Dear Woman,

I’m male & I don’t find menstruation to be disgusting or weird in any way. It’s a totally normal body function, like everything else. I’m curious, then, what’s your opinion about why some men think menstruation is bad?

Sincerely, Person from Personville, PA.

Dear Person,

First off, it’s good to hear that you don’t think normal bodily functions are disgusting or weird, because that would be, well, weird. Or just really immature. I can’t actually think of many men who hold that opinion, unless they’re under the age of 15, have no experience with women whatsoever, or get their information from porn and misogynistic Reddit threads with names like Women are Gross, Why Won’t They Sleep With Us? Teenage boys probably think that once a month our pee is replaced with blood and gushes from us like that elevator scene in The Shining, capsizing everything in its wake. And, yeah, that’s a little gross and scary, but that’s not reality. (Though sometimes it does feel that way.)

I don’t think the majority of grown men find menstruation to be disgusting. If anything, it’s just another reason to fear us. It’s like that saying, “I don’t trust anything that bleeds for a week and doesn’t die.” I think a lot of men are afraid of women because they know how powerful we are and fear they cannot control us the way they want to. It’s much easier to disguise your fear as disgust and hatred, and that’s how those feelings end up manifesting in a lot of men. Like, I’m afraid of snakes and I’ve probably said I hated them dozens of times. Thing is, I don’t actually hate them. I think snakes are cool and beautiful, they just scare me and I don’t trust or understand them.

Some men don’t like to think of women as human, because that would be too intimate for them. They’re scared of intimacy because it’s a two-way street and requires pesky concepts like respect and communication. I personally blame pornography for a lot of these abstract, removed notions of women. A woman who bleeds, shits, yells, cries and displays powerful emotions interrupts the removed, inhuman fantasy some men need in order to get off both emotionally and sexually. These men don’t want the complexity of eroticism, they want a transactional, objectified kind of relationship with women. I don’t think this worldview is the norm for men, but neither is a man who is grossed out by periods, so that’s what we’re dealing with here.

No matter what your age, if you are honest-to-goodness grossed out by menstrual blood then you’re likely too immature to be having sex or an actual relationship. You know what’s scarier than a little period blood, for an immature, frightened man who thinks bodily functions are gross? A newborn baby covered in waxy vernix caseosa and blood, screaming its way into the world and looking at you for protection and guidance. That’s some Stephen King shit right there.

Sincerely, A Woman

Ask A Woman is an anonymous advice column wherein this Asheville writer gives candid, honest advice about everything from consent to dating to harassment and whatever else you people cook up. I’m providing a platform of anonymity, not so either of us can hide behind invisibility, but to eliminate egos and insecurities and cut out the bullshit in an effort to perpetuate education. If you would like to ask me a question for my column, drop me a line here-Eve S. Dropper

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