How many times have you heard someone explain a woman's behavior by saying "she's on her period?" Why do we assume a woman's actions are a result of a natural part of being a woman rather than a feature of her personality?
Premenstrual syndrome, which has a variety of symptoms including mood swings, irritability, and depression, does affect many women, but assuming that's the reason a woman is acting a certain way completely invalidates who she is. It says that she's not in control of her actions, personality, or the way she expresses herself.
To bring this point home, U by Kotex started #ItsNotMyPeriod, a campaign that aims to change the way people think about menstruation. In a recent ad, they asked a group of people to watch a live performance and then answer some questions afterward.
During the performance, a group of actors, three female and one male, did a scene in an office space during what was a stressful moment at work. One woman took charge of the situation and was louder than others. She was frustrated with her team and gave them direct orders to get the job done. They agreed and she thanked them.
"So, from that scene, who do you think is on her period?" the viewers were asked.
All of the viewers chose the woman who was, in their words, "bossy," "agitated," and "bitchy."
After discussing who they thought was on their period and why, the viewers were then asked some follow-up questions that would change the way they saw the scene entirely. "Who do you think was the leader? Who would you want on your team? Do you think she's acting like that because she's on her period, or that's just her personality?"
"She's delegating, she's giving instructions, and she's doing it in a more passionate way," one woman noted.
"It must feel awful. It takes away the validity of the statement," one man realized.
Talking it out in this way made people realize that assuming a woman is on her period because she's acting a certain way is unfair and devalues her as an individual.
"Periods don't define women, women do. Periods are a natural, healthy part of being a woman. It's time we start treating them that way. Yes, women might not always feel at their best on their periods. But no woman's attitudes, emotions or opinions should ever be discredited as being the result of that 'time of the month.' Simply put. Women deserve better," the U by Kotex team wrote in the video's description. "So the next time a woman has something to say or acts a certain way, remember this: it's her emotion, ambition, courage, passion, point of view. It is not her period."