Menu Close

Thinking pop culture

Trump, Misogyny and Menstrual Misunderstandings

Among Donald Trump’s recent lunatic splutterings were some notably venomous comments about Fox journalist Megan Kelly.

America’s favourite madman accused her of having “blood coming out of her whatever”. And then made the whole debacle worse but alleging that only deviants could be thinking he meant out of her yoni/yaya/vajayjay/coochie/punani/cooter/snatch.

No, no, no. He meant out of her nose. Sure. Because menstrual blood is deviant, but nose blood - particularly if it got there by being whacked by a Mexican rapist - is, like, totally worth joking about.

It’s of course, not at all uncommon for women to be on the receiving end of an “on the rag” jibe. It’s a convenient catch-all slur for any behaviour disrupting ladylike niceness. But it’s also the least interesting part of the Trump comment.

But let’s step away from the pond scum for just a moment.

Miles is in the white shirt.

In an episode of sitcom Murphy Brown, Murphy (Candice Bergen), a tad grouchier than usual, prompted her colleague Miles (Grant Shaud) to query, “Is it the eighteenth already?” More recently, in an episode of the sitcom According to Jim, his wife, Cheryl (Courtney Thorne-Smith), snaps at him, so Jim (James Belushi) looks at his watch and asks, “It’s the fifteenth isn’t it?”

More meatier that merely mocking women for bleeding, Trump, Miles and Jim demonstrate that not only are there men who will happily grab at the lowest of low-hanging “period joke” fruit, but they’ll do so with absolutely zero understanding of what the hell they are talking about.

Even the scantest knowledge of a cycle would show that the odds of a woman having a period on every eighteenth or every fifteenth is pretty bloody low. A menstrual cycle is not the same as a desk calendar.

But menstrual misunderstandings extend far beyond the lack of cycle comprehension. Trump made the mistake that so many misogynists have made before him. He presented moods, “meanness” and bleeding as inextricably linked in some kind of nasty gooey deviant orgy.

On the contrary, Mr Trump, on the contrary.

For many women the blood coming out actually provides the jubilant respite. It’s the days before the blood that the crazy gets unleashed.

So what’s going on here? Why do references to the eighteenth or the fifteenth or ‘that time of the month’ still prompt a laugh-track? Surely, a little light Googling could facilitate some tweaks for accuracy?

I wrote a book. You should read it.

Because men in our culture men are not supposed to know anything about menstruation. In fact, those that do are framed as creeps, weirdos if not fetishists.

Bleeding is women’s business and it’s deodorised and sanitised and kept as far away from men as possible; the world’s worse sin is to reveal having The Curse to our menfolk.

And if men are included in the whole calamity, their role, of course, is in a TV tampon run. The doofus will drag his knuckles along to the supermarket and stand, lost, in a sea of boxed confusion wondering how a mini-tampon could possibly plug the same hole that his massive manhood does.

Not that we shouldn’t seize upon every opportunity to spotlight Trump for the moron that he is. We should: he is poison to American politics. But there’s actually a bigger problem here than just a stupid sexist slur.

Want to write?

Write an article and join a growing community of more than 182,100 academics and researchers from 4,941 institutions.

Register now