Playing the Menstrual Cycle and PMS Spreads

by Mr Juggles

I can finally horse back ride without worryThe ads shown beside my communications in GMail seem wildly off-base far more often than they are relevant. Recently, the ad displayed was a link to MyMonthlyCycles™, offering “free personalized tools to track, monitor, and manage your monthly menstrual cycles!” That’s funny, I thought to myself, I don’t menstruate and — if I were to start — I can’t imagine why I would need to manage my cycles online.

Not two days later, while thumbing through The Atlantic, I saw an interesting short piece describing evidence that menstrual cycles (and the resulting sick days) can explain a portion of the male-female earnings gap.

[Two economists] found that women were more likely than men to miss work in twenty-eight-day cycles. When women turned forty-five, however, the male-female difference vanished…Overall, the study attributes 11.8 percent of the earnings gap between men and women, and 13.5 percent of the promotion gap, to menstruation-related absences.”
-Eve’s Curse, The Atlantic December 2006

Not two days later, I encountered an ad for Seasonique, one of a number of new birth control drugs that prevent women from having their period more than 4 times a year.

Personally, modifying a fundamental body function so drastically seems somewhat dangerous. However, it’s clear that with women managing their menstrual cycles online (always more efficient!) and having less periods (now, with less bleeding!), the gender wage gap will converge by up to 11.8%.

Recommendation: Go Long a basket of females with high PMS spreads (defined as [((PMS Attitude – Base Attitude) divided by Base Attitude) mulitplied by 100]). This will allow the most leverage to the theory of wage gap convergence; if you have concerns about the inherent volatility in any basket of female assets, you can hedge out your female exposure by simultaneously shorting a basket of females with low PMS spreads. This would be a pure bet on convergence without any exposure to the inherent insanity and latent irrationality of the asset class.

Related Reseach:

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  1. PairOfSox
    December 11th, 2006 | 2:12 pm

    Seasonique, and Seasonal are both just new ways to market old things. I know you guys must discuss “surfing the crimson wave” pretty often on a site like this, but those two brands of birth control are just regular pills, but (I’m not sure how many of you know this, or want to know this) you’re basically not taking the week’s worth of pills with no hormones in them. The only reason those fake pills are there is to trick women into thinking their normal by bleeding regularly, when they don’t really need to. They could have just skipped those fake pills and had the same effect. Doctors have known about this since they came up with the pill. It’s like how Betty Crocker doesn’t have dried egg substitute in their cake mixes anymore, housewives want to feel like they’re really contributing to the cake and baking it themselves.

    I think companies that make antidepressants are making more off of PMS than those birth control pills though. There’s a new disease, called PMDD, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It’s just a fancy name for PMS. But now it’s treatable with Zoloft.

    So basically, what I’m saying is that apparently, antidepressants can cure anything, but you might get the runs or constipated. It’s a crapshoot.

  2. December 11th, 2006 | 2:45 pm

    “I’m not sure how many of you know this, or want to know this”

    The answer is zero and zero respectively. Seriously, this is exactly what “Forget-Me-Now” pills are for, so that guys do not have to live with this knowledge after unwittingly having received it.

  3. poseidon
    December 11th, 2006 | 3:44 pm

    Holy shit. You mean Betty Crocker came up with a cake where you just add water?

    Fine if they want to make the housewife feel better about themselves, but to not take that technology, rebrand and cross market to males age 18-45 is f-ing nuts. Short GIS.

  4. lanoitarus
    December 13th, 2006 | 10:46 am

    “Holy shit. You mean Betty Crocker came up with a cake where you just add water?”

    Yes, but you are aware (I hope), that once you add the water, it still requires baking. And if youre anything like me, that big square cabinet under your stove is full of pans and cleaning supplies and you wouldnt know how to turn it on if your life depended on it.

  5. AJ
    December 15th, 2006 | 4:45 pm

    Why would people skip work because they have PMS? It’s the one time of the month that my coworkers do what I tell them. Disease or management tool? You tell me. TELL ME NOW!

  6. PairOfSox
    December 15th, 2006 | 5:16 pm

    It’s not an attitude issue, a girl I knew in high school who would occasionally get so sick she was throwing up when she had PMS (no, she wasn’t drinking the night before).

    And re: the anti-depressants, apparently some people get practically suicidal when they’re PMDDing. They’re not just being snippy.

    Those are pretty good reasons to skip work.

  7. December 19th, 2006 | 6:48 pm

    The 7 sugar pills a month in BC aren’t there to trick women into anything; any woman with sense knows those aren’t actual birth control. Women take them to know when they have been off of them for 7 days; they take the sugar pills to make sure they stay on track with the birth control in general.

    Some studies show having a period only 4 times a year is healthy, but it will be interesting to see whether any complications arise later from taking measures like that.

    A good number of women I know–all of them in their 20’s–have decided to forego traditional bc pills because of the emotional or physical side effects. Birth control should certainly be available, but we need to take an open and honest look at some of the potential outcomes that many women don’t realize when they start taking them (eg, depression).

    /end of soapbox

  8. PairOfSox
    December 19th, 2006 | 8:30 pm

    That’s not what I was saying. The sugar pills are not necessary, which most women know. But I don’t think most women know they can start a new pack right away, without waiting through the sugar pills (so they don’t need to get their fake “visit from aunt flo”).

    Doctors have known this for a while, but it’s just never been marketed.

    Different pills affect people differently; othrotricylen became huge because they performed a study relating periods and pimples. A lot of pills do the same thing, but they just never commissioned a study.

    I know people who have gone on the pill and became depressed or raving psychos, but just switching to a different pill made things better. It’s not just the pill itself, it’s that certain pill that determines the effects. Believe me, when I switch for 2 months once, I became a crying, fat lady.. now I’m back to just my thin unstable self, but not crying, self.

    Not to be a total nerd but if you wrote your post in html you’d only have to say

    / = end

  9. PairOfSox
    December 19th, 2006 | 8:32 pm

    weird, i guess this translates things into html.. but i meant to say “you only need to say /soapbox” because / = end