Gloria Steinem schreef in 1978 een hilarisch essay over een wereld waarin bepaalde rollen waren omgedraaid: If Men Could Menstruate. Een feministisch essay dat alles in zijn perspectief plaatst. ‘Als mannen konden menstrueren, zouden ze natuurlijk opscheppen over hoe lang en hoe veel. Yeah man, I’m on the rag!’ Een paar fragmenten:
So what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not? Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, worthy, masculine event: men would brag about how long and how much.
Young boys would talk about it as the envied beginning of manhood. Gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties would mark the day.
Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free. Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige of such commercial brands as Paul Newman Tampons, Muhammad Ali’s Rope-a-Dope Pads, John Wayne Maxi Pads, and Joe Namath Jock Shields- ‘For Those Light Bachelor Days.’
Generals, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists would cite menstruation (‘men-struation’) as proof that only men could serve God and country in combat (You have to give blood to take blood’’), occupy high political office (Can women be properly fierce without a monthly cycle governed by the planet Mars?’’), be priests, ministers, God Himself (‘He gave this blood for our sins’), or rabbis (‘Without a monthly purge of impurities, women are unclean’).
Street guys would invent slang (‘He’s a three-pad man’) and ‘give fives’ on the corner with some exchenge like, ‘Man you lookin’ good!’. ‘Yeah, man, I’m on the rag!’
Men would convince women that sex was more pleasurable at “that time of the month.”
Of course, intellectuals would offer the most moral and logical arguements. Without the biological gift for measuring the cycles of the moon and planets, how could a woman master any discipline that demanded a sense of time, space, mathematics– or the ability to measure anything at all? In philosophy and religion, how could women compensate for being disconnected from the rhythm of the universe? Or for their lack of symbolic death and resurrection every month?
Menopause would be celebrated as a positive event, the symbol that men had accumulated enough years of cyclical wisdom to need no more.
Liberal males in every field would try to be kind. The fact that ‘these people’ have no gift for measuring life, the liberals would explain, should be punishment enough.