Being a Round Peg in a Square Calendar: Women’s Bodies in the Work Place

No one should make a woman feel melodramatic, or lazy, or weak for acknowledging that not all days of the month are interchangeable to her body. That is asking her to participate in a lie that, by design, she can’t believe.

— from “That Time My Toddler Discovered My Period — And What I Learned from Her Reaction”

This piece touches on a few different aspects of the biologically female experience:

Why do we not count menstruation (or childbirth, for that matter!) as a form of physical labor due compensation?
As far as work goes, these are the jobs our species depends on the most. They also take quite a toll on the people who perform it, and yet we don’t even have guaranteed paid maternity leave in this country. Somehow we feel so entitled to women’s bodies that we expect them to labor for us — not even for free, but at their own expense.

Why are women asked to pretend their menstruation isn’t happening?
It’s considered poor taste to mention it, and it certainly isn’t considered a valid reason for staying home (though sneezing, diarrhea, and other less significant biological interruptions are excusable). These bodies are busy attending to a very important process, and yet the norm is to shove a cork up there are proceed as usual. Can this be healthy?

When did we stop teaching our daughters that their bleeding is a sacred ceremony?
The female body is not a less efficient version of the male’s; it is its own thing. There is wisdom in its cycles. They physically demonstrate a ritual of letting go, something we should all take time to practice in our own way.

Maybe I won’t live to see women allotted Paid Time Off in the form of an extra floating weekend per month, but perhaps we could at least get menstrual products covered by insurance. One thing’s for sure, we won’t get anything if we don’t start talking about how our bodies really work and what they really need.

Zaeli is a storyteller and love coach helping to bring consciousness and intention to your emotional life. Look for her monthly column “The Heartwakers Club” in Austin All Natural Magazine + learn more at