Nothing like the use of a stereotype to get folks riled up. In the case of the Milk Board and the Got Milk campaign, a series of shall we say interesting ads claiming that milk can lessen the symptoms of PMS and that women who are suffering from PMS are emotional whack jobs pissed off a great deal of people, men and women alike. So much so that the ads were pulled, but not before the blogosphere and twitterverse were filled mostly with women proclaiming that aside from some mild discomfort that PMS hardly keeps them down. To that I say, good for you!
See, I am officially what my health care provider calls perimenopausal, basically I am starting that long waltz to the altar of menopause. Apparently this dance could last as little as 3-4 years or as long as ten years. Contrary to what many think, menopause as the end of your menstruating years doesn’t just happen. Oh no! It’s a process and as I have learned over the past 18 months, it’s a real uncomfortable process. In fact at the ripe old age of 38 and a half (yep, I am adding that half) what used to be some bad cramps and a day or two of discomfort has grown into a beast. The beast is now so big that the Spousal Unit claims he can see it coming a good 10 days before Aunt Flo starts. The beast is now so big that at times I feel like that girl from the Exorcist with my head spinning, I enter what I call the I hate you phase. I spend a good 5 days of each month pretty much not liking anyone and wishing that the inhabitants of my house, my bosses, my staff and pretty much all humans would leave me be. I often joke about having a red tent to go hide in until the real me returns. So you might be thinking well it sounds like you have issues
Funny thing is pretty much every single woman I know who is 37 or older has some of these same experiences. A dear friend recently confided that initially she thought I was making a mountain out of a molehill until the monthly emotional tsunami hit her and her household. Oh this perimenopausal broad is a tricky one! Little by little she enters your world, one month you are fine with regular size tampon, next month you are buying Super Plus tampons , as well as a maxi pad and hoping and praying when you go into that meeting with the beige chairs that you leave no gifts behind. All the while you are sitting in the meeting, putting on that happy face meanwhile inside you are raging out of control dreaming about how good some Sour Cream and Cheddar chips would be at that moment.
So while I am the last person as a woman of color to think the use of a stereotype is a good thing, the reality is some stereotypes are steeped in real truths. For millions of women even if they aren’t perimenopausal, PMS isn’t just a mild discomfort; it’s a monthly abuse ritual. Hell, the body is abusing itself! That said, it does not give anyone the right to use a real and rather uncomfortable situation as an advertising tactic. But at the same time, in our attempt to make it known that as women we are equal; let’s not pretend either that PMS is a walk in the park for every woman.
As for me, I got my eyes peeled for the Red Tent and as soon as I find it I will let you know, that baby is gonna be fully stocked with all the Lifetime TV, carbs and cheesy novels we can handle! Oh and gorgeous humans will wait on us hand and foot for when you are a visitor to the Red Tent, it’s all about you!