Sorry about that missed report, Boss, but I'm surfing the crimson tide

According to articles in the BBC and the Hindustan Times, the new health appraisal forms for civil servants in India now require women Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers to disclose details about their menstrual cycles and when they last sought maternity leave. 

 To quote Sharwari Gokhale, a civil servant in Maharashtra, "It's gob smacking."

Many women have strenously objected to the new form, stating that their mentstrual cycles have no effect on their ability to do their work efficiently and competently. And since they already have to submit official forms when they request maternity leave, why would they need to remind their supervisors about past leave during their yearly health appraisal?  The information is so easily accessible anyway. Seema Vyas, one of the joint secretaries for administration in Maharashtra, made this rather salient point to the BBC:

"Menstrual cycles are a natural phenomenon, they are not an aberration. One does not object to questions related to fitness levels - they are important as they can affect work. But there is no need for these details as this does not have any bearing on our work. (Also) when we apply for maternity leave, we put in the appropriate application and the government already has those records, so why ask again?"

Meanwhile, Satyanand Mishra, a secretary in the Ministry of Personnel, had only this to say: "We sought the ministry's help to draw up a health-history format. I assume this will help evaluate the officer's fitness."

The obvious implication is that a woman's bodily functions are such an obstacle to getting work done that it's an employer's responsibility to monitor them to ensure the continued smooth running of the office's work. As it is, menstruation is such a shame-inducing topic for so many women in South Asia, and this only reinforces the prevailing idea of a monthly period as being a doorway to pollution, disfunction, and general squirm-inducing nastiness. When she's on the rag, the woman employee is no longer an efficent, impersonal cog in the bureaucratic (or corporate, or anything, really) machinery. She is suddenly back in touch with her basic, bloody, animal functions, a creature whose potential weepies and crampies have the possibility of disrupting the everyday functions of the workplace and thus needs to be carefully supervised and observed. Kind of like a werewolf during the full moon. It's the ultimate in Foucaultian surveillance, using the guise of professionalism and responsible record-keeping as a way of reproducing and regulating shame.

If you wish to contact Satyanand Mishra, the secretary in the Ministry of Personnel, and tell him what an unskooled fool he is, you can send an e-mail to gopal@dpt-trg.delhi.nic.in. Or check out this website for more detailed contact info. In the meantime, to counteract this madness, I leave you with a happy tampon to contemplate. Enjoy!

Happy Tampon

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The form is available here,

The form is available here, pg. 58 (pdf).

The Indian government has

The Indian government has decided to drop intrusive questions relating to the menstrual history of female bureaucrats in a new service review form after it caused a furore, a report said Thursday. [Link]

Scott Why not just make women

Scott

Why not just make women stop having their periods all together? The New York Times just ran an article on a new birth control pill that can do just that.

I read that article today, and needless to say, I wasn't all too happy about that for a variety of reasons.

I'd be fine with this, but

I'd be fine with this, but ONLY if men are required to disclose their wet dream history. After all, sexual frustrations and fantasies have a way of affecting how one performs (AT WORK). If I had a male colleague, I'd be suspicious of him at all times- is he really paying attention to his work or having sexual fantasies about getting it on with somebody on the photocopier? When he has disappeared into the supply room, is he really getting that extra pen that the boss asked him to, or is he going solo? Is he really surfing the internet to do research, or looking at porn sites?

Sorry boss, but he's surfing the milky tide! Kleenex, please.

Everybody contact Satyanand Mishra, the secretary in the Ministry of Personnel, and tell him that you propose checking wet dream history for men.

Menstrual oppression be

Menstrual oppression be damned! Why not just make women stop having their periods all together? The New York Times just ran an article on a new birth control pill that can do just that. Why fill out a form when a pill can make the forms obsolete?

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/20/health/20period.html?em&ex=1177214400&...

Many women have strenously

Many women have strenously objected to the new form, stating that their mentstrual cycles have no effect on their ability to do their work efficiently and competently.

