Published in Issue 6 (November/December 2022), Letters, Volume 30

A chara,—Upon reading Shaun McCann’s article, ‘A precious bodily fluid—blood, the Irish connection’ (HI 30.5, Sept./Oct. 2022), I was astonished that there was not one single mention of menstrual blood. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, as the first sentence of the article reads, ‘Blood is indeed a precious fluid that has intrigued man for millennia’. Only ‘man’? Ah, that explains it. Women bleed monthly throughout their reproductive lives, unless they are pregnant. Blood is hugely significant for them and can be a harbinger of either relief or disappointment depending on the circumstances, not to mention the physical nuisance, discomfort and cost associated with our menstrual cycles. Even if the author couldn’t find an academic or literary reference to this universal, immemorial phenomenon (Really? Not one?), he might have referred to this surprising lack of historical comment. After all, Bela Lugosi gets a look in. It seems that women, and their bodily functions, are still being written out of history.—Yours etc.,

Dublin 5

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