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Humans are funny. I don’t mean that we have such fantastic senses of humor and can find something to laugh at in every situation, since a lot of people can’t. I mean, the physicality of humans is hysterical.
That’s why farts make children, and some of us grown-ups as well, laugh; that’s why toilet humor exists. We’re weird little creatures whose bodies produce snot, saliva and all varieties of bizarre discharge and yet we have an attitude of holiness, of superiority for being the animals that evolved, the ones that changed the very nature of their genetic coding.
Perhaps in the future, we will evolve to no longer need to produce mucus and spit but for right now, we still have all the strange little bits of us and they’re all very funny. It’s about time we started having a real sense of humor about them.
A recent ad for a service that delivers care packages filled with menstrual items has really exposed how little we are able to laugh at ourselves. Hello Flo, started by Brooklyn based mother and entrepreneur Naama Bloom, released an ad that would be come to be known as “The Camp Gyno” in which a young girl, around eleven or twelve, makes jokes about being the first girl at camp to get her period and being the big boss in charge when it came to questions and issues with the other girls’ development.
The ad features jokes such as “it’s like Christmas for your vag” and said young girl addressing another one like a boot camp instructor when the second girl refuses to do physical activities because she feels too period-y (not a word but you get my point).
The reactions to the ad ranged from thrilled to horrified, some claiming this was an awful way to discuss such a sensitive issue and lord knows when the word sensitive gets brought up, everything comes to a screeching halt.
Where did this idea that women and girls are told that their issues are sensitive come from? Why were so many people shocked at the notion of humor being injected into the black realm of puberty?
Girls are expected to deal with their transformations with grace and discretion and to be laughing at how ridiculous it is that every month we bleed for several days while we go about our business is apparently an affront to our very delicate natures. Men and women alike treat female reproductive issues as if they are so repellant that discussing them outside of a clinical setting or making jokes about them as casually as the Camp Gyno did is simply inappropriate.
Some claim this is a male pattern of behavior, and they are wrong.
There are men who are extremely squeamish when it comes to all things vaginal but there are just as many women who have internalized the kind of thinking that kept Victorian ladies indoors the whole week of their periods.
We aren’t really allowed to laugh at how strange it is and just get a kick out of the weird phenomenon that is us. Many of the reactions to the ad tried to turn it around by saying if there was something similar for boys, an ad making comfortable jokes about their early erections, it would be awful and everyone who liked the period commercial would want it banned.
If someone wanted to make a commercial that explained to young men going through puberty that their erections were normal and kind of funny and that they shouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed about having them, then I, for one, would be their biggest fan.
This isn’t a male versus female thing; this is a human thing. This is a don’t-we-all-remember-how-freaky-it-was-to-go-through-puberty-and-wouldn’t-it-have-been-great-if-someone-told-us-it’s-not-that-serious thing.
A lot of people assume that since women tend to be victimized, they are the only ones that struggle with sexuality and sexual identity. Not all men are sexually liberated. In fact, male sexual repression is usually the cause of abusive behavior.
A healthy, sexually well-adjusted man doesn’t rape, doesn’t harass, and doesn’t consider someone else, male or female, an object. This conversation can and should be rippling through both sides of the spectrum.
None of us are a-ok with what happens in our own bodies and instead of speaking as if we are holy temples of godly light, maybe we should be making jokes about how silly and weird all these things are.
Girls especially are told that humor about gender and sexuality is uncouth. What is the sacred hold we have over our reproductive organs that we can’t bring ourselves to laugh about them?
“What is the sacred hold we have over our reproductive organs that we can’t bring ourselves to laugh about them?”
For every man who’s uncomfortable with this, there’s a woman who’s just as uncomfortable.
We get taught our periods are wonderful and beautiful. Great, that’s a good start but when you’re twelve and you get your period in white soccer shorts, wonderful and beautiful isn’t really an apt description.
Maybe, just every once in a while, we should let girls laugh about growing breasts and getting cramps and stop acting like we have some sacred power, bestowed upon us by whatever creator gets their kicks out of screwing with humans.
This is the same idolization that robs us of our humanity, the same one that says, “girls don’t sweat; they glisten,” or chides girls for farting or burping in front of the opposite sex.
Puberty is basically Mordor, a lightless and frightening world that must be traversed in order for peace to be restored. A kid going through puberty is filled with hormones, anxiety, and excitement and we could make a whole lot more kids a whole lot more well-adjusted if we let them laugh a little during condom demonstrations and development talks.
We frame everything in fear and inviolability. Handing down period talks like some specter of royalty is ridiculous. Tampon commercials with women dancing around in flowing dresses and smiling through their perfectly applied make-up are laughable.
Why is there still this attitude of purity? Is it not feminine behavior to joke about our bodies and their strange functions? All humans are hysterical balls of grossness and yet we cling to notions of sanctity.
For years, menstruation was referred to as “the curse” and now it seems to have gone to the complete flip side. Now it’s not called a curse or a burden but a wonderful gift, the magic ability to give life and all that junk. That approach is considerably better than “the curse” but it’s still damaging.
To shroud something in that level of reverence is a dangerous step. We are not cursed and we are not blessed. We are merely human and humans are gross. And wonderful. And very, very funny.