This is absolutely true. I once asked a woman a question and she replied, "its gonna be a late night" without thinking what I was asking. I later learned it was the cycle in full effect. In fact there should be menstrual leave given, as to minimize the adverse effects of dealing with a person in such a hightened emotional state.

After all, sexual frustrations and fantasies have a way of affecting how one performs (AT WORK). If I had a male colleague, I’d be suspicious of him at all times-

If you're that concerned, why not take one for the team and relieve some of those frustrations that's compromising the workplace so.

Guys, Scott was being

Guys, Scott was being sarcastic, like how I was in comment #3.

I think he was pointing out another trend which speaks of the "inconvenience" of menstruation, so much that a woman might decide to halt it altogether. If you read the New York Times article, you see how the pharmaceutical industry is infused with gender and sex notions. There's the idea that menstruation is a pain in the ass, women lose money because of their periods, and etc, but now there's a drug to make you hurdle over that, so that you have a period-free life and you won't lose so much "worker productivity'.

The article was incredibly depressing, if not confirming a cynicist's expectations. Which is probably why Scott was being so sarcastic (I think....)

Scott Carney: You say stupid

Scott Carney: You say stupid things. Try not to.

Wait I dont get it...Was

Wait I dont get it...Was Scott not being sarcastic? I'm confused...

Loving the happy

Loving the happy tampon...

It's sad that in this day and age the IAS requirs women to be degraded in such a way.

Scott, the point isn't whether women should get rid of the forms themselves by 'correcting' and inherently 'internal' problem, but why the Indian government is keeping such a discriminating policy in existence.

Apparently the IAS is

Apparently the IAS is removing the section on menstrual history from its medical forms after a wave of anger from women bureaucrats. It's good that the government is at least responding to the general outrage over the form, but would this have happened if women IAS officers themselves had not protested? Of course not. Anyway, the MSN link I just posted mentions that officers were also required to disclose their mamogram history along with their mentstrual history. Good god.

A women's menstrual cycle

A women's menstrual cycle does effect emotion significantly, I'm not sure how disclosing the history will be helpful. I've worked in an emotional industry, entertainment and media, and here is where periodic problems will show themselves most diabolically.

I have to echo Desi

I have to echo Desi Italiana's critique of the pharma industry--a woman's period is presented by them as something that is just barely manageable, a sign of our bodies' basest mechanisms that no makeup, electrolysis, workouts, or "appetite-restriction" pills can wipe out. In general, the beauty/body industry for women is geared towards whipping, punishing, and even deleting the female form. Menstruation as a bodily function flies in the face of the desire to control every aspect of female sexuality. The truth is that periods can be uncomfortable, but so are a lot of the involuntary activities that our bodies engage in, like digestion and defecation. Most people manage those "afflictions" perfectly well, and menstruation is no different. Most women can manage their periods just fine, which is why asking about menstrual cycles as a requirement of employment or creating a pill to eliminate it is just unnecessary.

Re: Dert Men have hormonal

Re: Dert

Men have hormonal cycles too. With women, it correlates with something visible. But men's hormones swing up and down as well (throughout the day as well as the month and the year). It's just nobody tracks it and uses it to explain anything, officially.

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53725

Men have hormonal cycles too.

Men have hormonal cycles too. With women, it correlates with something visible. But men’s hormones swing up and down as well (throughout the day as well as the month and the year). It’s just nobody tracks it and uses it to explain anything, officially.

It its exactly because there's something visible that it should be reported and taken into account. Plus with men, our emotions are less likely to endure those types of swings. It would take something very drastic (say, death in the family, or something like that) where as for women it could be something minor (I forgot my rouge lipstick )

This is not misogynistic or anything like that, it's truthanistic

I wonder what Michael Moore

I wonder what Michael Moore would have to say about this, say in SICKO.

