That’s a title, right there.
These are not feminist words.
The reason why I have used this title including that loaded gun ‘Feminist’ will become clear as you read, as you might generally hope with a title and its succeeding article.
I had the unfortunate coincidence of overhearing a conversation wherein the following phrase was shouted with all the jocundity you might expect at something that’s actually funny:
Dysmenorrhea?! Hahahahahaha! Haaaaaa! What does it mean?
pauses for Google search, reads definition selected
“Dysmenorrhea is painful menstruation that interferes with daily activities. It may include pain in the abdomen, back and legs, abdominal cramps, headache, and fatigue.”
Euu. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaaaa!! As if that’s a word.
Nooooooope, really. That, that right there above was a real, actual, monologue erupting in genuine laughter.
It massively upset me at the time – I think it was the laughter that did it. Or maybe, it was the arrogance and ignorance with which a simple word describing a medical condition could be bandied about for the sake of a cheap joke wherein the punchline of it being a real, nof*ckingway; ohmyf*ckinggod REAL word, is still unclear.
I was upset. Now, I’m just angry.
Is this a thing for cultural males? Is taking the p*** out of the different states of health and pain a vagina can be in, be the only way to use any vague sort of conversational skills to promote awareness – or actually, lack of?
Because guess what guys: DYSMENORRHEA IS A WORD. THESE KINDS OF WORDS EXIST! IN A DICTIONARY! AND THEY ARE USED BY PEOPLE!!! SAY WHAAAA???????
YEAH! AND ALSO USED BY DOCTORS AND PROFESSORS AND CLEANERS AND SOLICITORS AND TEACHERS AND THERAPISTS AND BUSINESS LEADERS AND PHARMACOLOGISTS AND CALL-CENTRE WORKERS AND NURSES AND PARAMEDICS AND most recently, by a d*ck.
THESE ARE ALSO NOT FEMINIST WORDS
ENDOMETRIOSIS noun /ˌen.dəʊ.miː.triˈəu.sɪs/ 1. A condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterus: doctors can treat endometriosis by controlling the levels of oestrogen in the body. 2. An often painful condition which can lead to heavy periods and sometimes, fertility problems. 3.This is also a real word. And real noun!
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE noun /dəˈmɛstɪk ˈvaɪələns/ 1. Violent or aggressive behaviour within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner. 2. Two women a week in the UK die due to domestic abuse from partners or ex-partners. 3. If this happened in a concentrated work place it would be front page news, treated as serial murder 4. Men who are pathologically ignorant, disrespectful and sociopathic are more likely to brutalise with domestic violence.
VULVA noun /ˈvʌl.və/ 1. The parts of the female sex organs that are outside the body. 2. Often meant when the overambitious say ‘vagina’ 3. Something that the Male in the aforementioned monologue has probably not had access to for a long, long time.
CERVIX noun /ˈsəːvɪks/ 1.The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). The uterus, a hollow, pear-shaped organ, is located in a woman’s lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum. 2. The cervix forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body. 3. The cervix is real, but you can pretend it’s not real if you have a very small penis, because you’re not going to make it up there anyway.
ABORTION noun /əˈbɔːʃ(ə)n/ 1. The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy, most often performed during the first 28 weeks. 2. A safe and often necessary procedure every woman should have the right to but there are many societies, cults and religions which do not allow it in their belief systems. 3. A procedure that is, by the same measure, exploited. 4. Maybe consider it if you think your future son will find women’s health issues simply hilarious and unreal.
AMNIOTIC FLUID noun /ˌæm.ni.ɒt.ɪkˈfluː.ɪd/ 1. The liquid that surrounds the embryo of a mammal, bird or reptile. 2. It’s the goo with the good stuff: electrolytes, and then after week 12 (for human mammals) proteins, liquids, phospholipids and urea; which is inhaled and exhaled by the foetus. 3. It’s why mammals can have waterbirths: “eeu, omfgreally; are they even real, waterbirths?” – Yes, you /ˌɪgnəˈreɪməs/.
CLITORIS noun /ˈklɪt.ər.ɪs/ 1. A sexual organ above the vagina that can give a woman sexual pleasure when it is touched. 2. It is real. 3. It is definitely real. 4. Doctors and even the dictionary defines this organ as real. 5. Some people do not know that it’s real, and/or where it is. 6. This is usually to the detriment of the person trying to find it, and because they can’t find it they may also be more likely to find dysmenorrhea hilarious because the vagina is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a keep-away-you-goddamn-moron sign.
Real words. Reality. Biology. Facts. They exist.
Mmmm, don’t that taste good?
*Postscript: I’m not a feminist to the degree that an Anarcha- or Socialist might be; as much as I enjoyed reading Engels and Valerie Solanas’ work.
However I can identify as a post-structuralist feminist, enjoying Judith Butler, the Black Woman’s Manifesto and David Hume. Summary: the difference between men and women is a strength that needs to be socially and politically harnessed to improve women’s rights where they are lacking, rather than that difference being the bone of contention; while always remembering that sexism and gender is controlled by language, law, politicians and cultural conditioning. These are often the things that need to change.
It’s surprising how many people who self-identify as non-feminist, are actually the above.