Here’s a lesson in my menstrual cycle, Donald Trump – you need it

One of the weirdest things about the 'got the painters in, have you?' trope is how biologically inaccurate it is

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The Independent Online

A positive slant – and I’m really trying here – on Donald Trump’s latest menstrual gaffe is that here is a man presenting himself for power bearing his abundant flaws without shame. There are no anodyne political soundbites, no watery words crafted for maximum reach and minimum offence and no rebrand on the globally famous shtick: it’s big hair, big gob and big ambition.

Trump’s recent off-the-cuff zinger was saying that Megyn Kelly, the host of the Republican Party’s presidential candidate debates for Fox News, probably had “blood coming out of her... wherever” when she questioned him on how, with some irony, belittling women does not appear to have thwarted his 2016 bid. “I don’t have time for political correctness and neither does the country,” Trump said.

When, over on this side of the pond, we lament our grey political landscape festooned with cowed politicos terrified to make headlines, it’s worth remembering The Donald in this current unfettered form. Be careful what you wish for.

But back to the point. Clearly, telling a woman she must be “on the rag” whenever one feels challenged is right up there in the slack-jawed sexist trope league with “Bitch, make me a sandwich”. Perhaps Trump can save the sandwich quip for the next time a pesky anchorwoman on CNN pushes him on fiscal reform. “Pastrami on Rye!” he can bellow, “hold the mustard!” His Republican supporters can look on benignly, saying, “Well, he’s only saying what we think.”

From long, arduous experience of being told my vagina is probably bleeding when I make a curt remark, or that I should start buttering some bread, I know that there is no real comeback to that riposte. It is never said to invite a comeback.

These are statements so blitheringly, pond-bottom level infantile that the man who says it may as well put a thumb in each ear, waggle his fingers and hoot: “I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?” That, incidentally, would make a great slogan for Trump’s White House 2016 campaign, on a banner, in red, white and blue glitter.

It is tempting, nevertheless, to find something to say in response. After all, I could be on Super Plus Tampax second-day bleeding while simultaneously holding down the 7-1 managerial shift at Subway and filing a 900 word broadsheet column on The Earl of Sandwiches while still having the cerebral capacity to form stronger arguments than him, the dickhead insulting me, because I’m solid at multi-tasking. But – word of warning to Megyn – there’s no point in bandying around achievement to a man making weird statements about your vaginal bleeding. You’re in danger of being branded a conceited bitch, and no one likes that girl either.

 

For me, one of the weirdest things about the “Got the painters in, have you?” trope is that it is biologically inaccurate. What men appear to be referring to is pre-menstrual tension. The big clue here is in the "pre". PMT starts approximately four or five days before the bleeding starts where hormones are more likely to be askew. Some vaginas may vary, please check with your nearest outlet. But importantly the "tension", if one suffers from it, it "pre" the "menstrual".

I’m sorry for being a stickler for detail here – dear sexist weirdo obsessed with what day of my cycle I’m on – but “bleeding out yer wherever?” makes no sense if it’s with regard to me being stupid, ditzy, angry, unreasonable or whatever miscellaneous fault you’re blaming my menstruating on.

If a popular womanly insult was that men’s semen went blue when they got upset, rendering them unable to work, I’m pretty certain women would have been put straight, after at least one or two centuries, to a juncture where we stopped saying it.

I tend to feel sorry for the men who tweet or comment “Bleeding fanny, much?” as a pithy response to my views on, say, FPTP electoral restructuring, as they have clearly never had any real closeness with a woman. Instead this sounds like the inaccurate quackings of a man who has no passing knowledge of a clitoris and possibly thinks women ovulate out of the same hole they pee.

If a man wrote, “Grace, are you due to start bleeding in three days because this column is mental,” then, yes, it would still be belittling – but I’d have to give him some credit for being an anatomically educated sexist prat.

Likewise, I was heartened when the insult “Have you got sand in your vagina?” started to gather worldwide momentum. We were still shutting women up by mentioning their sexual organs, but at least I could attest to the fact that sand in the vagina is – for about two weeks a year in the Costa Brava – a legitimate feminine concern.

Oh Donald, I hate to break this to you, but half of the planet lives in a continual 28 to 32 day cycle of producing eggs, preparing to bleed and then eventually bleeding, month after month after month. It is, in the most part, utterly, tediously unremarkable. A woman near you will be "bleeding out of her wherever" right now. There will be women at Fox News, CNN, NBC and the BBC, not to mention half your potential voters, all at some stage of this mysterious monthly cycle of gynaecological sorcery.

I’m sure, just like me, many of them are perfectly able – regardless of what’s going on in their lives – to find your recent comments on bimbos, fat women, and building a big wall between yourself and Mexico indicative of why you’re a big entertaining character but should not be allowed anywhere near actual power.

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