Plus with men, our emotions

Plus with men, our emotions are less likely to endure those types of swings. It would take something very drastic (say, death in the family, or something like that) where as for women it could be something minor (I forgot my rouge lipstick )

Um. This is sarcastic, right? Because otherwise, I can tell you all about the male judge I used to work for who would have meltdowns and temper tantrums worthy of a 5-year-old when the deli got his order wrong. (Also: rouge and lipstick are two different kinds of makeup.)

I'm all for menstrual leave, though. For some women it's physically impossible to function during menstruation; others are just fine. But our employers in the US have been slowly and steadily cutting down on 'perks' like sick time, as well as creating workaholic office cultures where you get sick time, but can never ever use it.

No, it's not sarcastic. If

No, it's not sarcastic. If you're in a position of power it doesn't matter, its the position of power that made him an asshole, not being a male. Rouge means red in french, I had no idea it's a separate kind of makeup. Anyway, it can take much less on average to set a woman off during that time. Thats ok, its not a bad thing, its just biology.

Again this is not misogynistic, its truthanistic.

Some women aren’t. Some men

Some women aren’t. Some men are quite moody for other reasons, because of their own hormonal fluctuations, their health, stress, you name it.

If those cycles and fluctuations were reportable, and measurable, I'd be all for men reporting them.

The kind of emotional control that women practice monthly is something that most men never master, and developing those skills comes in handy even when we’re not menstruating.

The kind of emotional control you're talking about is not feasible at all. It's a biological reaction, involuntary like. the most you can do is styme it for a few seconds, kind of like preventing yourself from throwing up, but sooner or later, that stuff is coming out.

Staying home I agree, thats what you can do.

Dert, I'm sure you're not

Dert, I'm sure you're not trying to be misogynistic and that you mean well, but dude. That's a pretty massive generalization: all women are moodier than all men for at least 1/4 of the time. Some women aren't. Some men are quite moody for other reasons, because of their own hormonal fluctuations, their health, stress, you name it.

Also, women are used to dealing with our hormonal cycles, so we tend to have strategies in place-- we check ourselves or go off to be by ourselves when we're feeling moody, we stay home when we're in pain if we're able to do so, we medicate ourselves in various ways. The kind of emotional control that women practice monthly is something that most men never master, and developing those skills comes in handy even when we're not menstruating. So maybe we're more qualified in the workplace. :)

Again this is not misogynistic, its truthanistic.

Don't you mean 'truthy'?

The kind of emotional control

The kind of emotional control you’re talking about is not feasible at all. It’s a biological reaction, involuntary like. the most you can do is styme it for a few seconds, kind of like preventing yourself from throwing up, but sooner or later, that stuff is coming out.

Umm... are you really explaining to me how I can or can't handle my own menstrual cycle? Have you had your period lately? It must be feasible, because I do it all the freakin' time, as does almost every woman I know. Sure, sometimes we get angry, but women, being intelligent beings and not wanting to be stereotyped as hysterical, find all sorts of healthy ways to let it out-- exercise, for example. And frankly, if you're going around making these sorts of arguments, I suspect your sample is not unbiased-- you'll see a lot of angry, emotional menstruating women if you deliberately try to piss us off!

Staying home I agree, thats what you can do.

Except we can't, because our employers don't offer us menstrual leave. So unless we're independently wealthy, we find ways to power through it. Women, believe it or not, are really strong.

"Umm… are you really

"Umm… are you really explaining to me how I can or can’t handle my own menstrual cycle? Have you had your period lately? It must be feasible, because I do it all the freakin’ time, as does almost every woman I know. Sure, sometimes we get angry, but women, being intelligent beings and not wanting to be stereotyped as hysterical, find all sorts of healthy ways to let it out– exercise, for example. "

No I haven't had my period, or comma, or semi colon. Thats the point, we don''t have anything 'to have' so no need to report it. Are you saying you do situps in the middle of the workday?

