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The Male Feminist's Guide to Menstruation

Male Feminists should be the captains on the ships of women navigating the Red Sea. Here's how to do that.
Image by Gabby Bess and Diana Tourjee

Folks, there's no more stressful time in a woman's life than when she's on her period. As Male Feminists, we like to say that we understand women almost better than they understand themselves, but sometimes women will say things like "Please stop hitting on random girls in DM," or "Stop saying 'I'm a cute sad witch' as an excuse for why you can't pay for lunch," or, indeed, "You don't know what it's like to have a period."


These things may be true, but they also may not be true. First of all, men can have periods. It's called Irritable Male Syndrome. Doctors study it, so it's real, and you can't say it's just us having a bad day. There are online quizzes you can take.

Read more: The History of Bodily Fluids in Feminist Art

Second of all, Male Feminists are extra sensitive, so as long as women are suffering from the patriarchy, it's kind of like we're always on our periods. As such, it isn't really helping women to shut us out of Aunt Flo's house; in fact, it's probably harming women. Male Feminists should be the captains on the ships of women navigating the Red Sea. Here's how to do that.

"Pharaoh's Army Engulfed by the Red Sea," Frederick Arthur Bridgman (1900). Image via Wikimedia Commons

Know When They're On Their Period, but Do Not Bring It Up

Women do not like to be reduced to their bodily functions. It's a turn-off if you ask questions like, "Are you on the rag or something?" or "Is Aunt Flo in town?" So how do we, as Male Feminists, know when our girlfriends are at the tail end of the lunar cycle? The best way is to use a period tracker app. There are many available, but the best ones seem to be Clue and/or Period Tracker (or its Lite version).

You might say: "This is essentially spying on the women in your life, which is really creepy and Big-Brother-ish!" And that's true. But if you dig a little deeper, you can see that it will in fact enable you to be more understanding during arguments. Before, where you would ask, "Are you on the rag or something?" you can now say with confidence, before the fight starts, "You're definitely on the rag, because I got a push notification telling me you are." You'll know to modify your behavior before a blood-soaked pair of sweatpants appears in your communal bathroom; by then, it's too late.


Read more: Extreme Self-Care for Modern Ladies

Buy Them Things

You know when that Period Tracker App bling, that can only mean one thing: Time to go buy some Annie's Mac and Cheese, the Official Sponsored Meal of Male Feminism. Outside of chocolate-covered strawberries or your own untimely death, this is the best thing to get your girlfriend when she is on her period. You might also pick up some period panties (make sure to tweet about it) or some nice statement jewelry.

Buying menstruation-themed gifts might come off as weirdly appropriative of your significant other's bodily functions, but it won't if they come wrapped in tampons. Lots of tampons. Be sure that you get the right ones; otherwise you'll get a cardboard box hurled at your head followed closely by a lot of information.

Let Them Pick the Netflix and Chill

It's in the Male Feminist nature to make lots of decisions—it's one of our real strengths— but just let this one slide. If she wants to watch Love, Actually, do not bring up this thing you read on Bustle about how it's actually problematic. If she suggests Almost Famous, try not to light yourself on fire. If she is indie and suggests Eraserhead, do not say, "That's what your vagina looks like right now" when this happens.

Try Not to Bring Up Male Feminism Too Much

In this case, you'll just have to be woke in private. While most of the time it's insanely good to share how you are the most allied person in the world, during some periods it can actually be insanely bad. Really makes you think.

Sex Can Be Tricky

Lots of men find periods gross. We don't, because we're Male Feminists, but you should allow your girlfriend to let you know how she feels. If she wants to have sex, great; Male Feminists are some of the most sex-positive people on earth. If she wants you to go down on her, even better; Male Feminists love achievements, and this one is called "earning your red wings." Either way, make sure to pause the act to dramatically spread a tarp or ironic beach towel over your bed so you don't get yucky feminine matter where you sleep at night. It will help her feel less shame about her body in the erotic presence of a member of the clean gender.

These tips should help you catch a totally tubular crimson wave. But if all else fails, err on the side of catering to women on their periods like they are monarchs disabled by millennia of inbreeding. It doesn't send a really weird, paternalistic message for you to be acting differently towards people you know when they are "having their womanly time." Male Feminists need to be conscious of this stuff. Otherwise, someone might mess up and actually treat an adult woman like she's not a complete child with no control over her thoughts or emotions.