Blood, Bread...Oranges, And Apples?
But perhaps the past, and/or less industrialized countries, are not the place to look for menstrual synchrony, and menstrual synchrony is a modern phenomenon, yet to be fully explained.† Hereís an email MOLT received from Drexel University regarding Strassmannís research in Mali, West Africa:
Mon, 29 Apr 2002 22:17:43 -0400††††††††††††††††
I enjoyed the piece at http://www.menstrualmonday.org/mesy.html and wanted to answer the call to share thoughts. I think that anyone who lives in industrialized society (more on that later) and disputes menstrual synchrony either a) hasn't lived with other women for an extended period of time, or b) is not a woman! Even considering the valid points made by Strassmann in the section which states, "Given that menstruation often lasts 5 days, it is not surprising that friends commonly experience overlapping menses," that fails to neatly solve the problem of statistics.
I have never been great with statistics, but I am pretty certain that the odds are stacked against the fact that my three roommates and I experience onset within just a few days of each other, month after month.
As for my reference to industrialized society...I wonder if comparing the Dogon women with industrialized society is like comparing apples and oranges. I can see where it would seem to be a good approach -- but there seems to be little in the way of experimental controls, which makes its strong point a weak one. Females in Mali undoubtedly experience a very different environment than females in an industrialized nation. I don't know anything about the Dogon tribe, but might their bodies be more attuned to survival than to each other? Contrast that with the fattened, comfortable women in the US or some other such location. Not only do our bodies have little reason to prepare for survival (in most cases), we are exposed every day to chemicals that we don't know the effect of.
Consider that scientists have recently suggested a strong (and apparently reversible) link between early onset of puberty and use of topical products that contain oestrogen. We're also told by the media that we're constantly exposed to synthetic hormones in our daily lives. It makes sense to me that our bodies would show different reactions to the presence of other women than those of the Dogon women to each other...which would make Strassmann's study appear to be of very limited relevance.
Just my two cents! I hope I didn't bore you. Great site!