Apparently, conversations about or even slightly alluding to menstruation are NSFW.
Last week, a woman under the username "Snuffalo" posted on Mumsnet, an online forum for parents, about a male supervisor who reported her to HR for simply suggesting she had period cramps at work.
I'm sorry, what?
After approaching the woman about her health, an HR representative insisted she go home, get well, and stop “disclosing medical problems” in the workplace.
Although it sure as hell can feel like it, menstruation is not a chronic illness, but a natural occurrence of the female anatomy.
Unlike, say, the common cold, the only person physically affected by a woman's period is the woman actually doing said bleeding.
Unless this woman went into gruesome detail about her flow or offered up a few graphic, inappropriate images for the guy to chew on during his lunch break, I'm not exactly seeing grounds for discomfort here.
The HR rep contacted the woman over Slack, who continued to insist she was fine, and she was simply nursing her cramps with a hot water bottle.
Instead of actually responding to her concerns, the HR representative basically went rogue, signing offline without another word.
After a few minutes, "Snuffalo" was called in to meet with the HR director.
She described the incident on Mumsnet,
She then tells me that I shouldn't disclose my medical problems to anyone who isn't part of HR as it can make them uncomfortable. I'm literally shocked, I explain exactly what happened, she says 'yes I understand, if you're so unwell you need a hot water bottle you should be home, Guy is extremely uncomfortable and it's unprofessional.'
It's both fascinating and unfortunate that a woman's bodily functions are shamed in the workplace.
As if the only way to deal with PMS is to hibernate under the covers until you've stopped bleeding.
As a woman who has had her period for 14 years now, I know my body, and I know when it does, or does not, need a break.
Neuroscientist Daniel Glaser told The Guardian that while some women may feel drained during their menstrual cycle, others find they perform best during this time:
This is because of variations in the way different women react to hormonal changes in their monthly cycle. While intellectual tasks, such as completing a logic puzzle or doing an IQ test, rely on electrical circuits in the brain, how well the neurons perform is subtly affected by the 'hormonal soup' which surrounds them. The female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone can alter the brain's reward system, affecting motivation and how 'sharp' you feel, but when this takes place isn't predictable -- some women feel at their best a week after their period, while others do so just before.
It's important to really trust women when it comes to their own bodies (a wild concept, huh?). They know what they can and cannot handle, and it's completely unfair to assume, just because a woman has her period, she is unfit to work.
I mean, by this logic, I should report a male co-worker to HR if I catch him coughing on the job, right?
Yeah, that sounds ridiculous.