For a lot of women, monthly menstruation and all the pains that may come with it aren’t the most pleasant of experiences. So it can get pretty exasperating when others interject with unnecessary comments or criticisms all the while. Here are some of the most common of these faux pas to steer clear of.
1. “The pain can’t be that bad. Don’t be a complainer.”
This one comes from both fellow women and men alike. While some women are naturally blessed with mild PMS symptoms (and some experience none at all), others can have extremely severe symptoms that are incredibly painful. Some may experience headaches and cramps and others will deal with severe migraines and painful aches. So when a fellow lady tells you that her pain isn’t that bad and insinuates you’re just whining a bit too much, it definitely comes off as insensitive. Dismissal of period pain from men are definitely worse, because as Rachel from Friends put it perfectly, “No uterus, no opinion.”
2. “You look sick, are you sick?”
This one may be borne out of a mistaken concern, but it still sucks to hear. It’s hard to look great while feeling not so great, so please no comments on appearance, skin pallor, tidiness of hair, and outfit choices.
3. “Just work out! Exercise helps cramps!”
This might seem like nice, friendly advice, but again this one often falls under the camp of patronization. Huge props to anyone who can muster the will to get on the treadmill to work through the pain, but a lot of people won’t be able to. Yeah sure, exercise is scientifically proven to help release endorphins, but when a person can barely roll out of bed to take a shower and someone tells them to “just work out,” it just comes off as fitness shaming.
4. “Wow you sure are eating a lot…” or “Don’t you think you’re eating a little unhealthy?”
Cravings are a real thing. Again, some people have it worse than others and may display a more voracious appetite at the table. Under no circumstances should you bring this up as a point of criticism – the stomach wants what the stomach wants. Same goes for their choice of food, most of us feel bad enough as it is when we’re letting lose our self control and indulging in some comfort ice cream, we don’t need more outside judgment.
5. “You seem cranky. You’re PMS-ing, huh?”
This one is the worst of the worst. Almost every woman has probably been accused of PMS-ing by men as being angry for no reason other than a functioning uterus. While it’s true that PMS symptoms include mood swings and irritability, it’s a ridiculous generalization to link a women’s period to her mood in every situation. It contributes to the demeaning stereotype that women are emotional and irrational creatures by biology. This is too frequently used as the ultimate cop-out for guys who don’t want to admit their part for saying or doing something insensitive and then attempting to pass off the following reaction in a shroud of menstrual mysticism. It’s super sexist and inappropriate.
Please be a considerate person and don’t commit these verbal blunders.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.