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Are we doing ourselves any favours with the "I'm hormonal excuse"?

(200 Posts)
GruntledOne Tue 13-Oct-15 23:08:03

We see only too often on here someone excusing or explaining daft/unreasonable/irrational behaviour on the basis that "I'm pregnant/just. given birth/premenstrual/menstrual/post menstrual, I'm hormonal, I can't help it". Yet there are hordes of women out there handling difficult and/or dangerous jobs day after day with no concessions for the possibility that it could be that time of the month. You don't see female police officers claiming that they don't fancy going on that dawn raid as it's the wrong time of the month, or barristers excusing a bad job because they're pregnant. I've worked with women in a variety of jobs over the years and never been able to tell when they were on their periods unless they mentioned it.

What concerns me about constantly reaching for the hormonal excuse is that it will backfire. It's exactly the excuse employers use for not employing or promoting women, and we are simply giving it credence. So should we maybe all give it a rest?

pieceofpurplesky Tue 13-Oct-15 23:11:10

You have obviously never suffered adenomyosis or endometriosis.

Arfarfanarf Tue 13-Oct-15 23:12:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PacificDogwod Tue 13-Oct-15 23:14:47


It should not be used as an explanation, never mind an excuse, for bad or irrational behaviour.
I totally accept that hormone can affect behaviour, but you never here a man saying "oh, yes, I started that bar fight because I was hormonal", do you?

We do ourselves a disservice by using 'hormones' in this context.

justkeeponsmiling Tue 13-Oct-15 23:17:27

I understand what you are saying but I think your examples are bonkers. Who says hormonal women "don't fancy" doing their job? I've never heard of any woman tefusing to work because they feel hormonal.
FWIW I always carry out any job I need to, at work or at home, regardless of my hormones. However, at certain times I might become more irritated/have a shorter fuse/feel more tearful. I wish I didn't but I do. In my day to day life that doesn't mean I do a shit job of anything or that I can't finction. It usually just means I snap at DH a bit more often.

ChilledAndPleasant Tue 13-Oct-15 23:18:54

Oh yes, I agree.
I am definitely less patient/more inclined to snap/less likely to take crap or deal with it calmly at certain times of the month but I don't even tell my OH when that is or use it as an excuse.

Mmmmcake123 Tue 13-Oct-15 23:19:10

Too right op, def not a good excuse for anything if women want to be taken seriously. I would excuse post birth tho, I don't understand why all mums are not treated for PTSD. I don't think lighthearted jokes are just that, they give a bad impression of capability

Bloomsberry Tue 13-Oct-15 23:19:28

Truly, I only ever see that on here, just as I only see the 'baby brain' myth on here. I don't know RL women who say this. I have hormones, obviously, but they don't dictate my behaviour to the detriment of my professionalism or rationality. I finished a book while I was pregnant, and wrote another on maternity leave. I don't weep at ads at any point in my cycle.

I tend to think it's just lazy, semi-automatic cliche - the kind of phatic drivel that counts as bonding, the equivalent of wittering on about diets, sports or soap operas - rather than something people really believe.

CultureSucksDownWords Tue 13-Oct-15 23:19:48

Hormones are not a reason or an excuse for bad behaviour or poor performance at work. However, immediately post birth you are experiencing a radical shift in hormones which can affect you emotionally. Fortunately not many women in the UK are in their workplace when this is happening, so that specifically doesn't seem to be an issue for me.

BertrandRussell Tue 13-Oct-15 23:20:02

Gruntledone- I was going to post a thread like this this afternoon. I absolutely agree with you- there was even a poster a couple of days ago flinging expletives about then blaming "pregnancy rage".

It used to be received wisdom that women couldn't be trusted in high powered jobs because they were so at the mercy of their "cycles". The last thing we want is to play into the hands of people who think like that- they don't need much encouragement!

PeaceOfWildThings Tue 13-Oct-15 23:21:54

I couldn't be a police officer. My periods have always been too painful, heavy, irregular and the PMT is something I take very strong medication for, recommended and prescribed by my GP. It takes the edge off the hormone imbalance but hasn't 'cured' me.
It's an illness, a chemical imbalance in the brain (and an auto immune disease causing some of it, too) it isn't an automatic part of being female. You obviously have never experienced what I have gone through. So don't think you can speak on my behalf, or tell me to give it a rest. I am not telling you what you should do, or trying to represent you. Don't think you have any clue about my life just because we both have similar sex organs.

ilovesooty Tue 13-Oct-15 23:21:55

I do sometimes feel tempted when I read that to say "You don't normally behave like a twat then?" but I sit on my hands until the urge passes.

disclaimer only when the OP is presenting like a twat, not as someone who's genuinely unhappy/confused.

WorraLiberty Tue 13-Oct-15 23:22:39

Gosh I've seen it on here tons of times.

YANBU in the sense that it's often used on MN to excuse/justify shitty and unreasonable behaviour.

But YABU to think that it's used that often in real life.

At least not in my experience it isn't.

BertieBotts Tue 13-Oct-15 23:22:40

Doing it on here is totally different to using it in real life. For one thing, by the time you post on MN you're usually looking at something in retrospect. I never realise that I've overreacted until after the fact. And then quite often I do suddenly realise time of the month and the penny drops!

