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Is it sexist to joke about PMT?

(44 Posts)
FlamingoBingo Thu 29-Sep-11 19:26:45

I thought not - I joke about my own. But I just read a link to a funny 'hormone guide' and when I searched for it on google, someone had referred to it as 'sexist but funny'. Is it really sexist? And if so, why?

MangoMonster Thu 29-Sep-11 19:38:38

Not sure, I wouldnt say so, but is it sexist to joke about erectile dysfunction. Both are facts relating to each sex they are not beliefs or attitudes, so no, I don't think it is.

WoTmania Thu 29-Sep-11 19:41:44

I think the problem is that most jokes about PMT assume that women, once a month become either a)ditzy or b)pschotic and that they are less 'able' (can't think of a good way to put it) once a month because of hormones

MangoMonster Thu 29-Sep-11 20:10:06

Isn't that ignorance rather than sexism?

FlamingoBingo Thu 29-Sep-11 20:10:40

How true is it, though? I know I am far more sensitive than usual when I have PMT, and lose my rag far quicker. And it's not 'self-fulfilling prophecy' because I usually don't know when I'm due and wonder if I'm slipping into a depression...until my period arrives!

So what's wrong with joking about it? Well, what's sexist about joking about it, I mean?

DontCallMeFrothyDragon Thu 29-Sep-11 20:12:10

grin There's a plus to me not getting PMT...

Anyway, yes. I'd say it is sexist, as it assumes the only valid reason for a woman getting angry/confused is that their period is due.

madwomanintheattic Thu 29-Sep-11 20:16:29

um, i think it depends a lot on context. if it's some bloke (like a colleague for example) making 'time of the month, love?' 'jokes' to a female colleague in front of one or more male colleagues as a deliberate attempt to question her ability to focus and do her job, then yeah. sorry, but sexist as hell.

if it's a couple of women in a bar mildly ribbing each other about incompetence, whatever, can't get excited about it. (that said, i'd be enormously pissed off if my own competence was questioned in any way due my hormone status)

i was actually really uncomfortable as a school governor using the staff toilets to find cartoons regarding pmt and menopause tacked up all over the walls. the toilets were unisex and whilst there were no male teachers on staff, we did have male governors and visitors. i just didn't think it was particularly professional, and quite exclusionary.

StewieGriffinsMom Thu 29-Sep-11 20:25:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UsingPredominantlyTeaspoons Thu 29-Sep-11 20:32:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Thu 29-Sep-11 20:36:38

The Hormone Guide'

'Women will understand it - men should memorise it'

'Every woman knows that there are days when all a man has to do is open his mouth and he takes his life in his hands'

*'What's for dinner', 'Here's my paycheck', 'What did you DO all day', 'Could we be over-reacting?'

Do you really need to ask if it's sexist?

sunshineandbooks Thu 29-Sep-11 20:38:47

I've never come across anyone making jokes about PMT that weren't doing it in a disparaging way. I've never met any women who've made jokes about PMT. Only men. I find most men who make jokes about PMT do it in a way that undermines the validity of what the woman is saying.

The self-fulfilling prophecy idea is interesting. How about turning it on its head? For example, I work with someone who says she knows when she'd due on because she always gets really pissed off about the housework. She laughs this off in a "tch, hormones!" kind of way. But isn't the reality really that she is right to be pissed off about housework (in the sense that she does the overwhelming majority of it)? Maybe the hormones are responsible for shaking off all the social conditioning. Maybe all these 'hormonal' women are actually thinking more accurately while they're menstruating and that's why men find it so threatening and like to use it to undermine women.

WishIwereAtTheWiesnProst Thu 29-Sep-11 20:41:17

How true is it, though? I know I am far more sensitive than usual when I have PMT, and lose my rag far quicker. And it's not 'self-fulfilling prophecy' because I usually don't know when I'm due and wonder if I'm slipping into a depression...until my period arrives!

I have PCOS so know knowledge whatsoever of when I am due on. I find the above to be very true though. But that is just me not every woman and if a man at work made a comment about me being on my "time of the month"....well he'd soon wish he hadn't. It is sexist for men to make jokes.

WishIwereAtTheWiesnProst Thu 29-Sep-11 20:42:40

its a possibilty sunshine but dh once said he knows when I'm suffering from PMT and he doesn't like being in the kitchen near the knives with me.

He did actually mean it too. sad

FlamingoBingo Thu 29-Sep-11 20:43:12

@Narky - I know the questions were sexist, and they could have chosen some less sexist to make the same point.

@Sunshine & Madwoman - YY, I think context is a big factor in it.

@Sunshine, again, as it's addressing a point I made earlier: I hope that's not the case, or I shouldn't be married to my husband! Honestly, I adore him most of the month, and literally despise him the week of my period. I hate housework all month grin

Is it sexist, then, when it's not done in a disparaging way by a man, but in a solidarity way between women?

WoTmania Thu 29-Sep-11 20:44:08

Madwoman - that's pretty much what I came on here to add. If someone is rude/dismissive (and I've maybe not had the best of days) and I snap at them, them going 'ooooh , time of the month?' really isn't going to help. The assumption that it can be put down to hormones, and a woman's feelings ignored (cos that's often what happens - You're just being over sensitive, hormonal are we?) just isn't on.

FlamingoBingo Thu 29-Sep-11 20:44:19

And, also, I have to say that no man that I have on my FB feed, for example, has ever sent me a PMT joke, but heaps of women have, and they've all made me smile.

My husband would probably give a wry smile, but would never dream of sharing them on, whereas I do...

FlamingoBingo Thu 29-Sep-11 20:45:08

WoTmania - agree totally - that is unacceptable, rude, patronising, sexist etc. etc. I would probably want to kick a man in the balls who did that to me, and not because I was hormonal but because he is clearly a dick-head!

MangoMonster Thu 29-Sep-11 20:45:46

That's true it's not the case every woman gets it like erectile dysfunction, so I can see it would be sexist in certain instances.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Thu 29-Sep-11 20:45:57

I don't really get PMT. And even if I did, it might make me quicker to say someone's being an arsehole, but that doesn't make them less of an arsehole.

Dismissing women's behaviour as being down to PMT taps into the idea of women as fragile creatures at the mercy of their hormones.

WoTmania Thu 29-Sep-11 20:46:25

I think there is a difference between women sharing the jokes and men making them to try and shut a woman up or belittle her.

KRITIQ Thu 29-Sep-11 20:46:31

I can't recall ever hearing any genuinely funny jokes about PMT - only ones used as a cover for either undermining individual women or expressing sexist views.

I think it makes a difference whether you are joking about yourself and something you experience or joking about something that happens to other people. I've never had PMT - honest, so I don't think it would be right for me to joke about it or make negative comments because I have no idea what I'm talking about, at least not first hand.

WishIwereAtTheWiesnProst Thu 29-Sep-11 20:47:43

Actually why is it Ok to take the piss out of what is a nasty problem for some women? Some women suffer severely from depression and stress from PMT.

No body would mock depression the rest of the time, is it because it's "women's problems" that it's ok to laugh?

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Thu 29-Sep-11 20:48:13

And I wouldn't like PMT 'jokes' from women either.

WoTmania Thu 29-Sep-11 20:49:20

I think so wishIwere - also a lot of women are embarrassed about the whole mentsrual thing and so I think some men play on assuming if they bring up periods the woman will shut up.

MarginallyNarkyPuffin Thu 29-Sep-11 20:49:22

I did have PMT when I used the hormonal contraception for a few months. It's why I stopped using it.

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