miss_s_b: Eleanor from The Good Place looking unimpressed, captioned "that's Bullshirt" (Mood: Bullshit)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
The internet's big talking point this weekend is that in so many ways the world is built around men, because somebody has written a book about it, and apparently this is news to a lot of people. Presumably people who haven't heard the discourse around pockets the last few years1.

A lot of the discussion is about the heights of things2 because this is an easily observable thing that we can all see and notice without much effort. Certainly when I worked in pubs, as a 5'1/4" person, the fact that the bar, the work surfaces in the kitchen, the grill height, the glass shelves, etc, were all designed for someone about seven and three quarter inches taller than me was not lost on me. This is why I have so many pairs of New Rock boots with massive heels and serious platforms.

But the thing that really got me is the medical stuff.

I'd known for a while about painkillers, because a trans friend told me. She was stunned by how much less efficacious painkillers were once her body and endocrine system reflected her womanhood, so she did some research on it. It's a known thing. Painkillers are only tested on men, because women might get pregnant and the hormonal changes might mess up the results. If you've ever wondered why it says in pretty much every pill's information leaflet "consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding" it's because they purposefully don't test them on pregnant people - or women at all just in case they might be pregnant and mess up the results. Note that this is not an interesting thing to study, the differences being pregnant might make, but an annoyance to be avoided. Because pregnant people never need pain relief...

I'd known for a while about heart attacks, and how women's symptoms differ markedly from men's, and women are therefore much more likely to not know they are having a heart attack and die3.

The one that brought me up cold today, though, was this from Marie on twitter:

Yeah. You read that right. Period pain is not a public health priority. But boners are.

Now, I am very fond of boners. They have provided me with a great deal of pleasure throughout my life, and I hope that they will continue to do so, and I am glad that viagra is available for those people with penises who have difficulty with them. But I have had a diagnosis of severe dysmenorrhoea for 31 years now, since I was ten years old. Severe dysmenorrhea is colloquially referred to as "period pain", but that's a bit like those British soldiers in the Korean war who were getting massacred and told the Americans they were having a spot of bother and then wondered why the Americans didn't come to rescue them.

Twice in the first year the pain was so serve my mum thought I had appendicitis and my appendix was exploding and I was going to die. I have had thirty-one years of, for one - or two or sometimes more - days every month, being so debilitated by pain that I can't move, can't bear bright light, can't eat because the pain is so severe I will just puke the food straight back up again, can't do anything but hide under the duvet with a hot water bottle and a sick bowl. I did a bit of rough maths this morning - say 1.5 days a month for 31 years - and came up with a figure of 558. Five hundred and fifty eight days of my life I have lost to completely avoidable agony, because people with uteruses being in completely avoidable agony is not a public health priority.

But what got me even more than that was doing a bit of reading around and discovering that this has been known for some time. This article is from 2016. But I hadn't heard about it before this round of book promotion, because it's not news, is it?
People with uteruses suffer completely avoidable pain? So what. Let's talk some more about the minutiae of Westminster Bubble politics.
Even the article the screencap above comes from is in the "lifestyle" section of the newspaper. Because it's not really news, that everyone needs to know about4, it's just a lifestyle issue that women have, completely avoidable agony, like which shoes to wear or which clothes to...

* reads back over first couple of paragraphs *

... oh.

Oh NOW I'm angry.

Because that's it, isn't it?

The mental health crisis in men is front page news, and deservedly so.
Boys underachieving in schools is front page news, and deservedly so.

But women's pain, women's suffering, the fact that the entire fucking system from clothes to medicine to cars to the shelves in the arsebadgering supermarket are all designed around men and women are an afterthought if we are even thought of at all? That's a lifestyle issue. Because you know who decides what is newsworthy, don't you?


Captain Kirk doing his rage dance

1 It's also well known that women's clothes - even clothes specifically designed for working in - are generally made from less durable, less comfortable fabrics, because women are meant to be decorative not practical.

2 Shelves in supermarkets are designed around someone 5'8", which is entirely coincidentally average male height, despite women doing more grocery shopping than men, for example.

3 Big love here to my friend who recently had a heart attack and thankfully did not die - you take it easy, girl, or I shall come over and do stern mama bear face at you.

4 If you're wondering why I'm not linking to that when I'm linking to everything else, it's because the book is by a massive transphobe, and the article has some transphobic dog whistles about gender neutral toilets in it. As someone - I think [personal profile] haggis - said on twitter yesterday, imagine how much more of a force for good CCP would be if she fought for all women and not just cis ones...

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 10:41 am (UTC)
white_hart: (Default)
From: [personal profile] white_hart
I have just turned to my (male) partner and said "if you take painkillers, do they work?". Mind actually blown; I'd always assumed that painkillers were a bit useless for everyone.

