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 *
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?
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 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...