UPDATED on October 2, 2018: ACTS-OFW Representative John Bertiz issued an apology via CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday, October 2. "Sa mga hanay ng kababaihan, humihingi na naman ako ng tawad. Sa akin wala talagang ibig sabihin." Read the report here.
It's taken a while, but the period, an experience unique to women, is finally having its moment. In the last few years, all things period have been brought into the spotlight because of several social movements and hashtag campaigns. Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, even has a new advocacy that's all about giving girls in underdeveloped communities access to menstrual hygiene products as a form of empowerment. Hell, we also have period panties now!
Still, in an era where feminists are doing backbreaking work to normalize menstruation and break the stereotypes that come with it, women on their period are being reduced to whiny, entitled humans who can't control their emotions or keep their tantrums at bay.
We're sure you've seen or heard about ACTS-OFW Representative John Bertiz's statement addressing his confrontation with a security checker at NAIA over the weekend. CCTV footage of him harassing a security checker went viral, of course, because the Internet is always watching.
On October 1, 2018, Bertiz apologized for his behavior, which would've been great had it not been for his likening his poor behavior to a woman on her period: "For the past three years that I've been a member of Congress, once a year na medyo nadadapuan po tayo ng monthly period…. 'Di ko na rin po maiaalis na tao lang po, na marupok at umiinit ang ulo. Naii-stress din sa trabaho."
This comparison is problematic for several reasons:
- It's inaccurate: Periods cause women physical discomfort, yes, but despite certain cultural beliefs, women experience period symptoms differently. Some women have mood swings, while others don't. Emotional changes are unique to a person.
- It uses menstruation as an excuse to be an asshole. Every day, women on their period take care of entire families, complete house chores, show up to work, and generally kick ass all while bleeding even when for some, this monthly experience can be downright excruciating. But we keep going, and we don't blame our shortcomings on PMS.
- It associates periods with shame. The most effective way to eradicate the cultural stigma around menstruation is to treat it like the normal bodily function that it is. It's not a limitation; it is not something to apologize for.
- Indirectly, it affects the way men view periods. The road to ending taboos surrounding menstruation, like other issues of social injustice, requires the support of men. Half of the population can't achieve full equality. Statements like that of John Bertiz perpetuates stereotypes that do nothing but hinder period progress.
And the Internet agrees: