This is not, or at least not particularly, a meditation on the subject of the headline, menstruation in international rugby players. It’s not, really, even a comment about feminism – although that we have female international rugby players who menstruate to talk about is obviously a reflection of the obvious and welcome success there. Rather, it’s about how we humans tend to deal with facts.
The stages tend to be “Aha – but!” followed by an absolute denial of “Nope!”. It’s only over time that the second position matures and becomes “Well, maybe – a little” and we are thus able to approach the actual truth of the matter. The problem we have being that we can and do only get to that third, correct, position after it has been absolutely – at least absolutely in terms of fashion and public acknowledgement – imprinted upon all that the Nope! is the correct answer.
It’s as if adults have to be subject to Sir Pterry’s lies to children. As if society has to mature like them before it’s possible to have the proper, nuanced, explanation of what’s going on.
Female international rugby players say their athletic performance has been negatively affected due to menstrual cycle symptoms, according to a recent groundbreaking study.
Researchers from the University of the West of Scotland carried out a series of in-depth interviews with international-level players providing an insight into athletes’ experiences of the menstrual cycle, the associated impact on training and competition and the differences the team environment can make. More than two-thirds of those questioned admitted to seeing their performance levels dip.
None of that is any surprise to any human who has ever lived with a woman of fertile age. At least, one not permanently pregnant or lactating and thus the vast majority of modern women.
The thing being though that some few decades back – an advantage of the approaching Grim Reaper being that one can be vague about past time like that – it was the antediluvian who made this point. Women can’t do this or that – depending upon how many decades ago, be doctors, drive trains, fly ‘planes or, by the truly reprobate, be trusted to add up the accounts – because they go mad, d’ye see? Women’s things. Monthly, mutter mutter.
To which the socially approved answer was don’t be a sexist pig. It’s entirely natural, doesn’t affect anything, this is just a ploy to demean and impose upon women. A trick to deny their righteous economic liberation. Much of which is true except for that “affect” bit. For it does.
Yet it seems that it was necessary to get everyone to accept that it didn’t at all before it was possible to relax the insistence to the true position. It does, a bit, and not enough to deny that economic liberation.
Of course, there is another way to describe this which is an outbreak of cakeism – but then cakeism is a natural part of human societies as well. The old, antediluvian, insistence was that women could not fully join the workforce because they’d keep taking time off for wimmin’s reasons. This was rejected in favour of today’s that period leave should be an actual thing.
We also have the gripping hand argument that women’s international rugby is not quite there yet. It’s entirely common for menstruation to fail in international athletes. The level of fitness required is such that body fat near entirely disappears and thus so does that monthly cycle. From which we can conclude that those women’s internationals just aren’t fit enough yet. Which might even be fair enough, there are few male prop forwards we’d note have no body fat either.