The myth of the PMS is nothing but a vestige of the deeply patriarchal mentality that saw women as overtly emotional and fragile creatures who were controlled by their unpredictable and uncontrollable physicality. This is self-evident to anybody but those who have bought into the myth. Here, however, is scientific proof:
“The idea that any emotionality in women can be firstly attributed to their reproductive function — we’re skeptical about that,” Dr. Sarah Romans told me, skeptical said with audible restraint.
She and eight other researchers at the medical school at the University of Toronto published a review last week in the journal Gender Medicine that looked at all of the clinical research they could find to date on PMS with prospective data. Their conclusion was that the articles, in aggregate, “failed to provide clear evidence in support of the existence of a specific premenstrual negative mood syndrome.”
Romans isn’t saying that the mood symptoms we attribute to PMS aren’t real and common. But she is saying that those symptoms are culturally over-attributed to the menstrual cycle.
By pure chance, I recently found myself at a discussion board where different methods of contraception were talked about. The board scared me, to be honest.
“I went on the pill and became very emotional.”
“I went off the pill and became a total psycho bitch.”
“I never was on the pill, so why am I so psychotic and emotional?”
After 20 pages of comments about women’s uncontrollable emotions, I was beginning to wonder if I was even female. Then I saw the following comment which was a breath of fresh air on that uncontrollably emotional discussion board:
“I went on the pill and it made me fat and angry. So I went off the pill and realized that I was simply a fat bitch.”
It’s time to let go of the culturally constructed myth that women’s physiology has anything to do with uncontrollable emotions:
“PMS has been called a culture-bound syndrome in North America, and there are huge cultural differences in terms of how readily that explanation is reached for.” There aren’t, to her knowledge, cultures where a notion of PMS isn’t a consideration.
I know at least one such culture. When I was growing up, nobody heard we were supposed to have PMS or anything of the kind, so nobody had it. Then American companies started importing their menstruation-related medication and paying for endless ads aiming to convince us that we had to start suffering from these invented syndromes as soon as possible.