The idea of PMS as a great hormonal tide that washes away women’s rationality does not, of course, correspond to reality. Many were probably nonetheless shocked last year when University of Toronto researchers published a literature review suggesting that many of the phenomena attributed to PMS may have their source elsewhere. (Among those unsurprised by their findings was surely Emile Nelson, who has long insisted that women never had any rationality to begin with.) Dr. Sarah Romans even suggested that

the whole PMS notion serves to keep women non-irritable, sweet, and compliant the rest of the time. There is a range of paradoxes—world-turned-upside-down events—like festivals, Mardi Gras, where people are socially prescribed to behave out of role. In Europe in medieval times there’d be one day a year where the lord would serve his own servants and workers, and then the rest of the time it’s the other way, servant obeying the master. And these kinds of rituals serve to embed the normal behavior. I think PMS is a bit like that. “We’ll let you be cranky and bad-tempered now, but just for one or two days. The rest of the time you’ve got to be like a true woman.”

It’s been almost a year since Romans et al. published their results in Gender Medicine. Did this finally change our narratives about women’s emotionality? Starshine Roshell took to the Independent today to issue a pessimistic progress report.

Roshell’s column contains two distinct threads. One is a straightforward exposition of what should, by now, be obvious:

I’m sure you’d love to be able to dismiss our emotional extremes as the hormone-fueled flare-ups of an estrogen-addled lunatic rather than have to consider whether you’ve actually done something wrong (HOW HARD IS IT TO PICK A DIFFERENT FORK?). But it’s not like we’re schizophrenic, possessed by the devil, or on a bender; we’re still us, reacting to genuine feelings about real things.

It’s worth reminding you that men behave unpredictably and unpleasantly from time to time: The teenaged boy who roars from sulking to rage in 60 seconds flat, the grown man who grows despondent when we’re out of coffee or snippy when he misses his morning workout … Those chemical surges’ll mess with your mind!

But if empathy alone won’t keep you from playing the condescending “You’ve got PMS” card, then do it for your own safety. Because when you dismiss our concerns—deranged as they may seem—as the bogus byproducts of a biological function, it belittles our distress and defines us as poorly engineered, malfunctioning freaks.

Once we’ve been labeled with the scarlet P, we can no longer be heard; even legitimate worries and reasonable frustrations are ignored as involuntary theatrics.

But woven between these paragraphs is another thread that disrupts and confuses the points being made. It is the trope of PMS-induced hysteria, which Roshell introduces to show that the old story is still the one being told:

We have arrived, yet again, at that odious interlude of each lunar cycle when there is a small chance that I will throw something heavy at your head. There’s also a chance that during the next three days I will snatch something out of your hands because you are doing it wrong, shriek “WHO ATE THE LAST BROWNIE?” at a pterodactyl pitch, and begin weeping inconsolably because you set the table and gave me that fork I don’t like—that one freaking fork that is so easy to avoid in the utensils drawer and that you know very well I dislike, but you just had to put it at my place, didn’t you? You never have respected me, not for one minute of our lives, and this is how you choose to show me.

Welcome to hell, fellas.

Your wife/mother/girlfriend/sister is a porcupine who has swallowed a hand grenade and doesn’t want to die alone. But with a steady supply of wine and simple carbohydrates, she might—might—be able to keep The Beast shackled in the basement of her soul.

Roshell’s intention is clearly to illustrate how even the most sensible conversation about menstruation takes place against the backdrop the bad old narrative. Not only is this sort of conversation constantly at risk of being actively derailed by the invocation of that backdrop, but decades of sexism and misinformation have lead listeners to immediately associate such conversations with problematic myths. The second thread of Roshell’s column can therefore be thought of as the social noise in the background of any discussion of women’s emotions, perpetually distracting us from what really matters.

Unfortunately this strategy is actually too effective because all we’re going to get out of this column is that women

have no option but to cash in that free pass, stop trying to tame our tempers, and erupt in a delirious streak of long-overdue, blame-my-uterus, full-volume flipping freak-outs.

Gentlemen … meet The Beast.