Monday, 30 January 2012

Christina Aguilera's Period.

You've probably heard about this by now. If not here are the simple facts:

1. Christina Aguilera was giving a tribute at Etta James' funeral
2. Something ran down her leg which she tried to wipe away
3. It looks like it could be period blood, though it could be something else like wet fake tan streaks.

I'm going to stick with the option which has caused the most comment because it is the more culturally taboo choice of explanation. I don't need to tell you what that is. If that is what happened, what are the first words that spring to mind? Disgusting? Careless? Sickening? Highly embarrassing? If so, at least for the first three words, it isn't Christina that is any of those three things.

I've seen comments like she should have been more prepared, how could she let that happen and on one particularly repulsive blog which you can see here, it questions whether she was high or in possession of her faculties. And so I got annoyed. I got annoyed that people I consider to be at least a little intelligent decided that what may or may not have happened was something to be poked fun at, labelled as repulsive and as an object of ridicule and deep shame. And then I realised...if that had happened to any woman in a public place, the same kind of reaction would have happened whether out loud or in heads.

As a normally functioning woman I have periods. And sometimes, they aren't very reliable in their behaviour. Myself and most of the women and girls I know can recall a time when they have leaked or had a mishap, and have even witnessed some. Even to admit or say that is something that is deemed highly embarrassing.When did it become such an awful, shameful thing? Something that if seen, whether that be through tampons falling out of a bag all the way through to a leak, is one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a woman?

Here's the thing. Women have periods. Every month in fact. Get over it. Sometimes, though they usually go unnoticed or unmentioned to our peers, especially our male peers, they get noticed. Get over it. It's not something to giggle about as if a naughty word has been said or looked upon in utter's a normal part of what it is to be a woman and be able to bear children, men especially, but women too - who should really understand. In the 480 or so periods that we have in our lives we shouldn't have to be constantly worrying about whether someone will see or guess that we are bleeding and if we see someone else we shouldn't be shocked.

We shouldn't have to feel like if a mishap were to happen we would feel mortified and unable to show our faces. I'm not saying periods are pretty. In fact I can't say I love mine like some women can...they can be pretty awful. Tampons fail. Pads leak. Periods can start unexpectedly and become irregular. You may see a bit of menstrual blood once in your life, gentlemen, or someone else's, ladies. Deal with it. Periods are nothing to be ashamed and no-one should be made to feel cripplingly ashamed by a mishap or an indicator that they are, in fact, 'on'.

Back to Christina and the alleged blood drips down her leg. For her at least, some things are bigger than a period that is-shock horror- slightly visible. She carried on. She did what she had to do. Obviously no women wants her period to drip down her leg in the view of millions of people, but she sang instead of cowering away. Yes she wiped her leg, but if you were so very disgusted by what happened would you want it on the floor and/or in her shoe too? She didn't dirty the carpet with a massive volume of blood, and it could easily have been wiped away by a tissue when she had access to one. Two tiny drops of blood and today's culture recoils in disgust and ridicule. Oh dear.