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Seeing Red: Boss in Norway Makes Women Wear Period Bracelets

menstrual cycle, workplace discrimination

A stylish way to let everyone know it's that time of the month?

According to that bastion of salacious news, The Daily Mail, “A boss in Norway has ordered all female staff to wear red bracelets during their periods – to explain why they are using the toilet more often.”

Ummmmm…. where to begin?  First of all, this is not what Jesus would do, and as we all know, Jesus himself started the bracelet-as-identifying-object trend.  God-like figure Lance Armstrong helped cycle the trend forward with his yellow LIVESTRONG bands, most recently followed by the (somewhat controversial) pink I <3 Boobies bracelets, meant to raise awareness about breast cancer.  (Who doesn’t love boobies?  Girls, gay men, everyone should be wearing that message as a tattoo, let’s be honest.  My 5-year-old is obsessed with boobs and tells me how much she loves them at least once a day.)

But red period bracelets?  I don’t know.  How will we know if a woman is bleeding or following Kabbalah?

Workers claim “Norwegian businesses were becoming obsessed with lost productivity due to employees spending too much time answering the call of nature,” the Daily Mail reports.  A study of the situation found “66 per cent of managers made staff ask them for an electronic key card to gain access to the toilets so they could monitor breaks.  Toilets in one in three companies were placed under video-surveillance, while other firms made staff sign a toilet visitors book.”

Norway’s chief consumer ombudsman Bjorn Erik Thon says,”Toilet Codes relating to menstrual cycles are clear violations of privacy and is very insulting to the people concerned.”  Uh, ya think?  Kim Conte at The Stir says if she were working for a boss who made her wear a red bracelet while she was bleeding, she’d rally to instate a company-wide ID bracelet policy.

In the spirit of transparency, I would insist that all of my co-workers — men and women — be forced to reveal intimate details about their bodies, lives, and washroom habits through this color-coded bracelet system.  For example, pink or blue bracelets (depending on the sex of her baby) would signal that a woman was pregnant.  Green means someone came to work hungover.  And, of course, brown would be for people who have to … you know.

I guess that means I’d come in to work looking like a Christmas tree once a month, because while some women might try to soothe themselves with a hot water bottle during that time of the month, like Ke$ha, I prefer a bottle of Jack.

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