Manly man Vladimir Putin emphasized his manliness recently when he told filmmaker Oliver Stone: “I am not a woman, so I don’t have bad days.”
Ohhhhhh, he must be talking about how women are systemically marginalized because of archaic patriarchal power structures resulting in us having bad days because we have to try harder to even attempt to get equal footing.
Except, he’s not.
Instead, he has taken a cue from BFF Donald Trump and followed the time-honored tradition of men in politics trying to use menstruation to assert themselves.
So why doesn’t Putin have bad days? Allow him to explain:
“I am not trying to insult anyone,” he said in the documentary, guaranteeing that whatever came next would most certainly be insulting.
“That’s just the nature of things,” he continued. “There are certain natural cycles.”
Unfortunately, this is nothing new.
In a 2015 Republican debate, Trump famously said that former Fox News host Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever” after she had the nerve to ask him tough questions. Later that year, he couldn’t stop talking about Hillary Clinton taking a quick bathroom break during a debate, saying it was “too disgusting” to talk about.
Trump’s menstruation obsession began before his political ambitions according to a producer who worked with him on The Apprentice. In one instance, the former producer said that Trump commented on a contestant, saying, “her breasts were so much bigger at the casting. Maybe she had her period then.” How do we know this? Because his mic was on, and according to the producer, he knew that and didn’t care. Then, during an episode of Celebrity Apprentice, Trump told viewers that gymnast Shawn Johnson “had a monthly woman’s problem.” Because, you know, it’s a crucial plot point in a reality “business” show.
While there is no shortage of examples of politician period-shaming lately, it is definitely not new. Back in 1970, Dr. Edgar Berman, a retired surgeon and member of the Democratic Party’s Committee on National Priorities tried to put Congressperson Patsy Mink of Hawaii in her place when she asked her party to focus more on women’s issues. Berman really cast a wide net, disqualifying women for menstruating and going through menopause, citing hypothetical situations like a “menopausal woman president who had to make the decision of the Bay of Pigs,” a bank president “making a loan under these raging hormonal influences at that particular period” and a “slightly pregnant female pilot making a difficult landing.”
So to recap, according to Berman — and those who subscribe to his theories — women can’t be trusted when they’re menstruating, pregnant or menopausal. In other words, when they are in possession of a uterus.