03 May 2019


"Women are born with pain built in. It’s our physical destiny: period pains, sore boobs, childbirth, you know. We carry it within ourselves throughout our lives, men don’t.
They have to seek it out, they invent all these gods and demons and things just so they can feel guilty about things, which is something we do very well on our own. And then they create wars so they can feel things and touch each other and when there aren’t any wars they can play rugby.
We have it all going on in here inside, we have pain on a cycle for years and years and years and then just when you feel you are making peace with it all, what happens? The menopause comes, the fucking menopause comes, and it is the most wonderful fucking thing in the world.
And yes, your entire pelvic floor crumbles and you get fucking hot and no one cares, but then you’re free, no longer a slave, no longer a machine with parts. You’re just a person."

Phoebe Waller-Bridge
in: Fleabag series 2, episode 3: Belinda's (played by Kristin Scott Thomas) monologue


  1. Well, I've always said that men, because they cannot create life in their own bodies, must take their power in ending life. That's my explanation for warfare. I'm sure there's more to it than that.
    As to the pain- women do come with pain built in but I have not found menopause to signal a cessation of that. I still feel like a machine- a working machine- and the pain I experience in joints and in muscles is far worse than any period pain I ever experienced. That's just me, perhaps.

  2. Hmmmm ..... I'm glad I'm not 33 (like Phoebe Waller-Bridge) anymore. The character she created, Belinda, doesn't speak to my view of women and men, but she does remind me of my mother in that my mother scared me so deeply about the pain of childbirth and that I was terrified of becoming pregnant and experiencing giving birth. It is my view that eating disorders arise from the fear of the pain of being a woman, and I had an active eating disorder between the ages of 10 and 37 years old. My mother didn't leave me with the impression that growing up to be a woman was going to be a positive experience in any way. I feel fortunate to have been a young woman in the late 1960s, with other role models besides my mother. However, even that didn't protect me from years of living with an active eating disorder and self-hate.

    My perception is that the men I know and have known have carried a different but equivalent pain within themselves throughout their lives. Some men can tolerate that pain, but great numbers of men can't tolerate the pain and medicate themselves, sometimes to death, with alcohol and drugs, as do great numbers of women. I don't believe that men in general seek out pain.

    The older I get the more womanly I feel. I'm not "just a person."


    Thanks for opening this up for discussion.

  3. The thing I like about menopause is men don't look at me in a sexual way, at least not that I've noticed, nor do I look at men that way either. It's no longer babies and ovum and hormones. I have been freed to do as I please because before menopause it was all about the sex.

  4. I had to google Phoebe Waller-Bridge. What is a 33-year-old doing talking about the joy of menopause. How would she know anything about that. I didn't feel "free" and "human again" when I hit menopause because I never felt enslaved to my cycle or non-human.

    But putting that silliness aside - I do think women have a different experience with pain than men do in general, but there are plenty of men who have early experiences with pain (cancer, say) that makes it part of their development so it's not that black and white.

  5. I wonder if this show is available here in the states? I do love Kristin Scott Thomas.

  6. I don't think we have pain built in just because childbirth is painful or because periods can be though I never really suffered from cramps. and the pain from childbirth is a different kind of pain than that from trauma or illness. our bodies may not be as physically strong as men's though we are quite strong, can be, if we refuse to accept the trope that women are weak. we do, after all, have a higher tolerance to pain and more stamina than men. it's as if their superior physical strength takes a higher toll on their bodies. as for menopause, I echo, what does a 33 year old know about it? our suppression does not come from the way our bodies function, it comes from societal norms of what women should be and do and act. I like Ms Moon's comment about women creating life and men creating death though the hindu deity of death is a woman, Kali, but Kali is also the goddess of life. she gives and takes away. it's been my observation about power and the sexes that men achieve their power early in life and as they get older it wanes. women achieve their power later in life, as they age, it grows. I think menopause does free us but what it frees us from is the constant fear of pregnancy. society tells us that we become invisible and worthless but I think that's just another way to keep us suppressed. I have never felt invisible just because young men don't look at me with lust. we are only as invisible as we allow ourselves to be.