I read a review of your book that called it a medical version of “Lean In.” What did you think of that?
I definitely think SSRIs help women to lean in – but we’re going to fall over. They help us to be invulnerable in the workplace, but at what cost? Look at what we’re giving up.
How possible is it, really, for women to be able to do this when so much of the power is with men?
We have to accept the feminine in us. We are suppressing the feminine in ourselves as much as men are suppressing the feminine in themselves now. So the first thing that needs to change is the blanket idea that emotions are bad and messy and we don’t want them. If women decide we are going to be more natural and embrace our own emotionality and embrace our own vulnerability, then guys will be okay with it. We have to be okay with it before guys will be okay with it.
I think the ideal is a balance, and everyone is suppressing the yin energy and creating an imbalance.
I’ve read a few books lately that deal in masculine and feminine energy. To me, “masculine energy” seems to be just another way of describing the kind of behaviors and attributes that serve capitalism. Do you agree?
I think you’re hitting the nail on the head. If you get into talking about yin and yang, you’re going to talk about socialism versus capitalism. I absolutely see it that way. I didn’t talk about it in Moody Bitches at all. You’ll also notice the words “feminism” or “feminist” are not in this book. I did have directives from the publisher about things to avoid, and I don’t talk about capitalism, but there’s no question that that is part of the discussion. The masculine forward-moving agenda and “leaning in” — it is all about capitalism. It’s not about sharing. It’s about I’m going to get mine, you’d better hurry up and get yours.
Men suffer too from this set-up. It’s not just anti-female or anti-woman — it’s anti-human or inhuman to expect people to work three jobs just to cover essentials. Masculine, feminine… it seems like it’s really about what social structure we want to live under.
You’re wise to start to think about it in terms of capitalism and socialism. It’s definitely a capitalist agenda.
Have you ever noticed when a woman is crying in front of men, the first thing she will do is apologize? We apologize for our tears, and it’s because what use are you to the patriarchy if you’re crying? And what use are you to the forward agenda of capitalism if you’re crying? You’re not being productive!
I like what you say in the book about PMS, and how the anger we might experience pre-menstrually is often legitimate anger grounded in real injustice. Why do you think women feel their PMS-related anger is unjustified and out of control?
We are brought up to be accommodating. We’re taught to make sure everyone’s okay, to look for consensus. I don’t think that little boys are taught to keep the peace as much. There’s definitely a martyr thing when you’re a mom and you take care of everyone but yourself. I didn’t take care of basic sh*t for me because I was so focused on taking care of my kid and everything they needed. I call them the estrogen years, where you’re just making sure everybody else has what they need and you put yourself last.
A post-menopausal woman has a lot less estrogen on board and the accommodation agenda is abandoned — it’s like screw you pal, it’s my turn now! A post-menopausal woman coming into her own and blossoming is really beautiful. I think you get a glimpse of that in PMS. Estrogen makes you easy and breezy. In PMS you realize you’re doing too much — you’re doing everything. You’re doing everything and your partner is doing nothing all month long, but you just notice it for two or three days when you’re not accommodating of that. There’s a lot of useful information you can gather in those few days and you may not want to act on it then, you may want to wait until you’re feeling invulnerable and powerful mid-cycle until you put the changes into affect. There’s a lot to be learned from being in that state.
I’ve been working on a project with the developer of an app, My Moontime, to encourage women to be open about where they are in their hormone cycle. I’d like to see if being open about these phases is helpful for women themselves and for society at large.
Yes, my husband jokingly suggested we need a Moody Bitches app for men — so they know how their partners are feeling. I have a friend who made a lamp for his wife — the monthly mood cube — and over the course of the month it changes color depending on where she is in her cycle. Her colleague has a chart on her desk at work about how she is feeling that day. She lets her colleagues know how she is feeling each day, depending on her cycle. I do think an app would be really helpful. I think it is valuable information for people to have.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how prescription drugs might be messing with you, grab your own copy of Moody Bitches: The Truth About the Drugs You’re Taking, The Sleep You’re Missing, The Sex You’re Not Having, and What’s Really Making You Crazy.