The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Watch out world, I’ve got PMS!

Posted by Mel Campbell on September 12, 2008

You know when you were a kid and you got really angry or upset about something, but your parents dismissed your grievance by claiming you were “over-tired”? And then when you cracked the shits about this injustice, it simply “proved” that you were indeed over-tired? Well, women have to put up with this same crock of shit for their entire fertile lives. Only it’s called “PMS”.

Now, I’m not claiming there’s no such thing as pre-menstrual syndrome. Pre-menstrual physical symptoms include bloating, cramps, joint and muscle pain and skin breakouts; behavioural symptoms can involve tearfulness, difficulty concentrating, and uncontrollable, out-of-character feelings of rage, anxiety, depression or stress. According to Wikipedia, in between 3% and 8% of women these symptoms are so severe they’re considered disabling and are collectively referred to as premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

But I suspect that’s not quite what the bright sparks behind PMSBuddy have in mind. This online service enables users to monitor the menstrual cycles of women in their lives, and be notified by email days before their next periods are due – thus, giving plenty of warning about impending wacko PMS behaviour. Boasting that it “saves relationships, one month at a time”, it’s a neat, easy way of assuming that everything a woman says and does is due to her pesky ovaries!

Here’s the “About” spiel from the website:

PMS – premenstrual syndrome – can be a difficult time of the month for many women and those close to them. Since discussing PMS is not exactly welcomed dinner table conversation, and may lead to dinner plates being hurled across the room, we want to take the unexpectedness out of this recurring occurrence so that those affected by PMS can be prepared and aware.

With PMSBuddy.com, this is done without having to openly discuss the situation (which can certainly lead to more unnecessary conflicts, and possibly more broken plates). Many couples, friends, family members and the like may find they get into an increased number of arguments, fights, and altercations on what seems to be a monthly basis. Well, according to a barrage of doctors, physiologists and other white coats, it turns out that there is a reason behind this. This reason may be PMS, and there is something that you can do to be ready for it – PMSBuddy.com.

PMSBuddy.com is the world’s best free service to minimize negative encounters between those with PMS and those close to them by taking away the surprise and making conversations about PMS unnecessary. We hope you find PMSBuddy.com to be a lifesaver.

Already we can see two things. First, the assumption that conflict in relationships is always due to a woman’s PMS rather than, oh I don’t know, something else making her upset or angry – perhaps even things the other person in the argument might have done! But apparently it’s always PMS because those “doctors, physiologists and white coats” say so (even though PMSBuddy hedges its bets by saying “This reason may be PMS”).

Second, there’s a noticeable lack of empathy for women. Rather than trying to help ameliorate their PMS symptoms, or even discussing the situation with them, you sneak around behind their backs instead. There’s a ‘commonsensical’ belief that if men even try to raise the subject of PMS they get their heads bitten off by angry women – hence the talk of “dinner plates being hurled across the room” – but really, that’s just an excuse for being squeamish.

But the actual system made me squeamish in a different way. Upon signing up, you pick whether you’re wanting to track the menstrual cycles of women in your life, or you’re a woman wanting to tell men in your life about your menstrual cycle. I opted for the former. You can track up to five women, and specify your relationship to them. The options are: Girlfriend, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Boss, Coworker, Secretary, Employee and Other. Then you enter the date they began their last period, plus their cycle length. Um, how are you meant to find out when someone you work with is menstruating? Plus there’s something creepy about someone monitoring their mum’s periods, or their daughter’s, or their sister’s.

Anyway. As I am a freelancer, I am my own boss and also happen to know my own menstrual cycle, so I had it monitor me. Hilariously, this produced the following result:

Oh noes! Clearly the only reason I even blogged about this was because I am “having PMS”! But best of all, when you click on “PMS Tips”, you get clickable ad buttons for various products and services:

1800-Flowers.com – When all else fails, flowers will always do the trick. They are kryptonite to PMS.
Match.com – If it’s really that bad, maybe something’s amiss. As they say, it never hurts to look.
Hotwire – Give her the ultimate gift. Suprise her with a special vacation, romantic cruise or weekend getaway!
Top rated wines under $20 – Do something special for her and show her you care. A bottle of her favorite wine should help calm things down.
Playboy – During PMS women can feel bloated and unattractive. Show her how you really feel with some sexy lingerie.

The last one is my favourite. Still, there’s an upside to PMSBuddy – when a chick gets pissed off with you but the system doesn’t show she’s “having PMS”, perhaps you might just be a dickhead.

4 Responses to “Watch out world, I’ve got PMS!”

  1. Clem Bastow said

    Jeez, someone’s got her periods…

  2. Loki said

    DId you notice the line of the ad stating that PMS “can certainly lead to more unnecessary conflicts, and possibly more broken plates“…

    The lovely implication that all conflicts are uneccessary – and lead to broken crockery – just reinforces the dismissiveness of the rest of the ad.

  3. [...] (you know, apart from reminding you to powder your nose at that time of the month). Or am I just PMSing like the little lady at [...]

  4. Holy s**t. That’s some crazy, right there.

    I also love that this reinforces the idea that it’s another conversation to be swept under the table. Not just in the sense you raise, Mel, that a man will ‘get his head bitten off’, but that menstruation itself is clearly a topic to be avoided at all costs.

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