There’s a reason primarily male legislatures shouldn’t be making decisions about women’s bodies.
Not all men are woefully ignorant about how female bodies work, but far too many are. It’s not necessarily their fault—our sex education programs definitely need a rehaul—but there’s a basic level of biology that needs to be understood before you open your mouth about women’s healthcare. Or about women’s bodies at all.
When men outnumber women by vast margins in state legislatures—85% to 15% in Alabama, for example—there’s a problem, especially when said legislatures are making laws about female bodies. Especially especially when we’ve had actual male legislators actually say things like “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” (Todd Akin, MO-R)
If you’re thinking this take on men’s knowledge is a little harsh, check out the stories in this Twitter thread.
Twitter user @brownandbella asked women to share the dumbest thing a man has ever said to them about sex, reproductive health, menstruation, etc., and female Twitter did not disappoint.
Women, what is the dumbest thing a man ever said to you about sex, reproductive health, menstruation, etc? Reply with a comment below, no quote RTs.
Let’s laugh at these dummies together!
— Bey Phi Bey, Philly Chapter President. (@brownandbella) May 16, 2019
The responses will make you laugh, scratch your head, and perhaps throw some things at your screen.
Like this guy who told his female partner—who also happened to be a women’s health nurse—that her periods would be less painful if she just drank more water.
My ex told me, a women’s health nurse, that the reason my periods were so long and painful was because I don’t drink enough water.
— Auntie Lexx (@lexxlugga_) May 16, 2019
Or this guy who thinks women wouldn’t have periods at all if they just gave up meat.
i had a man tell me periods aren’t natural and it’s cause i eat meat.
— Skinleesi | Sallie Mae of Skin Care (@CruzanChoklate) May 16, 2019
Periods really baffle the dudes—though some of them seem to not realize that they’re baffled. Like this guy who decided he should resign sanitary pads in a way that makes no sense whatsoever.
There were several examples of men not understanding that the vagina and the urethra are two completely separate openings.
A coworker genuinely thought women did all of our business, including birth, out of 1 hole. He was in his late 20s
I went on lunch
— Varah T (@VarahTs) May 16, 2019
I had a boyfriend mind blow that we did not pee from our vagina. I said no sir that’s a different hole. Lol he didn’t believe me I had to show him.
— G 🌹 (@__glm) May 16, 2019
My father, after I started my period, argued with me that there was only ‘one hole down there’ (not including ya bum) he thought the urethra and the vagina were the same thing and wouldn’t listen to me and told me I was wrong about my own anatomy 🙃 also I was raised by only him
— A grill has no name. (@Scandinative) May 18, 2019
And that women can’t hold their menstrual blood in like they can urine.
I told my ex that I needed a tampon, and he asked me if I could just hold it till I got home.
He thought girls just peed out their periods.
— oddly sexy, BSW (@lupespace) May 16, 2019
He’s not the only one. There was a guy that objected to the idea that tampons and sanitary towels could be made tax free; because they’re a luxury, and couldn’t we just all hold it in until we got to the toilet?
— Hollie Kirby (@HollieK72) May 17, 2019
Then there’s the “Don’t wear a tampon because you’ll get used to a penis being in there” dad. Umm, ewkay.
My dad banned me from wearing tampons because they would “take my virginity” and also I would be used to “walking around with a penis between my legs.” Logic that he still fully believes
— Young Cami Snow ❄️ (@ThaBrunchMami) May 16, 2019
And the guy who thought women needed to clean themselves with soap every time they went to the bathroom.
A guy argued me down that proper vagina care was to wipe it down with soapy water, washcloth after urinating every time because that’s what ‘clean’ women do. I laughed in pH balance. 🤷🏾♀️
— Dracarys Jones Jr. 🔥 (@DPMCanty) May 16, 2019
Might as well spray it with lysol too so it disinfects it🤣 I’m dying
— LiL✨ (@Lillymariee98) May 17, 2019
(For the record, fellas, the vagina is a self-cleaning organ and too much soap can actually throw pH out of whack, causing all kinds of problems.)
And these statements about rape? I mean, dang.
Pre-med guy thought that since trauma-related vaginismus is a real thing that any woman raped whose vagina didn’t clamp up in…I dunno, rape-vaginismus? was actually biologically willing. Her body wanted the powerful conqueror sperm, he argued, else it would clamp up tight.
— Erin Griggs (@Wordslingeuse) May 16, 2019
And today, someone in the MO legislature said that as a former police officer, he saw plenty of cases of CONSENSUAL RAPE.
There were lots of “whats” in the chamber, but I really hope someone said, “THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CONSENSUAL RAPE!”
— 🛰️Dani♿/Not.THAT.kind.of.Floridian (@ThatRealDani) May 17, 2019
Overall, there are a whole bunch of general misconceptions about the entirety of female development.
Retired Science teacher here. You would be surprised at the # of men (and women) who believe that crap. One of the real debates that should be happening isn’t should we teach sex ed in HS. It should be whether we should make the class mandatory for the parents.
— old school teacher (@DalphonMy) May 16, 2019
In sophomore year health class, after the teacher reads aloud the sidebar on ovulation:
Him: “I don’t get it. How could she not know?”
Her: “Know what? Exactly when ovulation occurs?”
Him: “Yeah. Won’t she feel a draft?”
Him: “You know, when the egg falls out?”
— Genève (@bergerbell) May 16, 2019
I dated a 21 year old who did not realize that menstruation involved bleeding. He asked me how girls know when their period ends, and when I said “the bleeding stops.” He screamed “YOU BLEED???” and recoiled in horror.
— Victoria Marini (@LitAgentMarini) May 16, 2019
And this retractable umbilical cord visual is just too dang funny.
It’s like a retractable vacuum cord, just give it a little yank and it spools back up!
— danielle (@dnllyndt) May 16, 2019
Some men stepped in to apologize on behalf of their brethren.
The worst part is I have heard several of these crazy things. In college, one guy argued with me that you couldn’t get a woman pregnant if she was on top. Another guy told me that women lie when talking about the pain of childbirth. I have 3 kids, and my wife WAS NOT LYING!!
— Regular shmegular daddy (@Bigboysplash) May 16, 2019
What’s even worse is the men who believe this horseshit then turn around and make legislative policy based on it.
— Finally baseball (@speedbudget) May 16, 2019
Aye, there’s the rub. All of this silly ignorance would be laughable if there weren’t men who believe these kinds of misconceptions sitting in legislative chambers deciding what health choices women can and cannot make.
Yes, I know. There are women who believe this stuff, too. Just not nearly as many, since hopefully most women are fairly well acquainted with how their own bodies work.
Now we just need to get more of them at the legislative table.