Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Hit-and-Run: Removed following from main article:

"Alternatively, a writer may give their female characters a menstrual cycle for the sake of realism. In this case, the character will normally have exactly one period (in a Coming-of-Age Story, it will be her first), and it will never be spoken of or described ever again." With this "example", the trope is being stretched to mean "any work in which menstruation is not repeatedly mentioned". Makes it pretty hard to avert, surely?

Also: changed line in main article about "there is a persistent belief that domestic animals may become much harder to handle for a woman on her period". Grounds: I've never encountered a single reference to this, either in fiction or real life, so I'd have to question how persistent the belief is... and in fact I suspect the reference is a nod to the quote from an older version below: "One writer even pointed out that Alice the Barbarian is going to have a problem riding her stallion during this time of the month. Other male (non neutered) animals also can be a problem, especially if she is running around in the woods." No idea which writer this is, but it sounds more like an individual's little kink to me.
Pastafarian: Removed the ridiculous spoiler tags on the Whateley Universe entry; given that the supposed "spoiler" is revealed early and often and is a major component of the premise of the series, I see no reason to conceal it.
''One writer even pointed out that Alice the Barbarian is going to have a problem riding her stallion during this time of the month. Other male (non neutered) animals also can be a problem, especially if she is running around in the woods.
  • ... what?!? What the hells is that supposed to mean? I rode horses for most of my adolescent life and having my period never interfered with my ability to ride. And stallions are fucking insane no matter what time of the month it is. If she's on a stallion in the first place, she's either got some magical sympathy with animals that keeps him from kicking her face in just for shits 'n giggles, or she's a freakin' moron. And what're you thinking will happen with the un-neutered male animals? It's true animals can be attracted by the smell of menstrual blood, but that's mostly because they think it smells delicious and they want to eat it. Menstruation is at the opposite side of the cycle from estrus. If anything, a menstruating woman should smell less sexy to an un-neutered male wolf or bear that happens to be passing by. Though this might not be noticed because since if it's the end of a long travel day she's basically been slow-marinating in her own blood and therefore smells more delicious than she might otherwise, but that would hold true for any carnivore, male or female, neutered or not. In fact most of the problems presented by menstruating in a field situation can be averted by employing basic hygiene procedures. Bury or burn all waste, and keep your rags clean. That simple. Damn.
    • Only thing I've heard along those lines was that predators might think that you're wounded and therefore easy prey.
    • But the riding bit would be a problem for another reason: she may be a bit... tender at that time a month ''

Sciatrix: Am I the only one who thinks this part is really discussiony? Incidentally, most intact animal males don't react sexually to human menstrual cycles at all, in my experience. A lot of stallions are crazy largely because they tend not to be properly socialized or exercised, and also because they're often expected to behave that way. If all stallions were insane, the tendency of warhorses in the past to be stallions would be a bit strange, as would the prevailing custom in many Hispanic countries of preferring to ride only stallions.

Sukeban: It may help that the Spanish word for "neutered" is the translation for "castrated" and it might sound a teeensy bit unmanly for a macho hero to be riding a mare or a capón (castrated horse) rather than a semental (stallion). "Capón" is also used for castrated roosters that are fattened for eating, so not the most athletic of connotations, either.

Mister Six: "When Auntie Flo comes calling on Barbie the Barbarian, out in the field slaughtering Scythians in her Breast Plate and leather thong, what's she going to do?" — presumably nobody would be able to tell, since she ought to be covered in the blood of her slain foes anyway? :)

Due to American television broadcast standards, animated women in family-oriented shows are never allowed to get periods or even talk about them. Any mentions of menstruation in a Japanese anime are ruthlessly excised before said anime is allowed to be shown on American TV.

Fencedude: this really an issue? I've watched, A LOT of anime, and I can't think of any examples that were "brutally excised" from the american TV aring, since...most of the examples never aired on American TV to begin with. Anime tends to dance around it just as much as any other medium, and the Only Yesterday example barely counts because we don't even know if it were the truth.

Gracie Lizzie: Braceface has an episode centered around the main character getting her first period, see the description here on the official site. Scroll down to #8 THE WORST FIRST DATE EVER. PERIOD.

BTT He P: Saw the title, thought it was in internet trope about folks who don't punctuate. This one, of course, needs to be out there, but I personally like the title "Memento Menses". But I am a sick little man.

Unknown Troper: Clair Huxtable put it best "Remember that without Aunt Flo there would be no uncles!"

Phartman: Practically speaking, I'd guess that menstruation isn't depicted for the same reason no one hardly ever takes a dump on TV: it's gross. Let's just assume it's happening when we aren't looking and not worry about it.

