A Fine Line

Everyone knows that hormones greatly affect mood and emotions. Some, however, use that knowledge to dismiss women’s emotions and ideas as being nothing more than hormonal, which crosses over that fine line between recognising the influence of something and attributing everything to that influence.

Women’s hormones are cyclic, never remaining the same from day to day. During the follicular phase, oestrogen levels are rising, with testosterone also spiking close to ovulation; oestrogen then begins to fall as progesterone rises around ovulation. During the luteal phase oestrogen levels are back down and progesterone starts to fall again, too. Then there are the physical changes throughout the cycle.

When oestrogen and progesterone are both low, and accompanied by pain, bleeding, bloating, hunger, nausea, etc, that, of course, affects mood (yet we’re able to function pretty much normally regardless, which is amazing). However, knowing these things affect one’s mood does not call for dismissing a woman’s anger and argument as being merely a product of her hormones. That is belittling, dismissive, and insulting.

I’d like to think such things don’t happen much now. And I haven’t seen it that often, really, at least not since middle school (and once in college). The other day, though, I saw someone on a message board dismiss a female poster’s posts by commenting about her hormones. He said it couldn’t be that menstruation was causing her anger because the posts weren’t 28 days apart, but even bringing that into the conversation (which had nothing to do with hormones, by the way), he was effectively dismissing her as just being influenced by her hormones. It was like he couldn’t understand that a woman could be angry without being on her period.

And that’s where it gets infuriating. Sometimes it seems like women aren’t allowed to have emotional responses or be passionately angry about something without it being chalked up to her hormones, instead of truly having an issue with something. Women deserve to be listened to and respected, and not have their feelings or arguments dismissed by just chalking it up to hormones.

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