This is a tangent spinning off a discussion that began over at Bitch, Ph.D.
Scene One: Woman comes home from a long weekend away with her friends. She enters her newly painted living room, the one she worked so hard on last week, and sees that her husband has mounted onto the wall, right in the middle of the living room, the head of dead deer. Antlers, shiny glass eyeballs, and all. She shows undue restraint, acts a bit irritated, and then says apologetically: "Oh, I must have PMS."
Scene Two: Woman in long-term marriage with a man who is verbally abusive, constantly putting her down, blaming her for anything that goes wrong. Woman manages to sweetly ignore this behavior two weeks out of the month, but for the other two weeks, finds herself getting irritated. She goes to the doctor to complain that she is having problems with PMS. The doctor prescribes anti-depressants.
Scene Three: Woman reading newspaper. She sees the latest atrocity the Bush administration is perpetuating and bursts into tears. "Oh, I must have PMS," she says. She puts the newspaper away and goes off to find some chocolate.
I think our culture still expects women to be good-natured, compliant, happily accepting a subservient role. So when a woman gets angry or loud or emotional or sad or furious or indignant or pissed or weepy or rageful or strident or outspoken .... we blame it on PMS. If a woman has a 28-day cycle, that means she has PMS about half the time. Should we write a woman off for half of her existence?
Or perhaps we should see PMS as a hormonal surge that empowers her. Perhaps we should look at PMS as the timing of her cycle that brings out her best self, the self that she allows to be angry and outspoken, the self who isn't going to put up with a lot of garbage.
So I am here to say this. PMS is a good thing. Let's celebrate it. Embrace it. Maybe there are things we should be getting angry about. Let's take the first example from above, which actually did happen to a friend of mine. You come home from a relaxing weekend away, and your husband - without consulting you - has put up the heads of dead animals in your living room? I'd say that you might just be justified in getting angry there. Or the second example. If your husband is verbally abusive ... get angry! Don't medicate yourself. Demand that he change -- or get out of the marriage. Divorce him. As for the third example: if you can read the newspaper, read about kids getting killed in Iraq for no good reason or read again about how we are destroying the earth that sustains us ... if you can read all that without getting angry or sad, I'd say that it is possible you have not grasped the situation.
So for Mother's Day this year, this is a message to my women friends: embrace your moodiness! Listen to your hormones. Use your PMS self as a role model. Act every day like you've got PMS! Anger is a strength. Because really, there are things we should be getting angry about.