I asked a female co-worker, after she had her period, (and she was very irate and difficult to deal with during this time) how a guy could deal with it? her answer? Stay away. it's much easier to stay away when you actually have previous knowledge.

Except we can’t, because our employers don’t offer us menstrual leave.

The next best thing is to report it, so that maybe you can get allowances during work, or at the very least people will stay the hell away.

Dert, I will start reporting

Dert,

I will start reporting it when you start reporting every damn horny thought you have during your workday so that females can stay away.You are misogynistic - don't wrap it up in some kind of "truthiness".Bad enough having to deal with PMS,cramps etc - now we will have to deal with reporting bodily functions too?

Dert, after two to three

Dert, after two to three checks through our thorough IP-tracking system, we've discovered that you have cooties. Please stay away.

No I haven’t had my period,

No I haven’t had my period, or comma, or semi colon. Thats the point, we don”t have anything ‘to have’ so no need to report it. Are you saying you do situps in the middle of the workday?

Dert:

Do you have any idea how obnoxiously condescending and sexist you sound??! Give it up, will ya?!!

And learn to listen when women are speaking, especially if they are speaking about what it means to be a woman!!! Christ!

"I will start reporting it

"I will start reporting it when you start reporting every damn horny thought you have during your workday so that females can stay away"

thats differnent, if horny thoughts really compromise productivity to a significant degree, maybe someone should take one for the squad.

Thats obviously a joke. All

Thats obviously a joke. All Im saying is I had experience with a female coworker that was irate, recognized she was out of line, and had no problem admitting as to WHY! Then she even gave advice as to how to deal with it.. by saying, just stay away.

And wouldnt it be easier to do that if you had preemptive knowledge?

Are people saying she doesn't jazzercise enough?

haha you crack me up. Maybe

haha you crack me up. Maybe we should have this debate at another, err, umm time?

Dert, I've had coworkers like

Dert, I've had coworkers like you, and I feel very, very sorry for the women who have to work with you. I have no doubt she wants you to stay away, and probably not just when she's having her period. I would too.

We're not obligated to 'report' anything that affects us emotionally, as you are not, and if you really think women ought to be monitored for signs of crankiness, perhaps you need a job where you can work all by yourself from home, and other people don't have to deal with you.

And learn to listen when women are speaking, especially if they are speaking about what it means to be a woman!!! Christ!

Thank you.

Yeah. Dert, here's something about being a woman: This week, I've had a creepy coworker touch me inappropriately, I've been screamed at on the streets more times than I can count, and I've had a gang of teenage boys come after me on bikes while screaming sexist remarks (and making all sorts of matching hand gestures). I handled each of these episodes with a lot more restraint than I would have liked. So, to come to a great progressive blog and hear your bullshit about how I can't handle my own 'biological' emotions? Not having it. No way, dude.

(taking deep breath) i will

(taking deep breath)

i will not feed trolls
i will not feed trolls
i will not feed trolls

Dert, I’ve had coworkers like

Dert, I’ve had coworkers like you,

not sure what this means, but if it makes you feel better to say I hate all women or whatever, by all means go for it.

We’re not obligated to ‘report’ anything that affects us emotionally

No, but given what I heard from this friend, yes friend of mine, because I asked in a way of trying to understand, it just seemed like a reasonable thing to do.

I’ve had a creepy coworker touch me inappropriately

Why qualify it with creepy? if a non-creepy coworker touched you, would it be appropriate?
From my experience creepy = not good looking.

So, to come to a great progressive blog and hear your bullshit about how I can’t handle my own ‘biological’ emotions?

You're doing a fine job of handling them as we speak right now. Why put biological in quotes? Isn't the menstrual cycle a biological phenomenon?

But for what its worth, I

But for what its worth, I actually did learn something from the exchange. (not being facetious)

I have no doubt she wants you

I have no doubt she wants you to stay away, and probably not just when she’s having her period. I would too.

She didn't just want me to stay away, she wanted everyone to stay away.. during that time period.

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