Eno: Agreed, Phartman. When I want to immerse myself in a bit of escapism, I'll say seeing a girl going through her cycles is not on the top of my list. Plus it would get pretty repetitive seeing every female character in a series going through it every month... Only so many storylines you can base around menstruation.

Clerval: But other bodily functions don't require much in the way of... supplies. It's not that anyone wants to SEE it, and there are plenty of stories where you can assume the women are just dealing with it offscreen like everything else. But WHAT are the women on Lost doing about this? WHAT? Just one scene once (the women are sitting around together trying to invent a way to make tampons) would have dealt with it forever! It could have been funny! But then I also tend to worry about characters of both sexes who are left tied up alone in dungeons for days on end without even a bucket.

vegacoyote: Actually, it's not that hard to figure out. If you're out camping and run out of tampons, you can easily use bandanas or other spare cloth as pads, then rinse em out in the creek later. One in use, one drying, one clean. And it's better for the environment too since you're re-using them rather than throwing em away.

Yubi Shines: I concur that you don't need to get into exhaustive detail about adventures with medieval pantyliners, but at least some acknowledgment that fantasy chicks have uteruses. And while I'm on it, no one ever stops on the quest to do their laundry...

Hit-and-Run: Yes, but the problem is that prior to the edit I just did, the main article had it that dealing with menstruation once wasn't enough! Also– I'm getting just a funny vibe here, especially when you take into account some of the things quoted from previous versions... like some people seem to be a bit over-preoccupied by it all.

Personally, the trope has never worried me– or rather, I honestly never noticed it prior to reading this article! And I was female last time I checked.
Andrew: Cut the Avatar example as the fact that male waterbenders also go through that makes the entire thing pointless. And if it was a joke, it was a stupid one.
nobody: Change their tampons every 8 hours!? Do such women exist? What sort of super-duper absorbency are they using? I'm changing that line to 5 hours.

Antheia: Seems somebody changed it back. Never mind absorbency, the TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) risk alone makes changing tampons only every 8 hours a really not-very-good idea. I'm changing it again.

Anyway, does anyone else feel that claiming this is Truth Is Television is somehow missing the point? It's not a matter of the periods not being seen, it's that they don't seem to happen at all in some cases.

fleb: Yeah, those paragraphs don't really mesh well and come off as off-point. (They're also reaaally long.) Tentatively removed:
The trope is a minor Truth in Television, because most women in Real Life do not like to make a show of having their period, especially if guys are around. The topic is avoided where possible, especially in the age of feminism, where women don't want to be shoehorned into the idea that their hormones make them unable to function as humans. Moreover, with the pill the timing of periods can be controlled or skipped at will. And for some lucky women, having to change a tampon every five hours for a few days is really a non-event. (For some less lucky women, though, the hell that comes with menstruation can render them dependent on pills or unable to work once a month.)
Further Truth in Television is provided by the fact that 1) tampons have actually been around for the duration of written history, although only known by and used by a tiny, tiny, minuscule percentage of the population (there may have been twenty tampon users in recorded history before 1940, and all were street prostitutes) and 2) women with very low body fat, such as runners, gymnasts and Action Girls very often do not ovulate and without ovulation women do not have periods. There's also a certain logic of self selection - if Alice had had debilitating copious flow periods as an adolescent, she wouldn't have grown up to be a barbarian warrior to begin with. This explanation will likely not work for anyone except a young man trying to explain away unrealistic situations with "the extreme exception is the norm" logic, since almost all women have debilitating copious periods in their teen years and even in adulthood menstrual cycles are notoriously variable.

Freezair For A Limited Time: I'm not normally one to defend Twilight, but that "dead blood" thing isn't that weird. Menstrual blood isn't really "blood," per se. There's blood in it, but it's also full of other dead cells (uterine lining yay!). It doesn't seem all that unreasonable that a vampire wouldn't want a fangful of that gunk. From a human perspective, it'd be kinda like drinking a smoothie that was half strawberry banana and half rotten apple puree.
High Five: Should we really include examples of Fanon, just so that Avatar can have another obligatory example?
  • House himself talks about all kinds of bodily functions on a regular basis, in detail, with absolutely no shame. This is a guy who once showed up for work with a catheter installed, and was totally unapologetic when the bag broke in front of several people, on the floor of a patient's room ("What? It's sterile"). And even in this context, it's Cameron's brief mention of a period that gets pegged as "oversharing," nicely demonstrating the reason this trope exists.

That was a DREAM House had!