The Adonis and The PMS

-Karen Cardona

While reading both, The Adonis Complex and PMS as a Culture-Bound Syndrome I was able to see how these two issues occur in our society but we hardy ever speak about them. The times in which I have heard about these two in a form of conversation has been in a way that mocks or makes fun of the situation as a way to make others feel bad. To start off the article that I was able to connect the most to was the one relating to PMS by Chrisler, I remember growing up and my mother constantly talking to me about the day I finally “became a woman”. The idea of it would freak me out and constantly make me feel very uncomfortable, I remember seeing a couple of girls in my classroom who got their period during class and all the boys laughed at them. From that day on I would always carry an extra pair of underwear in my bag and some menstrual pads. My mother also informed me about the terrible cramps that come along with this; I would see my friends in pain with horrible stomachaches that at the time I could not understand. Most people would always tell them to “stop over reacting” that it was “just a stomachache”; most of these comments were coming from male teachers. Looking back and now reading these symptoms I am able to see that the excruciating pain that my 12-year-old friends ‘complained’ about was PMS.

Every time I have conversations with my friends they always talk about how horrible the pains are, that they constantly need to take medicine or get in birth control to manage the pain and regulate their periods. I personally have never had cramps before or during my menstruation, every time I tell my friends this they tend to push me away and make it seem as if I am not woman enough. The problem is not about separating one another through differences but to come together to solve the stereotypes that having a period usually portrays. All these TV commercials and ads that depict women as insane and bitchy during these five days. Jokes such as “BEWARE OF ANIMAL THAT BLEEDS FOR FIVE DAYS AND DOESN’T DIE”. See at first we are taught to laugh at these jokes because and blah. It becomes problematic when women begin to attack one another through these jokes and stereotypes often times to fuel the humor in a male. Chrisler describes how violent women are presented in cartoons; this demonstrates how these stereotypes are placed at a very young age. These characteristics of being upset then become abnormal for a woman since women are supposed to play out this idea of a soft, caring, and sweet spoken creature. I believe that women menstruation and PMS should be subjects that we talk more about in elementary schools and in high schools. This would prevent a lot of the stereotypes to continue from getting worse and for girls to actually have a space to explore their interactions with periods.

In the second reading The Adonis complex I found the topic of it extremely interesting, I feel that we constantly see ads that emphasize the way that women are supposed to look but we hardly ever see discussion about male bodies. The part that shocked me of this reading the contrast between the perfect male ideal and the perfect female ideal, females are expected to have a small and slim figure to highlight their femininity. Males on the other hand are expected to be large with muscles to highlight their masculinity. While women tend to go to the gym to ‘slim’ down their figure, males drink protein shakes to make their muscles larger. What happens then to those males and females who do not want to fit in these categories? Although being a male provides you automatic privilege, there are things that place some males at a higher place in society. We tend to label body image as an issue that only women deal with; unfortunately this is a human issue that both male and female deal with. While speaking to one of my male friends he explained to me “we hurt to, but we are not allowed to show it”. It made think about all the times when I’ve seen issues revolve around women instead of looking at issues through a much broader perspective, through gender lens that not only focuses on women but also men. Could we begin to look at the need many males have to become bigger to the need that many women have of becoming thinner? Could we begin to take extreme body building as serious as anorexia?

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3 thoughts on “The Adonis and The PMS

  1. Karen,

    Yes! Thank you for talking about all the stereotypes that go along with PMS. I found this article called “Five Most Sexist IPhone Apps” and look what’s number one…
    http://www.salon.com/2009/12/18/sexist_iphone_apps/

    PMSTracker: Unlike apps designed to help women keep track of their own menstrual cycle, this one is meant specifically for men. It “allows you to quickly track the approximate time each woman in your life has PMS” using a color-coded method that functions much like the U.S. government’s terror alert system — only it’s red alert, severe chance of PMS attack!

    Emma Weisberg

    1. Haris Kuljancic
      I wanted to focus on your point on men sliming down and drinking protein shakes to get bigger because I notice it starting as early as middle school, high school, college, and even late adulthood. I asked why? I talked to my friends about this and many of them told me similar stories. They said, “If you’re surrounded by fit, athletic, strong people, how could you not want to be like them?” I thought about social pressure and how much it truly affects people and I thought that it was a major factor when it came down to getting fit and losing years of your life in a gym. But it’s very interesting that people notice much smaller things in society. For example, the clothes people wear at Harris are often time athletic clothes because they just came from the gym. Many people wear jerseys and support teams and are apart of the jockey lifestyle even if they aren’t athletic or fit.

  2. Luis Ramos:

    Going off of what Haris pointed out in his post, I don’t see how slimming down and drinking protein shakes makes you manlier than someone who doesn’t. Although masculinity shouldn’t be measured by how muscular you are or how strong you are, it would be manlier if your strength and muscle was NATURALLY gained rather than with the use of supplements, vitamins, etc. I always joke about this with my friend. It’s great that he’s becoming healthier and what not by going to the gym consecutively, but with the use of protein, he’s basically cheating. I don’t necessarily think he’s being peer pressured to be fit and athletic because not many of our close friends go to the gym, but perhaps there’s personal reasons for the need to lose weight and gain muscle. Is it ’cause he doesn’t feel manly enough?

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