Danger: Women menstruating

Would workplaces benefit from office menstruation calendars?

Published September 11, 2006 4:30PM (EDT)

Yuck alert: The bons vivants at Gawker are considering, or jokingly pretending to consider, compiling a calendar of various media-industry women's menstrual cycles. The dubious benefits of the scheme would be the opportunity to prove or disprove the theory that women who spend lots of time together eventually see their cycles sync up, plus possibly helping companies schedule their events around their workers' hormonal surges. The authors don't seem sold on the proposal, but do offer trenchant period-related commentary like "Clots are nasty."

Because the tone here is light and no such project would ever actually get off the ground (even if they went ahead with it, they'd likely run into reluctance on the part of most women), this isn't worth a big overreaction. But the notion that menstruation, synchronized or otherwise, is incompatible with a serene work environment deserves to be discredited. Presenting the period as a liability just helps marginalize women, and creating an office- or industry-wide menstrual calendar should become a priority around the same time that someone undertakes a comparably gross-out project like keeping track of male workers' bald spots or sexual function. Gawker wonders, "If creating a calendar is in fact possible, would doing so represent an egregiously lowbrow and disgusting exploitation of men's fascination with a biological process that, if they experienced it themselves just once in their cramp-free lives, they would never want anything to do with again?" I submit a resounding yes!

At the end of the post, readers can vote on whether Gawker should undertake the project (currently it's neck-and-neck between "Synchronous menstruation is bullshit after college. Stop this now and go hurt yourself for even thinking about it" and "Love it! If you don't do it, I'm pitching the idea to 'Maxim'"). Go on over if you'd like to vote -- or if you'd like to check out the best comment of the day, offered by Gawker reader KarenUhOh: "Damn right this is important. Synchronous menstruation is an Olympic event in 2008." Ladies, start your engines.

By Page Rockwell

Page Rockwell is Salon's editorial project manager.

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