My Bloodied Panties.


Yes, we all bleed.

I am not ashamed of the fact.

I just don’t think it is necessary for me to celebrate it by bleeding all over the place so that other women will feel more powerful. Neither do I particularly want to see other women bleed. I accept other women’s word that they bleed. I don’t need to see their underwear or their bed sheets. I don’t polygraph women I meet so that I can sort my friends into “bleeders” and “non-bleeders” and relegate the “non-bleeders” into the ineffective, powerless women pile.

We read about periods all the way back in the Bible and other texts of the time where it was the practice to have women remove themselves from the other people and go off and live in a tent until their period was over. If the Nasty Bleeder’s Movement (aka the Women’s Movement) had been involved, they would have been angry about them being segregated.  They would have fought for the rights of these women to be able to powerfully bleed anywhere they wanted to, including all over the town, the people and their families. Then there would be no need for all this fuss today because we probably wouldn’t even be here. Blood contains germs that can cause serious infections and while women may have experienced euphoric episodes that could be described as powerful, they probably would have wiped out the rest of their people with some kind of plague.  You know .. the heat, no big box of sanitary pads, not a lot of opportunities to bathe … that kind of thing. BUT you can’t argue that efforts to have women celebrate themselves and assert their right to equality by bleeding everywhere would have been more “fair” to the women. Who likes to have to go to a separate tent for a week or more? That seems pretty cruel. After all, apply the Nasty Bleeder’s Movement primary litmus test to the problem and they have a point. Men don’t have to do it.  Go on, say it with a whine.  It sounds much more realistic that way.  Remember, above all else, all women want everything a man has and more.  We want to bleed publicly.

I never bled with my girls. I did wash some of their underwear and sheets. Leakage was not an everyday kind of thing. Perhaps they were withholding, saving it up for one powerful bleed when they could impress other women? Maybe get a better job or something?  Does that work? Kind of like withholding the orgasm over and over and then getting a big pay-off?  What about clots?  Do clots make you more of a woman?

Even when I was having miscarriages and other problems that caused me to almost bleed to death, I never found the need to pull off my underwear and let it go. I freely admit I did not celebrate. I was actually kind of preoccupied with fighting for my life. And I never bought special underwear. I had underwear, but it was just ordinary underwear. As a mom, with kids, there were a lot of other things that collected my hard earned dollars. I figured I would not die if my underwear was just serviceable and did not cost $100.00. My sheets? Well, thank heavens for Grandma’s overstuffed linen closet. We did our bit with stains though.  Three of us, we stained but again missed out on the celebrating part of it.  Or is laundry celebrating?  Maybe I used the wrong laundry soap?  I did my best to get them out but sadly, many of the stains were stubborn.  We evidently bleed powerful blood.  Does that count for anything?  I washed everything and we used them again. We didn’t have a lot of friends or family who insisted on inspecting our sheets or underwear although I realize now, we should have probably displayed them in some kind of shadow box on the wall.  Throwing them out was not a luxury I could afford, at least not until they either were worn through or the elastic started going. Such is the life of real moms. Never really thought of it being such a big deal until lately. I had no idea there were special panties for your period.

I bled. I am having problems understanding the “shame” I was supposed to have been forced to feel. No-one ever said I couldn’t, or that I shouldn’t bleed. No-one ever made me carry my products in a brown paper bag. I have a house and products that prevent the need for a tent in the back yard where I should be banished to for a week each month. I never let my husband wear my panties.  My husband has always been happy to buy my tampons and pads. He has even washed the sheets and panties without ever acting like he was disgusted. I think most women are “free” to bleed and do not have men trying to take that away from them. I feel sorry for the women who marched, that they have encountered such opposition to their monthlies.

I am clear that sanitary supplies are different from medicines and never considered that I should total up the costs of the items in our bathroom to make sure that his and mine come to the same amount. I don’t see a conspiracy here. In fact, I am kind of lost as to how the dots connect at all on this picture.

I also know that other people have ear wax and nose snot. The fact they do not celebrate it nor share it with me has never been considered as “shame.” My not bleeding for my sisters is not born of shame. It is actually kind of a line of respect for me. I really appreciate those people for keeping it all to themselves.  Sharing blood is not gong to make me bond with anyone. Sorry. Just me. If other women feel so “powerless” that they need to examine their underwear together or sit naked and bleed, they should do that, by all means. Bleed away. But, please stop assuming that the rest of us need to or want to do that. And please, understand that the last thing I feel is powerless. It is amazing the doors that have opened to me and I may be wrong, but I do believe it has happened, at least in part, due to the fact that I did not bleed all over the furniture.

Bleeding is power? Celebrating that we bleed? Sorry. I want to celebrate that we as women are bonded together by our purpose. We are the mothers of creation. We have the power to create life. We heal. We see the world around us and speak. We pull people together, we care for them. We are the heartbeat of humanity. THAT is POWER. That is what I want to celebrate. As for my stained panties? They probably only stand as a testament to my inability to perfect stain removal. I was never really distressed about that failure but neither was I moved to celebrate the stains. The stains on special “period” panties? Is that really what we want to reduce women to? Is this our focus when our sisters are being raped and killed by men who feel they own them? Their genitals are mutilated. Little girls are groomed and married off or sold into sexual slavery.  Perhaps THAT is where our anger should be focused. They bleed too but as their blood stains the ground beneath them, how can anyone celebrate? I doubt many of them even have panties.

I should probably confess that I have had a hysterectomy.  I no longer bleed at all.  I guess I should probably stop talking as if I were some kind of a woman or something and go and stand with the men’s team so that the bleeders can throw things at me.  Should I hand in my panties before I go?

There has been so much energy and money put into creating a public display with performances aimed to shoot arrows at men. The feminists have led women to stand before the world naked. Women have burned their bras and have waved their bloodied panties in everyone’s face. Now what? What has that accomplished? Who have they helped? Imagine if all that energy and attention could have been turned to real issues that women face! We could set the world on fire with the real power of sisterhood. Now that would be something worth celebrating!

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