Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Pregnant Body Flaunting

December 4th, 2012 by David Linton

There is no end to the variety of ways that men find to express their fascination  fear, discomfort, attraction, or repulsion when it comes to any aspect of the menstrual cycle.  Take, for instance, the bizarre annual event hosted by the DJ’s at a San Diego radio station known as Rock 105.3.

Billed as the Pregnant Bikini Pageant, it constitutes a crude parody of the Miss America show (which is by now pretty much a self-parody) in which pregnant women display themselves in scanty bikinis before a cat-calling, cheering audience.  After the women have all been introduced and interviewed briefly, the crowd selects one who is crowned “Missed Period of the Year.”  The promotional tag line for the event is, “Meet the Lovely Lactating Ladies of Rock 105.3.”

Just as it has long been required for women to hide any sign of their menstrual processes, they have also been historically required to hide signs of pregnancy as well.  However, this smarmy, leering event passes itself off as a celebration of women’s beauty “even” while pregnant, and the participating women appear to revel in the attention.  Is this the dark side of “progress?”

Would you want to be in a relationship with you?

July 5th, 2012 by Alexandra Jacoby

In yoga class the other day (I know!) while holding a pose for a while already, the instructor started asking us about our relationships with our bodies. I’m straining to hold plank pose (a push-up), determined not to be the first to give in to trembling muscles, and he, with an annoying amount of interest and ease, asked us to think about what we expected of our bodies, of how we demanded they work for us, how we neglected them, overfed and under-rested them, ignored them, took them for granted, and complained about them, how they looked, how well they performed, how they failed us—again…(yeh, my belly was on the ground a while ago)

Would you want to be in a relationship with you, based on the way you treat your body?

Think about it. It’s a relationship not much different than your most intimate and important relationships. Only it’s between you and you, and yes, your body doesn’t use words to communicate, but it does communicate, right?

Ultimately, it’s the basis for your relationship with life itself, with living.

Your body is not a machine. It’s not a sealed container. It’s not an object.

What is to you? I wonder.

and would love to hear.

Because it’s our ideas about our bodies that make up most of the relationship. We engage more with what we think than with what is. And, more often than not, tell me if you disagree, what we think is negative, complaining—wanting something other than what is.

What would it be like if we interacted with what was happening instead of what would be easier, neater, or how it should be?

How come those ideas matter more than what is actually happening?

In body-general—and relative to the menstrual cycle.

If you were to give some consideration to what you experience in your body, and in your days and nights, relative to your menstrual cycle, and see it as it actually is, what would you do differently?

Scroll back to the top where my instructor is needling you with how you don’t appreciate, or work with the body you have in partnership, and think it over: would you change anything about how you relate to your body?

Hot Flashes: Now Especially for Fat Ladies

July 14th, 2010 by Elizabeth Kissling
Photo of art by Czarnobyl by Flickr user urbanartcore.eu || CC 2.0

Photo of art by Czarnobyl by Flickr user urbanartcore.eu || CC 2.0

Since yesterday, although it seems longer, my RSS reader has been clogged with links to news reports about a UCSF study in which some women who lost weight found that their hot flashes diminished. Of course, that’s not what the headlines say. Here’s a sample of some of the titles of current stories about this study on Google news:

  • Hot Flash Relief: Weight Loss Works, What Doesn’t? (US News & World Report)
  • Bad hot flashes? Try dropping a few pounds (MSNBC.com)
  • Losing weight may ease menopause symptoms (NBC13.com)
  • Symptoms of Menopause Can Be Relieved by Weight Loss (Health News)
  • Weight Loss Helped Overweight And Obese Women Reduce Hot Flushes (Medical News Today)

OK, that’s enough – see the trend? Suddenly weight loss is the cure for hot flashes. But in the actual study – which was about urinary incontinence, not menopause -141 women provided researchers with data about their hot flash symptoms six months after the study began. Sixty-five of the 141 women said they were less bothered by their hot flashes six months after participating in the weight loss program, 53 reported no change, and 23 women reported a worsening of symptoms.

Look at those numbers again, more slowly this time: 65 of 141 women who participated in a weight loss program were less bothered by hot flashes after six months. That’s 46% of the women – less than half – who found relief. Almost as many reported no change in symptoms, so why is this being touted as a successful intervention?

Because the women lost weight. Most of the news reports of this research stop just short of fat-shaming, but I submit that is exactly why this study is getting so much media attention. Even though it is well-established that diets do not work, even if you call them a “lifestyle change” or “a whole new way of eating”, and that the BMI (Body Mass Index) is useless as a gauge of health. In fact, fat is not a measure of health. But why pass up an opportunity to shame women about their bodies?

Readers should note that statements published in re: Cycling are those of individual authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Society as a whole.