Friday, February 11, 2005

Miért Tabu?

Hey, what's the big idea stealing my angry feminist undergrad sculpture project?!!! Imagine my surprise when I was walking down Kálmán Imre utca and I saw a ceiling of hanging tampons! No, this was not a crude and desperate attempt to remedy the fallout from a roof leak. Turned out to be an exhibition. An exhibition and quite a collection of menstrual blood gathering/absorbing mechanisms. The postcard for the show reads, "az ismert és a meg nem ismert betétekről és tamponokról a világban," which means something like "the known and the still unknown about pads and tampons in the world," (I'd welcome any translation help from my Hungarian brother and sisters).

The title of the show is "miért tabu" or "why taboo?" Damn fine question. One I have been asking for some time. I have little patience for expressions of squeamishness when the subject of menstruation comes up. People ask about the weather you're having, but they don't ask about the period you're having. Why the hell not? If the weather is an interesting enough subject for small talk-- with its fluctuations and the way that it affects us, then so should our periods be suitable conversation fodder too.

I'm not as progressive as the Dutch, who drop their cycle status on you like the time of day, but neither do I want to feel like I shouldn't talk about something that affects me so profoundly and so frequently. Luckily, I had a mom who was instrumental in forming my healthy attitude towards periods. I got it for the first time one summer when I was away from home, and when I got back and told her about it, she greeted the news with such joy and excitement such as I will never forget. That was a formative moment. I have permanently associated my period with a feeling of pride and accomplishment. Thanks, Mom.

I think that we gave that gift to my sister as well. We had a little celebration at the house. I showed my sister how to insert a tampon. My brother even gave her a hug and told her "mazel tov." (Hello??!! Have you heard of a sweeter brother?) Neighbors called to say "mazel tov" as well.

I would like to plea with the men and the boys out there to please not react with disgust or make faces or roll your eyes when the subject of periods comes up. It will come up. That's what periods do. Once a month if you've got the average cycle. You'll earn a lot of points and maybe learn something about women if you just listen. Ask some questions. You don't have to be as cool as Vinnie. (Vinnie, you make menstruating FUN!) I'm sure it's difficult to empathize, but it also wouldn't hurt to just try imagining what it might be like to have a period. If you can't do that, then proffering a back rub would be almost as good. And in case there's any confusion: tampons go in vaginas, not on ceilings.


At 7:50 PM, Blogger andrew s.yang said...


well what a small, small world it is indeed. It seems this posting has created a sort of wormhole or Alice-like looking glass for me recently -- check out my latest posting to see what I mean....

hope all well on the Danube!

At 1:41 AM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

caro andy,

How wonderful to know that my bloggy was the medium for such serendipity. And thank you for the shout out on your bloggy.


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