Thanks for this; I didn't link the Gruaniad article because I spotted the TERF dogwhistles and it's really good to be able to signal-boost the wider issues without also boosting TERFs.

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 08:49 pm (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
If my RSI/arthritis is playing up it can make simple things like using the phone painful

If I take ibuprofen I can ignore it completely for hours, it's probably too effective as if it is RSI it's not stopping me doing the damaging thing

So yeah, they work for me

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 11:28 pm (UTC)
white_hart: (Default)
From: [personal profile] white_hart
Whereas I can have a bog-standard tension headache, take ibuprofen *and* paracetamol two hours apart, and if I’m lucky it’ll just take the edge off. I mostly don’t even bother with painkillers now except for bringing down a temperature, as they have so little effect on pain.

Date: Monday, February 25th, 2019 09:44 pm (UTC)
owl: river and trees (country)
From: [personal profile] owl
Painkillers are actually more effective for me for period pain than headaches. Paracetamol with caffeine takes the edge off a headache, but I'd assumed those cheapo packs of just paracetamol that are about 20p were just placebo effect.
Edited Date: Monday, February 25th, 2019 11:31 pm (UTC)

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 11:09 am (UTC)
sevenhelz: hand-drawn picture of a bluetit with its mouth open, "yell" written by the beak (Default)
From: [personal profile] sevenhelz
I whole-heartedly support everything you say here, and I'm pissed off by the same things you are.

Side note, though, the book (which probably contains a lot of useful notes like that) is by Caroline Criado Perez, who has Things To Say about the term "cis" (or did in 2014). Good takedown here: https://www.transadvocate.com/et-tu-caroline-criado-perez_n_14058.htm?fbclid=IwAR3RcPWNr9ilBQJHo8LCYyfTAto6atNYGnCwp8zLaw1ZG1OIbxyrWwaZQ58

At the risk of derailing, I just really wish we could have the same volume and visibility of work from trans-inclusive feminists

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 12:20 pm (UTC)
softfruit: (Default)
From: [personal profile] softfruit
Yeah. And that their work sold newspapers (and clicks) as effectively as hate does. Actually, that it did so rather better than TERFy hate does.

Date: Friday, March 22nd, 2019 09:16 am (UTC)
sevenhelz: hand-drawn picture of a bluetit with its mouth open, "yell" written by the beak (Default)
From: [personal profile] sevenhelz
Seen,thanks. I'm not sure what level of transphobia we're talking here, and it turns out I know someone who knows her, so... I'll report back?

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 11:50 am (UTC)
alithea: Close up of half River's face (from firefly) with interesting shadows on it and "warrior" slogan (Warrior River (made by brokenharlequin))
From: [personal profile] alithea
Oh my! I too knew about the heart attack thing and about women's pain being taken less seriously, but I did not know the rest! Excellent rant.

And huge sympathy on the suffering. I am soo lucky that ibuprofen actually work for me for cramps usually.

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 12:05 pm (UTC)
hilarita: stoat hiding under a log (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
Fund research for Viagra use to combat cramping now!

While much of the article was excellent, it could have been even better if CCP wasn't trans-exclusionary.

I'm lucky in that I've not had a period in 10 years. This makes my life So Much Better. I had 15 years of excruciating pain about every 35 days. It's just fucking symptomatic that the world is designed around a norm, and Sucks To Be You if you're not the norm. And the more ways you're not the norm, the more it fucking sucks.

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 12:56 pm (UTC)
barakta: (Default)
From: [personal profile] barakta
I have somehow managed to miss that painkillers work for men and not women, ffs. Also extra loud FFS re the sidafinil and ignoring dysmenorrhoea which for me is better than it was thanks to some rounds of the pill which made me mad instead, but occasionally like last week gets me with a vengeance sounds like your above...

I wasn't sure of CCP was a transphobe but suspected she was after a disabled person pointed out that things are designed for disabled folk either and CCP's reply was "that's your problem, you get your own PR" with no sign of thinking intersectionally as women of different ethnicities have different body shapes and that many white feminists only seem to care about white women as if white women are the only recipients of sexism...

And yes, I was confused by the gender neutral toilet bits, I couldn't work out how that resulted in women waiting longer and it was so badly written after reading it 3 times I decided to ignore it. Brain wasn't functioning enough to realise it was transphobic shite... ffs...

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 01:40 pm (UTC)
alithea: Eleanor and Chidi from The Good Place with What the fork? text (What the fork? (made by tinny))
From: [personal profile] alithea
Me thinks she's taken hero worship of the white middle class suffragettes who didn't want the working classes to get the vote, a little too far... You'd think I would stop being shocked by media feminists not being intersectional by now but this still horrifies me.

