PMT with a vengeance?

There’s a new version of the pill being trialled, ‘though I’ve found it a little hard to piece the details together from the Adelaide Advertiser (which some people call the Traumatiser, and I can see why).

One story, on-line in the ’tiser, has it that the pill reduces the “seven days off” stage of the month, and the hope is that this will reduce pain and and discomfort for (some) women who find that the withdrawal of hormones (in the active pills), can result in “pelvic pain, headaches, mood swings and breast soreness.” That particular story was written by Kate Sikoura, in Sydney, and picked up through the stories shared between the News Limited papers.

Then there’s another on-line story in the Advertiser, written by local man, Tony Shepherd – Health Reporter. Shepherd adds a wee wrinkle. It turns out that there is a second trial, of the same pill. Now it’s not just about helping to reduce physical pain and discomfort. It turns out that a big advantage of the new pill is to “increase the female sex drive.”

Nice. WTF is it with the obsession with women’s libido? (For more on this, check out Lauredhel’s fabulous post about the problem of problematizing women’s desire.)

But that’s not all. The print version of the story is different again, this time with no by-line. And this time, the reason given for the trial is:

… the new pill “ameliorates the extreme temperament experienced by all women at certain times of the month. Therefore it is much more beneficial to relationships, and indeed society as a whole, for women to continue taking the pill.”

Being the Advertiser, they have a couple of quotes from punters. Bloke of Adelaide says:

This new pill will make it easier for their poor husbands, boyfriends, brothers, fathers and males in general, I’m all for it.

But Lippy Lou of Wa Way has clearly been reading Lauredhel’s fine words, because she says:

Drug companies, never actually seem to cure anything, just get you into their usage cycle, then when you have a reaction, guess what? They have another pill to help you. A fat leech on the backside of humanity.

The real kicker? The man who wants to ameliorate the extreme temperament of women, who thinks that this pill will be beneficial to society? His name is given as Maurice Chauvan, of Istanbul. And he doesn’t seem to exist, according to Google, that is.

So just what is the Advertiser playing at?

For the record, the researcher, Rob Norman, and the research institute he heads up, the Robinson Institute, are genuine. All of which makes me wonder whether the reporters and subbies who put together the print version of the story are just a little tired of women’s libido, or lack of it, or excess of it, being regarded as problems to be treated. Or PMT, for that matter.

In any case, when it comes to PMT, let me direct you (again) to Melissa McEwan’s superb take on the subject:

Let’s put this shit to bed right now: Women don’t lose their minds when they have period-related irritability. It doesn’t lower their ability to reason; it lowers their patience and, hence, tolerance for bullshit. If an issue comes up a lot during “that time of the month,” that doesn’t mean she only cares about it once a month; it means she’s bothered by it all the time and lacks the capacity, once a month, to shove it down and bury it beneath six gulps of willful silence.

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7 responses to “PMT with a vengeance?

  1. It turns out that a big advantage of the new pill is to “increase the female sex drive.”

    Nice. WTF is it with the obsession with women’s libido?

    Good question — and WTF is it with the obsession with libido period? Is not wanting to have sex like half of the last pair of fertile rabbits in creation some kind of horrendous disability that requires chemical intervention?

    I have my doubts, but what does frigid, prudish little me know?

  2. As someone who like at least a quarter of the population (figures generated at random) suffers from mental illness, the week(s) right before my period are worse than anything ever, with how much it feels like the world is ending, even though I know as soon as I see the blood on my gusset things will improve, so I’m actually really interested in this pill – my psychiatrist suggested that I should go on the pill because of how much worse I am right before my periods, but because i’ve had crazy “THERE IS SOMETHIGN EXPLODING IN MY BRAIN RIGHT NOW” migraines from the sugar pills of other pill cycles, I am scared to do that. So yes, I appreciate that men are being sarky about women’s time of the month, and everything but for me, it could actually end up being literal lifesaver if there was a way to stop the pre period death-wishing.

  3. Good point, Joanna. Yes, of course it would be good to give people with mental illnesses one more option that might help them through difficult times. Mind you, it’s one thing to help people who are affected by mental illnesses, and another to suggest that all women therefore need help with PMT.

    And I’m still wondering what on earth was going on at our local paper.

  4. Joanna:

    Like Deborah, thanks for the good point. But speaking for myself, when it comes to managing my mental illness (or making choices when it comes to contraception, come to that), I’ve got to admit ramping up my sex drive is pretty low on the list of priorities.

    And I sure don’t think any woman should be making pretty damn serious decisions about her health and well-being, on the basis of the gynophobia of a pack of tosser journalists and on-line commentators. Women menstruate. Get over it.

  5. Oh yeah, perhaps my original comment didn’t express enough how the article sounds incredibly badly written, and I totally take Craig’s point about how ridiculous it is that everyone is expected to be all libido all the time.

  6. This reminds me of Target Women’s ep on Birth Control.

  7. Apropos Lauredhel’s post: clearly, what we need is a pill for men who experience greater desire than their female partners, to reduce their libido to a compatible level.