14 Reasons For And Against Paid Menstrual Leave

For centuries, women have waged the monthly war against their bodies. We’ve fought to grab ahold of rights that made us more equal to men and to retain those rights while the world around us constantly tries to revoke them. We want rights over our bodies and what we do with them. After all, it is us that must endure the after effects.

Whether our line of thinking falls to Greek goddesses, archetypes or the tale of Adam and Eve, we all tend to agree on one thing: the menstrual cycle is vastly misunderstood. It’s not just men, though. There are plenty of women out there who know nothing about their cycles beyond what period week means for them.

They don’t know the terminology that is used to describe the phases of their cycle, and much less the pattern to which it follows the moon.

Since the beginning of time, the feminine divine has been a closely held secret. It was only when man came upon the menstrual cycle that things changed. Initially, women fled their homes during their moon week to be in the company of other women and channel all that energy into something positive.

With the demands that man has placed on women in years gone by, the menstrual cycle has become a thing of negative energy — and women have bought into it.

We’ve become a product of society. We are women who dread our own personal hell week. For some of us, we’ve even played into the idea that our periods should be classified as a mental disorder that requires psychotherapeutic drugs just to make us seem normal.

The truth is, what women need during their cycles is understanding, knowledge, empowerment and perhaps, a little time off to cultivate all that energy back into something positive again.

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14Against: Women Are More Productive During This Time

A big part of the problem with paid time off for menstruation is the overall idea of it, though. It would allow women to take time off when they’re on their periods. This would actually be a great disservice to a lot of women, because the period during which they are bleeding is one of their most effective periods of performance.

Those women don’t want time off when they’re bleeding. Instead, they need time off in the week or two leading up to menses. That’s when the real symptoms sink in as progesterone starts to decline roughly a week out from the onset of menstruation.

If there were a construct for allowing women time to get away from work and indulge in their natural feminine energies, it would need to come when women most need to embrace that power, and that comes long before her period starts.

13For: Emotional Distress

Speaking of premenstrual symptoms, let’s discuss the effect emotions have on the premenstrual woman. As estrogen, testosterone and progesterone sky-rocket when a woman is fertile, they send her into a world of serenity and physical attraction. She is primed and ready for intimacy at this stage.

Shortly after, if conception fails to take place, she will start to feel the effects of her hormones falling. This decline can cause a myriad of symptoms from depression and anxiety to rage and extreme irritability. Some women are even diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder because they are so keenly sensitive to their hormonal plummets that they cannot emotional withstand the chaos that ensues.

Some of them may become so enraged by partners that they call it quits on their relationships. Others may find it hard to bite their tongue or hand out a simple compliment to a friend. Instead, they’ll appear more critical and moody.

12Against: Painting Womanhood As A Disability

What does that mean, though, for women as a whole? What are we doing when we say women are moody? What is PMDD really? We are further perpetuating the idea that women need a diagnostic label that requires medication in order to feel normal. But this is and has always been what is normal. This is womanhood. Why are suddenly treating it as though it’s something that needs suppressed.

Because we were told to and we bought into the idea that there could be something better out there for us. We bought into the idea that with a little help from birth control or antidepressants, we could be just as strong in performance as our male counterparts. That’s what the majority of the male society would love for us to believe. But the truth is, there never was a competition.

Women have always been the strongest force in the world. It’s called Mother Nature for a reason. It was this power that threatened men and urged them to oppress women and make us appear weaker for our qualities rather than strong, and irrational rather than diverse. Women do not have special needs. We simple are special.

11For: Women Are In Physical Pain

When a woman ovulates, all of her sex hormones reach peak levels. This encourages her to seek out her mate and fulfill the biological imperative to procreate. If that doesn’t happen, the egg dies and the thickened uterine lining that was preparing for pregnancy will begin to shed.

This shedding occurs as a result of estrogen declining. The endometrium — which is the interior lining of the uterus — starts to peel away from the uterine walls. This causes pain for the female in the form of menstrual cramps. Women will also experience mild contractions of the uterus during this time.

Believe it or not, one of the best cures for cramping is orgasm, because it causes more of those contractions and releases endorphins and oxytocin to make women feel better. But during this time, women may also need a day or two to wrap themselves in a heating pad with a pillow under their lower back as is aches with the pain of impending bleeding.

Next 10 Against: Lower Female Employment

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