Okay, so a few weeks ago, I heard about this ad campaign for milk. Apparently, ‘got milk?’ is getting kind of old.
Do you know what’s not getting old? Jokes about PMS.
Alright, so hold off your groaning for a second. I know that I have a tendency to get a little offended and huffy about stuff like that, but then again, I’m only a woman. Maybe I’m PMSing! Quick, somebody get me some milk!
Seriously, though, I get why somebody thought it would be funny. I’m not going to lie, PMS does cause cramps, headaches, back-aches, and irritability, so yeah, maybe we aren’t that much fun to be around while all that’s going on. That’s not what I’m getting offended about.
What I take issue with is the underlying implication that three fourths of the time, women are cheerful and pleasant, but for one week a month we’re irrational monsters filled with rage for no other reason than hormonal imbalances. It’s like, every time a woman gets angry about anything, it has to be her hormones. As if it’s not okay for a woman to be angry for any other reason. Actually, I’ve noticed that in popular culture, there are only four reasons that women portrayed usually ever get angry:
1. It’s their ‘time of the month’.
2. They’re being portrayed as a bitch (heartless or otherwise).
3. They’re defending a child/family member/significant other.
4. They’re standing up for themselves/others. Self-righteous anger.
The first two reasons, let’s just say it, are crap. Not every woman gets angry during their time, and not every woman who is angry is experiencing PMS. Portraying angry women as bitches is as much of a cop out as portraying all jocks as mean-spirited idiots, all intelligent people as socially awkward, or all men as sex-obsessed jackasses. It’s cliched, it’s inaccurate, and most of all, it’s unfair. As for the last two, I resent the assumption that the only anger a woman can feel without appearing bitchy and irrational is righteous anger, or anger on the behalf of someone else.
People say women are crazy. Maybe the reason that we’re so crazy is because society shoves the message, “Girls should be nice” down our throats before we’re even old enough to talk. I’m not suggesting anyone be mean instead of being nice. I prefer being nice to people, actually. What I’m saying is that we don’t confuse ‘be nice’ with ‘don’t be angry’. Repressed anger is the reason women are so crazy. Instead of telling girls and women to hold in their anger, we should ask them to acknowledge it. Say, “I am angry because…”, and then move on. Then, maybe women wouldn’t be so crazy.
I mean, we’re expected to hold our anger in, and not let it show. No, more than that, most of the time we’re expected to not get angry at all. That’s ridiculous. Women are human. We get angry. It’s okay.
Anyway, I am glad they changed the stupid ad. Also, I’m glad that the sheer stupidity of that campaign gave me a jumping off point to address this topic. It’s something that’s been bugging me for a while. Actually, I was feeling kind of angry about it. Expressing that anger has made me feel a lot better.