Ew but periods are gross, right?

So, on the back of a comment on a week-old post about Adria Richards, I tweeted:

It’s like I’m literally causing this dude physical pain by implying he should think for two seconds before making a cock joke in public.

And received this response:

So, where do you stand on say… women talking about their menstrual cycles (for example) in public ?

I asked if the tweeter in question thought talking about periods and making dick jokes were identical, and was told:

Identical? No. But why should women be allowed to talk about something that men may find offensive, and men cannot ?

So that went about exactly how I expected.

Here’s some obvious facts, which I charitably want to assume that maybe those of you who are confused on this point just haven’t thought about.

  • When a male-dominated industry or workplace tolerates a culture of constant “look at my masculinity” posturing – be it centrefolds in the locker rooms or dick jokes at conferences – this sends a pretty obvious signal as to what type of culture and perspective is welcomed in that industry or workplace
  • Dick jokes have not historically been treated with the same level of shame, silencing, and gross-dirtiness (as compared to aren’t-we-all-being-vulgar-blokes-together-dirtiness) that menstruation has.
  • People from oppressed groups talking about subjects which have traditionally been (a) taboo and (b) used to oppress them is not in remotely the same field as people from privileged groups talking about things which have been used to keep them on top of the foodchain.

So, yeah.  Sorry, dudes.  But cracking dick jokes in a crowded room at an industry conference when the industry is trying to address why it lacks diversity, and being informed that this isn’t cool, is not the same as people who menstruate challenging a status quo which tells them their bodies and biological functions are shameful and disgusting.

If you choose not to get that – and let’s be honest, it is a choice you are making because the situation ain’t that complex – then please, at least stop complaining to me about how hard it is to be a man.


There are some obvious parallels here with other privileged whinging about “why can Oppressed Group say X but not meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee?”  and I’m sure you can connect those dots.

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