Date: Monday, February 25th, 2019 09:25 am (UTC)
alithea: Artwork of Francine from Strangers in Paradise, top half only with hair and scarf blowing in the wind (Default)
From: [personal profile] alithea


Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 02:56 pm (UTC)
hilarita: stoat hiding under a log (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
I'm pretty sure she's of the camp that thinks intersectionality is a dirty word.

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 02:59 pm (UTC)
barakta: (Default)
From: [personal profile] barakta
That's Peak White feminism and all... The sort of people who ignore Kimberlé Crenshaw explaining it's about intersection of oppressions not identity...

Date: Monday, February 25th, 2019 09:32 pm (UTC)
owl: Stylized barn owl (Default)
From: [personal profile] owl
I think the toilet argument boiled down to something like even if nearly 50% of the instances of toilet usage are of the peeing-standing-up variety, stall usage is slower so it isn't fair to have 50% of the floor space used by the urinal-having toilets.

But that could be fixed without transphobia - 25% of the space is labelled "Urinals", 75% labelled "Stalls" and no gender involved (twiddled %s for whatever is the most efficient, assuming it's not a tech conference where 85% of the attendees are of the pee-standing-up configuration).

Date: Monday, February 25th, 2019 10:54 pm (UTC)
barakta: (Default)
From: [personal profile] barakta
Quite. As I said elseweb having run events which have had at least some de-gendered toilets every year since 2007 different toilet options/configurations need different solutions. Often the infra is suboptimal so it's the least-worst option which tries not to put disabled people at a disadvantage by leaving the accessible loo as the only gender free one etc... And cos the BiCon community largely don't suck, you can put signage up explaining the reasoning and asking people to "be considerate" and 98% of them will be which is usually good enough...

Toilets are an example of social model of many things and how much better it would be if we designed them sensibly without arbitrary genderedness and made them for PEOPLE who need them whether that's people with small children, or someone who needs a sink or disabled people who need hoists and grab rails or several clean stalls for people who just want a wazz and run... And yes, lets segregate the urinals somewhere on their own as a distinct option to get those who like standing to wee can use them (I know a lot of penis owning people who have never liked standing and prefer to sit...).

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 01:40 pm (UTC)
norfolkian: (Default)
From: [personal profile] norfolkian
I was watching Victoria Wood on Netflix the other day, and she did a sketch which hit the nail so on the head. I can't find a video clip of it, but here it is quoted on Twitter: https://twitter.com/VictoriaQOTD/status/924878790764797957

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 03:47 pm (UTC)
legionseagle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] legionseagle
Incidentally, there's a film called "Maiden" coming out, about Tracy Edwards' historic all-female entry in the Whitbread Round the World yacht race. They were sponsored by Royal Jordanian Airlines (I think Queen Noor took an interest) which gave them enough money to look at things like gearing and winch handles. Because guess what? All those are designed for "the average man", too, and it turns out that if you assume your winches are going to be operated and your sails hauled in by people with narrower shoulders and shorter arms, and design to compensate, you end up with a boat that a team of women can actually sail without having to start handicapped by their own kit.

(Incidentally I knew about this because my mother worked in munitions in the war, and they weren't allowed to set up their own lathes, because setting your own lathes would make them semi-skilled labour not unskilled labour, with consequences for wages and status. Of course the men set up the lathes for their own strength and size, and complained that women were not producing to the same quality.)

Date: Sunday, February 24th, 2019 04:57 pm (UTC)
franklanguage: "it's not me it's you" button (notmeitsyou)
From: [personal profile] franklanguage
It's also well known that women's clothes - even clothes specifically designed for working in - are generally made from less durable, less comfortable fabrics, because women are meant to be decorative not practical.

It's also well-known that's why women's clothes are less likely to have pockets; if she's home, she's wearing an apron, and if she's out, she's carrying a purse, amirite?

Date: Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 12:16 pm (UTC)
ruthct21: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ruthct21
Ref painkillers for women: when I had my pelvis reconstructed following a car accident some years ago, the approach to managing my (fairly excruciating) pain was max daily dosage of paracetamol plus max daily dosage of codeine plus (if that wasn't enough) a generous dollop of morphine. I queried what the 'maximum daily dosage' actually meant and was told that it simply applied to the particular drug, there wasn't a meaningful calculation for all of them together. The main effect, apart from a welcome level of pain relief, was a growing feeling that my brain was ceasing to function - reading was really hard work as was conversation of any length and as to using my imagination.....
The really scary part was that I was sent home with a permanent prescription for the paracetamol and codeine and a promise that I could probably have the morphine too if it was really necessary. There was no plan for weaning me off this dosage, which I have since been told I was highly likely to result in addiction.
I eventually did that myself with the help of a homeopath and re-energised my brain by studying for an OU degree.

Date: Tuesday, March 12th, 2019 06:29 am (UTC)
conuly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] conuly
I don't know how I missed this the first time around, but ffs, viagra, seriously!?

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A picture of me with my mum's dog Pippin

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