More Men Need to Feel the Pain of a Period

Spain recently became the first European country to pass a law allowing employees with particularly painful periods to take three days of paid menstrual leave from work. If the menstrual pain is extremely severe, the paid leave can be extended to five days.

All that’s needed is a doctor’s note and Spain’s social security system will cover the cost of “a period of leave.”

Needless to say, when this news was shared on Twitter and other social media, many people were thrilled about it.

Jennifer: “That’s it — I’m moving to Spain! I’m going to call the Consulate of Spain to see what I need to do.”

Lavanya: “And I’m going to swipe right on every guy who looks even a little bit Spanish.”

But many others did not like the idea of menstrual leave, their opposition based largely on the fact that menstrual leave does not, in almost all circumstances, apply to men.

A typical conversation on Twitter went like this:

Anita: “Every country should have menstrual leave. If I didn’t have elderly parents, I’d be on a boat to Spain.”

MenRule: “You really don’t like to work, do you? Just stay at home, watch TV and collect a paycheck.”

Anita: “Shut up, troll! I bet you’ve never experienced anything as painful as a period.”

MenRule: “Of course I have. I’m a Buffalo Bills fan.”

Anita: “No, I mean real pain, not sports pain.”

MenRule: “Well, I’ve been kicked in the you-know-where.”

Anita: “I’m not surprised.”

MenRule: “Are you making fun of my pain?”

Anita: “Nope, but if you really want to know what women go through, you need to be kicked every 10 minutes for three days!”

MenRule: “Ouch! Would that qualify me for menstrual leave?”

Anita: “I’m not sure, but why don’t we give it a try?”

Not every woman suffers from unbearable menstrual cramps, but for a significant number, the pain is so severe that they’re unable to perform normal activities for several days a month, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Many men, unfortunately, have no clue about the extent of the pain. That’s why I applaud Sandra Sunny, an aspiring lawyer in Kochi, India, for providing a great service to mankind. As part of a campaign to reduce the social stigma connected to menstruation in India, she developed a simulator that sends an electric current through wires clamped below a man’s navel. It feels like a vibration at first, but when the intensity is increased, the induced cramps cause men to cry out in pain.

“It was a horrible experience,” a 26-year-old man named Faheem Rahman recently told The New York Times. “I could not concentrate on anything around me for as long as the cramps lasted.” He added that he has “so much more respect for my mother, for my sisters.”

In an ideal world, all men would be required to use the simulator and, soon after that, they’d be asked their opinion of menstrual leave. I have a feeling many of them would be supportive of menstrual leave, especially if they were still connected to the wires.

Several companies in India are offering paid first-day of period (FOP) leave to their employees. Some employees may misuse a company’s FOP policy, of course, but that’s the case with almost any policy. There will always be a few people in every company who try to take advantage of a particular policy, whether it’s a sick leave policy, maternity leave policy or FOP leave policy.

Employee: “Sorry, boss, I can’t come to work today. FOP.”

Boss: “Okay, Sanjay, I understand. See you tomorrow … Wait a minute, you’re a man. Why are you having FOP?”

Employee: “Not me, boss. My wife. She has FOP, so I’m taking the day off to take care of her.”

Boss: “But our FOP policy only applies to employees. Your wife is not an employee.”

Employee: “My wife and I are one. We are united in marriage. What affects her affects me. Her pain is my pain. Need I go on?”

Boss: “Nice try, Sanjay, but it won’t work. You’d better get to work soon or I’ll be sending Sandra over with her simulator.”

Image courtesy of Source: TikTok; @getsomedays

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