I don't act totally irrationally for the whole of my "hormonal" period but I am more reactionary and quicker to upset than I am at other times. That's an observation rather than an excuse. And it doesn't happen every time so it usually takes me by surprise.

shrunkenhead Tue 13-Oct-15 23:25:07

It puts feminism back fifty years! I hate it. It's an excuse women use often. The only time it is acceptable is after giving birth, PND and/or PTSD and even then I'm not 100% convinced it's hormones but a readonable reaction to a huge life event.

CainInThePunting Tue 13-Oct-15 23:25:18

I'm really conscious of my premenstrual shit, I am fucking unreasonable at times and I think if my behaviour was down to something like alcohol consumption I would be told, quite rightly, to get help.
It's not that easy though is it?
Is it the same as bad behaviour from alcohol abuse? Or general unpleasantness?
I'm not sure about that.

AnyoneButAndre Tue 13-Oct-15 23:25:25

I can't remember ever seeing people saying "I'm hormonal" about their regular menstrual cycle (except in specific PMT-related threads). I do see it mentioned in relation to pregnant or post-natal posters though - either a poster jokily saying it about herself or other posters saying "Seriously, you might think you want to call your baby Fantastique/divorce your DH because he watches The Apprentice but that's just your hormones playing tricks".

SeaMagic Tue 13-Oct-15 23:26:15

I do get 'hormonal' or PMT... It tends to come on about 1- 2 weeks prior to my period.

I get 'heightened emotions' at this time... so more prone to tears if I feel upset, I also feel on a shorter fuse so get angrier quicker if I am frustrated or irritated.

However it is useful being aware of this because it allows me to keep a lid on certain emotions, be more wary of displaying them or distract myself from them... because I realise they are somewhat stronger than they would be at another time of the month. That way I can avoid crying at work or blowing up at a friend over something. I may still want to address whatever the issue is making me feel this way but I might wait for a time to do so when my emotions aren't raging rather than spontaneously expressing them!

Hormones haven't affected my capacity to do my job well however!

SushiAndTheBanshees Tue 13-Oct-15 23:28:04

I get what you're saying, OP, but I'm not sure I agree.

Hormones can and do change people, often dramatically. In the vast majority of cases, it's women who are affected. There's nothing more infuriating than someone (normally a man) trying to understand or explain certain behaviors with "is it that time
Of the month?!", or "don't mind her, it's pregnancy brain speaking!".

Hormones are a fact of life. Why must the standard for acceptability be logic, rational logic, at all times? That is to deny people who live at the mercy of their endocrine systems any place at all - their emotions and feelings are deemed invalid as they are "only" hormonal. Whatever the cause of them, they are real and exist and should be treated as such.

I don't think this should excuse poor behavior, in the workplace or elsewhere. We must all take responsibility for our actions. But neither should feelings and emotions be derided and belittled, ignored and dismissed. They are real and valid just as intelligent thought is real and valid. I fear this is just another man vs woman thing.

Lovelydiscusfish Tue 13-Oct-15 23:28:30

I think if women were using this to excuse dereliction of duty in the workplace, you would potentially have a point that this was non- ideal (except in certain cases, where severe hormonal issues could explain this - hopefully sufferers in this case could access medical help, as this would compromise their quality of life). I don't think it's the case at all though, that women in general say "Was crap at my job today -I blame my bloody hormones!"
If women are chatting generally about issues among friends, or for example on an Internet forum, surely it is perfectly fine, and, indeed, true, to acknowledge that hormones can effect mood (for good or ill) at times. Nothing at all wrong with that, and nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, it can be a powerful and empowering thing, to experience and to recognise.

JasperDamerel Tue 13-Oct-15 23:29:31

I have PMDD. It often does mean that I do a shit job, although I am able to manage it much better these days. I am really looking forward to life after the menopause.

Mrsjayy Tue 13-Oct-15 23:29:55

I guess women are moaning on the internet looking for a bit of soladarity and maybe a there there, in real life women get up and go out do their jobs while feeling hormonal personally for a week a month i feel like shite tired confused weepy and irrational and in pain does not mean I dont go out for fear of crying in the street or punching somebody in the face. I dont take contraceptives so my hormones are up and down.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 13-Oct-15 23:34:02

Yanbu. 'Hormones' explains why dd and her puberty age friends seem to have silly minor fall outs. They don't provide a convenient excuse for me to go round acting irrationally or playing the sensitive hormonal female who could burst into floods of tears at any point.

When animals act in an ott manner because of hormones, it's usually seen as something to get hormone treatment for. Not a valid reason everyone should just accept anything because of.

Lovelydiscusfish Tue 13-Oct-15 23:39:22

My word, some scary stuff on here. 'An excuse women use", "playing the sensitive hormonal female", etc.
Maybe it's women just describing their actual female experience, in a world that is harsh (especially for women).

RoseWithoutAThorn Tue 13-Oct-15 23:41:44

I can only speak for myself but when I was pregnant I was extremely careful to keep my hormone induced irrational thoughts to myself at work. YABU OP as many women suffer terribly with hormone imbalances that affect their day to day life.

People post on here for a variety of reasons that you may consider "daft/unreasonable/irrational behaviour" However, you don't actually know what's going on in anyone's life to make such a sweeping generalisation.

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