Kristen Bell is taking heat on social media for some recent comments about her period and premenstrual syndrome. During a recent appearance on her husband Dax Shepard’s podcast, Armchair Expert, Bell said that she and other women “self-regulate” their behavior each month to maintain their relationships. This word choice has caused some irritation and confusion on social media.
“We are expected to self-regulate, and if I acted like I ‘wanted to’ every time I’m on my period, we would 100 percent not be married,” Bell said to Shepard. The actress said that menstruating is “debilitating” in a way that men don’t understand, adding: “I self-regulate, and women do on their period. Some women lose control, 100 percent.” Many critics are calling this a case of internalized misogyny.
“The reason I don’t go bananas on my period is that I have been brought up with socialization that has told me, ‘you will feel bananas a couple of days before your period,'” Bell said. “‘Don’t scream at everyone, even though that is what you want to do, you can’t do that. What is happening to you is in your brain chemistry and your hormones. And you have to know that knowledge is power.'”
Many critics didn’t like how Bell simplified this topic, generalizing it for everyone who menstruates. They also felt like she was feeding into old myths and stereotypes — at least in how her quotes were taken out of context beyond the long-form podcast. Here is a look at what people are saying about Bell.
Are you kidding, there would be so many concessions for it.
Extra mensies days off, better pain meds, offices that require heating pads or some similar shit.
The whole world would be different, but yes, they would whine even more. 🤦♀️
— Lisa (@gelilil) July 1, 2020
I’m 51, so those days are over, but when I would PMS or be on my period, I was a bitch 100%. Guys just don’t have a clue what it feels like to have cramps or bleed and not die. It’s truly supernatural. 😁😈😇
— Samantha Lee Henderson-Thompson (@Samanth62576193) August 10, 2021
Many supporters took Bell’s comments to mean that men didn’t understand all that menstruation entails. They imagined how much more men would accommodate the process if they could experience it firsthand.
Kristen Bell can regulate herself on her period but not enough to wash her kids.???
— Georgia “Cool Mom” Roman (@GAfromCLE) August 10, 2021
Some people related Bell’s new comment to her other recent controversy about how often she bathes her children.
Usually when ppl talk about the importance of self-regulation it’s to do with behaviour (mostly children learning to control themselves), so basically she has mood-swings when it’s her time of the month.
— Pedantic_Person (@PedanticPerson) August 10, 2021
Some users were confused to see Bell’s comments framed as controversial on social media. However, in many cases, these people had listened to the full podcast, so they heard the quotes in context first.
Kristen, I have been reading quotes where you say that you & your friends “self-regulate” your pms. Besides sounding like a 1950’s housewife 🙄 these statements are dangerous. I cannot self regulate diabetes. I need medication & regular health checks. I could not self …. Pg 1
— Fiona Vegan Peace 💙 (@Fiona99) August 11, 2021
Some critics feared that this kind of language was a slippery slope for ableism in the case of other medical conditions. Commenters feared that Bell’s comments could be applied to diabetes or other conditions that have an emotional aspect.
This is a poorly constructed hot take. Everybody experiences a spectrum of emotions, some of which are unhealthy. Those need to be regulated to have good relationships with ourselves and others. Pretending this isn’t true for the sake of ‘wokeness’ is destructive.
— TheGrinningCarrot (@CarrotGrinning) August 11, 2021
Some thought that criticism of Bell’s comments had gone way overboard and become hyperbolic. Whether they appreciated her description or not, they did not like how it was portrayed in the media after the fact.
No one at all:
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd “It takes everything in me not to kill my S/O hehe we are such a good match”
— April (@AprilMarie_25) August 10, 2021
Finally, some commenters were beginning to question whether Bell and Shepard are really a good match together, given their “honest” comments about how hard it is to maintain a healthy marriage recently. In addition, they felt that the Amrchair Expert podcast was veering towards over-sharing in many cases.