How important is menstruation to girls' and women's identities as girls and women? I ask because of Germaine Greer's recent remark
regarding transgender women: "If you didn't find your pants full of blood when you were 13 there's something important about being a woman you don't know." I was extremely certain of my gender before I had my first period, and I'm not going to feel like less of a woman after my final one. Even when I developed menorrhagia after my Implanon contraceptive implant was removed, my periods still weren't a central part of my existence - just another medical nuisance to deal with. I don't recall bonding with other women over the shared experience of menstruation, but then, over the years my friends have mostly been male.
Is this a gender non-conforming thing, where something female slash feminine is very important to most women, but not to me? Are there other aspects of female biology which are more central, such as the potential for pregnancy? Presumably a woman who menstruates at some point in her life fits Greer's requirement, so delayed menarche or temporarily absent periods aren't disqualifiers; but there is some percentage of female-bodied persons who go through their lives without ever
menstruating: are they women?
On a related note - I need to re-read Connie Willis' Even the Queen
to check my recollections, but I remember being puzzled that stopping menstruation was such a huge leap forward for all women, not just those who suffered debilitating periods. Come to think of it, I was also puzzled that it required new and invasive technology
and was opposed by men. (Or was it just opposed by the usual political / religious suspects? Where have I put that anthology?)
I'd like to conclude by saying: Benedict Cumberbatch, I am disappointed
:( Unless the trailer is extremely misleading, this (I hope) cameo is not exactly a leap forward for the portrayal of transgender women. (Of course, unless the trailer is extremely misleading, this is also one of the least funny films ever made, but to each their own, I guess.) I assume the joke is that Ben has one of the least androgynous faces around (unlike the trans woman he's presumably parodying, Andreja Pejić), with the punchline that, therefore, trans women don't look like "real" women. Quelle knee-slapper.
ETA: If you're interested, the interview in which Caitlyn Jenner made her (clearly tongue-in-cheek IMHO) "the hardest thing about being a woman is figuring out what to wear" comment is available on the Buzzfeed