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Don’t Call Her Hormonal! She Might Be Trying To Say Something Important

A woman is no less hormonal than a man who has raging testosterone and behaves like an angry bull on the run. We don’t call a man involved in road rage or petty fight as “hormonal.”

A topic hushed in soft tones is now out in public. Families who switched channels when a sanitary pad was shown on screen and looked away awkwardly, have no qualms in discussing menstrual cups. Almost all web series, especially the newly brewed content shows women using or talking about menstrual cups in an episode or two.

It’s interesting in a way, that it’s not a taboo anymore. It also gets the attention it deserves, as any girl/woman who needs to talk about it or ask for help isn’t stigmatized.

However, as a new trend, whenever a woman is jumpy, weepy, or hyper, her hormones are blamed for it. This is especially true in families with a patriarchal mind set and organizations with misogynist mindsets. “Oh, it must be her ‘that’ time of the month,” “Guess she is PMSing,” “We do understand, but why don’t you go home and rest?” are some of the sentences thrown at a woman, in a condescending tone, which generally hides a sneer.

This is generally used to dismiss her or her suggestions, or when she is trying to explain her point. Most men are not empathetic, but project as though they care, to avoid being branded as sexist. In fact, many resent that there’s talk of women to be given menstrual leave when they have trouble with their “harmones”.

Yes, the word ‘hormone’ is used often to brush away many emotional breakdowns, which is basically a tag given to women when they reach out for help. Nobody likes to make a fuss or behave wildly if their needs are respected and listened to. Many a times what a woman needs is some TLC- tender love and care.

The burden of many things, certainly of guilt

Women often take on an extra load of burden, either of work, or of guilt.

Ask a woman who has just returned from a reunion with friends or even from a long day at work if she feel a teeny-weeny bit of guilt leaving her children alone or with a nanny. She is forever burdened with responsibilities, especially after the children come, in the big picture called life. That makes her a bit edgy all the time. Juggling many things at the same time, trying to give her best to in all her tasks.

How many of us can mentally afford a night out, drinking or chatting away with girlfriends?

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The problems take on a different hue as she reaches her menopause, with its own challenges. Children flying the nest and her other medical conditions become a burden. Yes, she may be hormonal but what she needs is a bit of understanding, loads of love and maybe, a prescription and guidence. Definitely not a label – “harmonal.”

A woman is no less hormonal than a man who has raging testosterone and behaves like an angry bull on the run. We don’t call a man involved in road rage or petty fight as “hormonal.” If a woman raises her voice a pitch more, we dump her saying that she has raging hormones that are wrecking her brain.

Men patronizing hormones

Male colleagues talk patronizingly, and bosses may scoff at her when she tries to assert herself. They know that loudly attributing her assertion to hormones will subdue her, as no woman likes to be labelled as ‘hysterical,’ ‘peculiar’ or ‘problematic.’

In a popular web series on a famous journalist, there is a woman-hating and deriding boss who makes women employees frustrated as he very smoothly manoeuvres office functioning and leadership roles away from women. He says women think ‘from their hearts’ and ‘not from their brains.’ Therefore it doesn’t suit the pattern at work.

Many languages and cultures have crude and malice-laden quotes and slangs used on women when she tries to emphasize her thoughts and ideas.

Mental health that always gets brushed away

A psychologist friend recollects how a woman she knew was denied medical attention as her family thought she was ‘just being hormonal.’  She says that many psychological problems are ignored and branded as hormonal issues and treatment is not considered as an option.

Everyone has hormones and everybody’s hormones act up. Bottled up emotions and pent-up feelings may react at times, which have to be dealt firmly but gently, with empathy, and definitely not by labelling her with her hormones.

Families have to change by acknowledging her problems and making children understand that mothers cannot always be patient and tolerant. This will take an immense burden off her shoulders and she will be better equipped to deal with her emotions instead of suppressing them as she fears being labelled.

Things haven’t changed much from 1939, when James E. King, who was the president of the American Association of Obstetricians, Gynecologists and Abdominal Surgeons commented snidely “Will she, as some timid souls fear, mentally and physically dominate and enslave us as we in the past enslaved her? Probably not, so long as she is controlled by her reproductive glands, she will remain basically the same lovable and gracious homemaker.” This attitude along with society’s mindset needs to change.

Published here first.

Image source: a still from the film Dear Zindagi

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