelters can (and do) ask the NHS for free condoms, but not for free period supplies. So shelters can only provide free period supplies if they happen to have spare money (unlikely) or if they receive donations. In 2015, a campaign group called Menstrual Homelessness petitioned the UK government to provide menstrual supplies like condoms. Despite questions raised in parliament, government funding has not been forthcoming, but in March 2017 the campaign announced a partnership with sanitary pad brand Bodyform to donate 200,000 packs of hygiene products by 2020. Activists in the U.S. have had more success: In 2016, New York City became the first city in the U.S. to provide free tampons and pads in public schools, homeless shelters and correctional facilities. Refugee women are also not immune to a global, chronic neglect: women menstruate. Funding for this basic need is often not available, with the result that women and young girls may not be able to access menstrual products for years. Even where hygiene products were provided, they were traditionally “designed for distribution to households and not adjusted for the number of menstruating women in each household”. The cultural taboos of menstruation are also often not designed with regard to menstruation: women are expected to be able to request menstrual products from male employees or in the presence of male family members; and culturally appropriate products or treatments are not offered. This disparity in supply affects women’s health and freedom. One study found that more than 50% of women “have UTIs that are often untreated” due to having to use unhygienic alternatives (“rags, moss, mattress fragments”). And “due to the stigma of menstruation and the risk of menstrual leakage”, women’s movement was restricted and they were unable to “access food, services, information, and interact with others”.

Closing the gender data gap will not magically solve all the problems women face, whether they are displaced or not.

Achieving this goal will require a massive restructuring of society and an end to male violence. But recognizing the fact that gender neutrality does not mean gender equality will be an important start. And with sex-disaggregated data, it’s certainly harder to insist that women’s needs can be completely ignored in pursuit of the greater good, since all the evidence points to the opposite.


Documentary “For the Mother”


Deserved Rights: How Male Privilege Hurts Women

How difficult it is for people to value, believe and understand women’s pain


Modern medicine is also male-centred. According to “Deserved Rights”, women’s pain descriptions are not believed by doctors, women may physically feel more pain than men, but they are attributed to psychological reasons and are pretending to be sick. Likewise, women who feel uneasy about the possibility of menstruation at any time will be seen in this debate as troublesome, intolerable, and unable to take care of themselves. At the same time, it is also a fact that women’s menstrual pain has not received medical attention.

Samlowitz and her colleagues found a peculiar phenomenon in which physicians were reluctant to believe women’s descriptions of pain without obvious physiological markers, such as fibromyalgia, which is more common in women. In general, when it comes to these conditions, “women’s narratives about their medical experiences show… how difficult it is to get doctors to value, believe, and understand their pain during the medical treatment process.” In general, “women with pain symptoms are seen as hysterical, emotional, complaining, they don’t want to improve their physical condition, they just pretend to be sick, imagine and fabricate pain symptoms. Other research shows that women with chronic pain symptoms…  …their pain was diagnosed as a psychological rather than a physical cause”. In contrast, “Men are described as being patient, they can endure pain and deny feeling pain… Not only that, but men are also described as self-disciplined, emotionally controlled, reluctant to seek medical advice, reluctant to talk about themselves of pain”.

As we have already seen, there is in fact evidence that women, in general, may experience more pain than men given the same noxious stimuli. But it doesn’t address the question of whether men are more stoic than women — that is, whether they’re just more “tolerant” of the same amount of pain. If there is sufficient evidence, then the health care provider has reason to believe that if a man says he is in pain, he must be in real pain—or, indeed, in very, very much pain, far more than he describes himself Degree.


Documentary “She is the most beautiful when she is angry”


“Feminism from scratch”

“The so-called privilege of the strong is to be able to imagine the weak without imagining the weak”


In a patriarchal society, it is easier for men to have more resources, and it is difficult to imagine the lack of rights for women.

Ueno The so-called privilege of the strong is that they do not have to imagine the weak. Because of imbalanced power relations, the weak are directly oppressed and therefore have to think. The weak must consider the strong and imagine the strong, but the strong do not need to imagine the weak. Therefore, when they encounter some things, they will behave very sluggishly. For example, when his wife is discriminated against in the company, some uncles will say “everyone is like this”, and once their daughter is discriminated against when looking for a job, they will be furious.

Tian Fang, what the hell is going on?

Ueno Actually, this is easy to understand. Because the wife is an outsider and the daughter is a family member. Daughter is like his appendage. Until their accessories encounter problems, men will be aware of it and regard it as their own business. It’s understandable here, but those people just can’t imagine that their daughter will be the object of other men’s reckless sexual stare, and he may have done that to others himself. Why is the uncle so slow (angry)!


Documentary “Monthly Revolution”


Women and Power: A Manifesto

“A woman who speaks publicly is no longer a woman”


Every time a woman makes a demand, she is asked to shut up. A woman who has never mastered the skills of public speaking, her speech must be full of fallacies, illogical, regardless of the overall situation, she must be a pungent, troublesome, ulterior motive or used by others. I hope that the content shared today can be listened to without prejudice.

However, there is more behind it all. Women’s “aphasia” does not simply reflect their general lack of rights in the classical world: they do not have the right to vote, they are not fully legally and financially autonomous, and so on. This only constitutes part of the reason for “aphasia” – since women in ancient times were not entitled to any formal political leverage, it should come as no surprise that they had little to say in the political realm. But the isolation of women from public discourse that we are discussing here is a more active one, with richer implications. This isolation also affects our traditions, our customs, and our many underlying assumptions about female voices more than we realize. What I mean is that public speaking and the practice of oratory are not just things that ancient women didn’t do: they are activities and skills that are exclusively male, by which the gender identity of males is defined. Becoming a man (or at least being an elite man), as we saw in the case of Tramarcus, means asserting the right to speak. Public speech is a defining characteristic—if not the only one—of male identity. Or we could quote a slogan well known in Rome, that a standard elite male citizen is a vir bonus dicendi peritus, “a good man of words”. And in most cases, a woman who speaks out is, by definition, not a woman.

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