I’m a 21 year old woman. I got my period when I was 12. I’ve been menstruating for almost a decade now, and if there’s something I can tell you, it’s that Aunt Flow can have quite the effect on my emotional stability. While periods effect every woman differently, PMS isn’t a patriarchal construction; it’s a biological reality. Is it rude to ask a woman if she’s on her period? Absolutely. Is it sexist? Arguably, in most cases. But I don’t think that in good conscience, I can wholeheartedly condemn it as an unfair question.
In all honesty, when I’m feeling unusually emotional, I wonder if my period is coming, and more often than not, it is. Oftentimes, when my female friends have been abnormally testy with me, they’ve later explained that they were, in fact, on their periods, and apologized for the way they were behaving, and I’ve completely understood. Does that validate every inquiry that has ever been made regarding the state of a woman’s ovaries? Does this mean that a period prohibits a woman from thinking rationally? Does this mean that any feeling experienced during that time of the month is illegitimate? Of course not. But anatomical truths can’t be written off as misogyny in the name of a narrative.
When it comes down to it, there is much more condescension and disrespect in accusations of “internalized misogyny” than there is in asking someone if they’re on their period. By asking someone if they’re on their period, you assume that a person’s physiology is interfering with what would otherwise be rational and reasonable behavior. By telling someone that they suffer from “internalized misogyny,” you are more likely than not discounting someone’s ability to think intelligently and independently because their views are out of line with yours. You don’t lend them a real opportunity to articulate themselves or defend their beliefs because you’ve already decided that you have a higher mental capacity than they do, and that they are undeserving of your thoughtful consideration. You assert yourself as not only the victor of the debate, but your opponent’s savior before allowing them to even draw their swords.
Because of my place in life in terms of age, sex, race, gender, education, socioeconomic background, and geographical location, I’ve been exposed to the vast majority of leftist ideologies, and in fact, used to agree with them. My views didn’t change because I wanted boys to like me or because I wanted to fit in with anyone; they changed because I thought harder about them. And while I can respect that not everyone will come to the same conclusions I did, I won’t tolerate the hypocritical arrogance that feminists demonstrate towards women that don’t agree with them. “Internalized misogyny” may as well be the feminist version of your male co-worker addressing you with pet names, pinching you on the ass and asking you to get his coffee.
I’d much rather be asked by a moron in a bucket hat if I’m on my period than smugly informed by someone that doesn’t know me or anything about me besides the fact that I’m conservative that my views are not the result of years of intentional research and refinement, but instead a result of my feeble mind unable to efficiently process information.