Why "You Must be On Your Period" Is Never the Right Thing to Say
By Thao Nguyen
Periods are not fun. I don’t think there’s a single person on this planet who would disagree with that statement. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never had or never will go through menstruation. Anyone who is a woman or has a woman should know by now that they’re uncomfortable and inconvenient at best, painful and debilitating at worst. But they’re something that have to be endured, oftentimes with a smile on our faces.
I’ve written about periods before and how important it is to discuss them. I completely understand why it can be a touchy subject to talk about for some, but one thing that I’ve always found confusing is why us ladies are expected to act like there’s nothing going wrong when we’re on our periods. We have to walk around with cramps, swamp butt, and blood potentially leaking at any moment, all while carrying on with our lives as normal. And sure, that’s all fine and dandy - the world doesn’t stop revolving just because our uteruses are shedding - but on top of that we have a crazy cocktail of hormones running through our bodies causing our emotions to go all wacky. So I’m not going to sit here and claim that periods don’t make us ladies act and feel a little differently than we normally would. Regardless, that doesn’t excuse the statement “you must be on your period.”
In my experience, this statement is usually made by people when I act “dramatic” or when I get mad, or emotional. It really doesn’t help that it’s usually a male saying it either. The biggest problem with this comment is that it attempts to invalidate a woman’s reactions or feelings. When someone says “you must be on your period,” what it translates to is “you’re acting crazy because of your hormones and your feelings aren’t valid right now.” It insinuates that a girl is being unreasonable and insane, and it’s all because she’s got too many hormones going through her. And that is so wrong. A person’s feelings should never be discounted, regardless of whether they are menstruating or not. Because those feelings are real and valid in that moment. It doesn’t matter if she is menstruating, ovulating, or not going through anything like that at all. A woman’s feelings and emotions are legitimate no matter what time of month it is. Yes, those feelings can be wrong or unfounded, but they are never fake.
This statement is a cheap way to end an argument shows a complete disregard for the other person’s feelings, and it also illustrates that the speaker has a really stereotyped and narrow idea of what it means to be on one’s period. By saying “you must be on your period,” the speaker is reducing a woman’s feelings to nothing more than hormone induced craziness. It suggests that the speaker is the only reasonable and balanced person just because they aren’t on their period. When spelled it, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? So it’s time to throw “you must be on your period” away and find a better way to respond to a woman during an argument.