Content warning: this post discusses menstruation and body policing
Every now and then, manchildren freak the fuck out over “free bleeding”. Sadly, the feminist response to this seems to be “eww, no, nobody actually does that, it was made up by 4chan.”
As always, that’s not the whole story. Yes, 4chan may have created a freebleeding hashtag, based on the thing a bunch of 13 year old cis boys find most horrifying. That doesn’t mean that isn’t something that people don’t do.
I know this because I free bleed. Towards the end of my period, I simply cannot be bothered with using my menstrual cup any more, so I boil it up and put it away from next month, and just say “fuck it” and let the blood flow freely. It’s free, and it’s a damn sight less hassle than having to reinsert a menstrual cup when my cunt isn’t completely slick with blood as it is on the earlier days.
Everybody has a different way of dealing with their menstruation, and for me, I don’t really notice much of a smell, and there’s nothing much to stain because I don’t wear knickers and I usually wear black. On the last day or two of my period, there isn’t much blood, so free bleeding for a day or two a month is a thing I’ve found works for me.
Menstruation is a deeply personal thing, and what works for one person might not work for another. Free bleeding is not a myth, it’s something which works for some people.
As feminists, we must always resist the call to assimilate and seek out patriarchal head-pats. Society has a bit of a hangup about menstruation, but that doesn’t mean we have to pander to it. We should all be able to find out what works for us, and that discovery is hampered by squawks of disgust and denial surrounding ways which we live with our periods. It is not right to police how others menstruate, which is precisely what is happening when feminists proclaim that free bleeding is something which never happens, that it was made up by cis boys to provoke a grossout response.
Free bleeding is real, and it’s not something to be brushed away. Feminists should know better.
This post was inspired by a conversation I had with Sam Ambreen. You can read the whole conversation here.