Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A Pig In Lipstick And Satin Ballroom Attire


First off, I'm not even sure pigs look any better with lipstick.

And besides, the name attached to this latest Oregon House Bill goes way beyond putting lipstick on a pig. This is formal satin ballroom attire with pearls, corsetry, cage crinolines and a bustle. Somebody else's whole job is to stuff you into it.

It's not the legislation itself. I'm fine with that. Oregon has just passed a law requiring public schools at all levels to provide free menstrual pads and tampons to students, no strings attached. Plenty of people put in a plug for it. This bill was in the works for quite a while, but then it got wings, and finally gushed out in June. The problem is that many students cannot afford to purchase sanitary products and might even stay home from school rather than leave their home toilets.

All this is well and good. But calling it the Menstrual Dignity Act is just plain trying too hard. Menstrual and Dignity do not belong in the same sentence. I know, I know, every generation since the '70s has seen an effort to dress this situation up and waltz it across the stage, but all such efforts fail in the face of stark reality, and that is that although this biological circumstance should not be shameful, there's really no hallelujah about it either. Period.

The language involved has undergone the usual modern torture. One of the beauties of English, I maintain, has been its spare quality, its efficiency, its flow if you will, such that our pronouncements don't have to get larded up with clauses like we're French or something. Until recently we could refer to "homeless people," for instance, although now that has become "persons experiencing homelessness," which means exactly the same thing, except it purportedly suggests some kind of temporary condition and not an innate character flaw, which (for my money) "homeless people" never implied in the first place.

So now we all have to be French about it and can't get to the end of our sentences in a timely manner without causing an uproar. Sure enough, the text of the Menstrual Dignity Act refers to "people who menstruate," and just as I was getting my eye-roll going, I saw the following sentence from its proponents: "One in five menstruators in the United States cannot afford the price of menstrual products."

Clean, spare language be damned! Maybe the sentence has a certain flow, but I can't say I love the word "menstruators." Like "educators" or "legislators," it suggests a degree of calculation I do not believe exists. Nobody signs up for this crap.
 
Absolutely, we should provide free tampons and pads in schools. Sure, some Republican-run school board in Wisconsin is going to rag on that kids getting free tampons, what a treat, are going to be spoiled. That's a stain on them. But I don't want to call this the Menstrual Dignity Act unless there are reparations involved. In which case, sign me up. As I've mentioned before, this crap was forty years of pointlessness and laundry.
 
"Not so," they'll say, terrified of owing reparations to so many. "There was a point to it. You were being entered into a monthly lottery for a brand new human being." Hell. I've met lots of human beings. They're not all of them the big prize they're made out to be.


41 comments:

  1. There is no dignity in menstruation. At times, when I was a teen, my flow was so heavy I had to stay home from school sometimes -- not because I couldn't afford pads, but because I'd have to haul them into a separate backpack and use the bathroom every hour. And these were "hospital pads." I was glad to finally be rid of the damned thing. Yes, it's a biological thing. So is shitting. But neither one are "dignified", especially if you are soiling yourself in the process.

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    1. I prefer to keep "dignity" for such things as crow swagger.

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  2. I know I won't live as long, but there are times like this that I am happy to be born male and happy to be old.

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  3. The unending puns......had me laughing so hard that I almost peed myself. You are brilliant!!

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  4. The act (whatever its name) is a step in the right direction. Now extend that courtesy to ALL women. Please.

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    1. I still remember how impressed I was with some restaurant that had a basket of tampons on the toilet tank.

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  5. Loved your side words. OK, I'm still worried about the use of "people who menstruate." Never met a man who did. I was assigned 3,000 penises a year: (worked at the VA full-time as an RN.) Saw lots of interesting varieties and abnormalities, but never one male who menstruated. And, yep, I even had a couple of vets who were transgendered....no sanitary pads requested. Probably good to have a supply in the schools, along with fishbowls of colorful condoms. God bless today's school nurses.
    Linda in Kansas

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  6. First of all, your photo is just plain awesome. Secondly, your colorful prose required a second reading just to catch all of it! Third--I'm honestly surprised and a little heartsick... I just assumed these products were free in school for gir--oops, menstruators. My God, as if these kids don't have enough to worry about! Well, the bill passed, right? Better late than never!

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    1. I certainly would have had fewer "sick" days if this had been the case. One teacher actually asked me if I had some sort of chronic illness since it happened almost every month.

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    2. I guarantee today's kids have plenty else to worry about.

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  7. It's definitely way past time when these items should have been made available, free, in schools (and workplaces for those caught unawares)

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    1. That would be better than the current regime of "Um, hey, do you happen to have any..." to complete strangers in the rest room.

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  8. Brilliant! We women have so little time in life when we don't have something in our pants. Between diapers, Menstrual pads, incontinence pads and men, it's a wonder we ever learn to walk straight.

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    1. OMG! So right, Roxie! AND we are expected to wear high heels while doing so! Just this year, I decided to donate all mine except one pair to Goodwill. I just can't walk in them anymore.

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    2. Roxie!!!
      I've only had one pair of high heels ever. They were clogs. So, let's see: fifty years with no high heels.

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    3. I think Roxie has just topped Murr. 😂

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    4. Love it! It explains why I don't walk straight.

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  9. Wisconsin bashing. Watch it! 😁. My 30 something daughter owns an acupuncture shop. She had a small box in the bathroom containing tampons, with a label 'for the ladies'. She thought it would give the men fair warning - bless her heart. Walked in one day to find the label changed to " for people who menstruate". Let's just say the smoke is still coming out of her ears. Same daughter raised on the 'some men have pony tails/ some ladies have beards and it's all good philosophy of life' (Portlands got nothing on a good wisconsin liberal). Deep breath

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    1. Oh that would irritate me too. No good deed goes unpunished. Sorry about Wisconsin. I'm sure there are very fine people on both sides.

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  10. I have a couple friends who like to joke about how they put the "men" in menstruate. They're both saving up for the surgery to rid themselves of their extra parts and get a couple of "add-ons," but in the meantime, they are men who menstruate.
    I'm glad the bill uses the type of language that not only acknowledges, but explicitly protects, the rights of everyone who needs the assistance.

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    1. Oh, and is that Kune Kune? We raised a couple a few years ago and the meat was absolutely fantastic. I still feel bad for the Fed-Ex guy (not our usual driver) who showed up as we were hanging the first one in the driveway to drain.
      But those pigs had fantastic lives and painless demise and I'd do it all over again if I had another five acres.

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    2. Yup, that bill is solid. You know, I think I would've been startled if I'd come up your driveway with a porkage too. That there is a Vietnamese potbellied pig but I don't know what Kune Kune is, so maybe. His only job was to be a long-lived good pig.

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  11. When I was very young, I used to wonder why Scots pronounced the name Menzies as Ming iss. And then menses became a part of my life...

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  12. 1. I once heard it said that the ultimate display of advertising skills would be to successfully sell menstruation to men.

    2. I suspect (though I've no data either) that the kind of English that disturbs us both comes from people who have read very, very little literature.

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  13. I think Roxie has outdone Murr on this one. 😂

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  14. It's a great idea, but I'm hoping upon hope that it's not another unfunded mandate going to the schools. I was a high school teacher for 37 years and always kept those products in my desk for students who needed them. I bought them myself of course.

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    1. Yay you! "Under a proposed amendment, money from the Oregon Department of Education would be allocated to funding the bill."

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