de la menstruación de Nueva York encontramos
este gracioso texto de Gloria Steinem, una feminista estadounidense
de hacia los años setenta.
Traducción al español
If Men Could Menstruate
by Gloria Steinem
A white minority of the world
has spent centuries conning us into thinking that a white
skin makes people superior - even though the only thing
it really does is make the more subject to ultraviolet
rays and to wrinkles. Male human beings have built whole
cultures around the idea that penis envy is "natural"
to women - though having such an unprotected organ might
be said to make men vulnerable, and the power to give
birth makes womb envy at least as logical.
In short, the characteristics of the powerful, whatever
they may be, are thought to be better than the characteristics
of the powerless - and logic has nothing to do with it.
What would happen, for instance, if suddenly, magically,
men could menstruate and women could not?
The answer is clear - menstruation would become an enviable,
boast-worthy, masculine event:
Men would brag about how long and how much.
Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof
of manhood, with religious ritual and stag parties.
Congress would fund a National Institute of Dysmenorrhea
to help stamp out monthly discomforts.
Sanitary supplies would be federally funded and free.
(Of course, some men would still pay for the prestige
of commercial brands such as John Wayne Tampons, Muhammad
Ali's Rope-a-dope Pads, Joe Namath Jock Shields - "For
Those Light Bachelor Days," and Robert "Baretta"
Military men, right-wing politicians, and religious fundamentalists
would cite menstruation ("men-struation") as
proof that only men could serve in the Army ("you
have to give blood to take blood"), occupy political
office ("can women be aggressive without that steadfast
cycle governed by the planet Mars?"), be priest and
ministers ("how could a woman give her blood for
our sins?") or rabbis ("without the monthly
loss of impurities, women remain unclean").
Male radicals, left-wing politicians, mystics, however,
would insist that women are equal, just different, and
that any woman could enter their ranks if she were willing
to self-inflict a major wound every month ("you MUST
give blood for the revolution"), recognize the preeminence
of menstrual issues, or subordinate her selfness to all
men in their Cycle of Enlightenment. Street guys would
brag ("I'm a three pad man") or answer praise
from a buddy ("Man, you lookin' good!") by giving
fives and saying, "Yeah, man, I'm on the rag!"
TV shows would treat the subject at length. ("Happy
Days": Richie and Potsie try to convince Fonzie that
he is still "The Fonz," though he has missed
two periods in a row.) So would newspapers. (SHARK SCARE
THREATENS MENSTRUATING MEN. JUDGE CITES MONTHLY STRESS
IN PARDONING RAPIST.) And movies. (Newman and Redford
in "Blood Brothers"!)
Men would convince women that intercourse was more pleasurable
at "that time of the month." Lesbians would
be said to fear blood and therefore life itself - though
probably only because they needed a good menstruating
Of course, male intellectuals would offer the most moral
and logical arguments. How could a woman master any discipline
that demanded a sense of time, space, mathematics, or
measurement, for instance, without that in-built gift
for measuring the cycles of the moon and planets - and
thus for measuring anything at all? In the rarefied fields
of philosophy and religion, could women compensate for
missing the rhythm of the universe? Or for their lack
of symbolic death-and-resurrection every month?
Liberal males in every field would try to be kind: the
fact that "these people" have no gift for measuring
life or connecting to the universe, the liberals would
explain, should be punishment enough.
And how would women be trained to react? One can imagine
traditional women agreeing to all arguments with a staunch
and smiling masochism. ("The ERA would force housewives
to wound themselves every month": Phyllis Schlafly.
"Your husband's blood is as sacred as that of Jesus
- and so sexy, too!": Marabel Morgan.) Reformers
and Queen Bees would try to imitate men, and pretend to
have a monthly cycle. All feminists would explain endlessly
that men, too, needed to be liberated from the false idea
of Martian aggressiveness, just as women needed to escape
the bonds of menses envy. Radical feminist would add that
the oppression of the nonmenstrual was the pattern for
all other oppressions ("Vampires were our first freedom
fighters!") Cultural feminists would develop a bloodless
imagery in art and literature. Socialist feminists would
insist that only under capitalism would men be able to
monopolize menstrual blood . . . .
In fact, if men could menstruate, the power justifications
could probably go on forever.
If we let them.