Do Bears Love Your Menstrual Blood?
It’s such a popular urban legend that Brick from Anchorman has heard it: Menstrual blood attracts bears. Obviously this isn’t true. I was planning on writing naively about how this might be true and then spending the article talking about my adventures where I asked women to lend me their period blood so that I could use the scientific method appropriately, but then I started doing research into the formation of this myth. People have studied the shit out of this subject. I would be far from the first to walk around with bloody tampons calling “Beary, beary, beary come out to play!”
A more interesting question to study is why this urban legend exists. Menstrual blood has been the source of anger in our patriarchal society since the bible. Whether we’re stoning women for their necessity to bleed, or claiming that their blood is attracting bears, we’re always trying to come up with reasons that we can be scared of menstrual blood. A quick facebook poll revealed that all my friends are cool with the mix of blood and sex, but I remember early in college most of my male friends and a good portion of my female friends were anti blood-to-penis contact. And those people were probably down with anal. And poop is so much grosser than blood.
The obvious answer as to why we’ve decided a monthly cycle is so gross is that we live in a society that is run by men and when the people in power don’t understand something they choose to be fearful of it. This sounds good as an explanation, but I decided to do some research as to why men are so scared of the little pre-fetuses that scamper their way out of a woman once a month. Men are frightened of that shit. I don’t get it. I am much more scared of buying condoms than tampons because condoms give the illusion that I am succeeding in life and I don’t like to lie. Buying tampons just means that the dude behind the register might think I have a creepy fetish… or a vagina – I’m cooler with either of those options.
Right. So this is an article about the urban legend that bears are always on the prowl for periods. I think it’s because bears like to be at the ends of sentences. Like: “He was eaten by bears.” or “I don’t want to go on a picnic with bears.” or “I’m going to dangle this used tampon in front of these bears.” Long involved puns aside, why bears?
Many believe the myth started in 1967 when two women were separately attacked by a grizzly and both were menstruating, but that isn’t enough evidence to start a whole cultural phenomenon of getting laughs and pretending you are enlightened by fake-claiming to believe the absurdity of sexist propaganda. Let’s look at what bears are. They are manly creatures. They are hairy, they yell, they eat raw meat that they grab with their hands, they live in the woods. They are the manliest creature in the world. That is the first assumption that you have to grant me.
The second is this: all men are frightened to admit that they are turned on by menstrual blood. Really we are excited by this mysterious process, but we hide that excitement by feigning disgust. We still need an outlet to voice our desire to hunt via the smell of bloody vaginae, so we outsource our desires to the creature of the woods we would most like to identify with.
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