In Vino (and Menstrua) Veritas

Sometimes patriarchy is just so obvious that you miss it. (Though how could we, with all the gendered (or even sexist) advertising of wine to women. But it was right there in front of me.

In wine, truth.

In vino veritas, also written as in uino ueritas, is a Latin phrase that means “in wine lies the truth”, suggesting a person under the influence of alcohol is more likely to speak their hidden thoughts and desires.


I heartily ascribe to this received wisdom from the ages. Barring drunkenness to the point of being totally unaware of their surroundings, people who are a bit tipsy tend to have fewer filters or reservations about letting their true opinions show. Nobody thinks twice about it. It’s just the same person but where their feelings are amplified.

Which is exactly the same description a woman I know used to describe how she felt just before her period.

She’s normally quite unflappable and calm, but (as she said) when her hormones are fluctuating, there’s fewer filters between her brain and her mouth. What she might just think at other times during the month will actually be said when it’s getting to be “that time”.

And if you haven’t already put it together, this is a one-two punch of sexism and patriarchy.

During most of the month, the patriarchy expects women to be non-assertive (see this article in Forbes). But (I’m told) conforming to that (patriarchal, sexist) behavior can be just a little too much when you’re fighting off cramps that would level a guy.

So their true thoughts and feelings – despite social conditioning – finally comes out.

And that’s where the second punch comes in – because then those feelings are completely discounted because of the menses.

Removing filters because of booze? That’s fine! Raise a manly drink! Removing filters because of the functioning of a woman’s body? HOLY CARP, SHE IS HYSTERICAL. (And yup, that’s sexist too.)

The main reason I’m writing this, though? Because this little bit of patriarchy is so woven into our cultural story that I, a non-period-having person, have frequently had to remind women that their feelings are completely real and valid, even though it’s “that time of the month”. I’ll even argue that complaints and feelings that come out during “that time” deserve more attention.

So the upshot? If you (regardless of your gender) find yourself thinking “Oh, is it her time of the month?”, check yourself, then pay attention to what she has to say

Featured Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

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