We’ve Got To Change The Way We Talk (Or Don’t Talk) About Periods

period-censors
Scary Mommy and Vasyl Dolmatov/Getty

People, let’s stop whispering about periods. We all do it. I’ll be the first to admit that there is nothing more annoying than hearing some person say, “Ew, gross,” because someone says they are on their period. Newsflash: Half of the population deals with periods! I grew up in a household of girls–periods were a normal occurrence. When that time of the month came and the cramps and mood swings (and occasionally, the chocolate cravings) arrived, the world didn’t stop spinning. Shocking, right?

In fact, I was so used to being casual about my period that it wasn’t until I had someone in high school ask to borrow a tampon in the smallest whisper ever that I realized some people aren’t casual about periods. I started paying attention every time “periods” were mentioned, and it was always talked about in a hushed whisper. So frustrating. Eventually, I got in the habit of whispering about periods too because I wanted others to feel comfortable. But as I lowered my voice to talk about blood and tampons, I internally rolled my eyes.

Then I met my husband. When I mentioned something about being on my period, it was no big deal. He’d happily pick up a box of tampons or pads, whatever it was I needed. There was nothing about a period that made him pause or say something uncalled for. And forget queasy, they seriously didn’t faze him. It was a breath of fresh air. Is it because he grew up with a sister? Maybe. Or maybe it’s because he’s a mature guy who realizes that people get periods. Here’s the thing: All men should be perfectly fine with them.

Periods are messy. Periods suck. Sometimes, periods leak or surprise you. This is especially true when it’s your very first one. We’re in the 21st century people, why are period sufferers still scared to talk about Aunt Flo? Do men not realize that they are here on this earth because of a period? Well, the beginning stages, or the lack of a period. Whatever, you know what I mean.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of blue water mimicking our blood. If I’m leaking blue water, you’ll be seeing me in the emergency room stat. I’m sick of the whispers and clever names, the hiding during cramps and the countless trips to the bathroom with a tampon tucked in our sleeve. It’d be a lot easier to say, “Yep, I’m on my period. Cramps are a killer, am I right?” All other period sufferers would give you the Hunger Games salute and cis-men would silently praise whatever they believe in that they don’t have to experience the horrid stomach pains on a monthly basis.

Wouldn’t that be nice?


Scary Mommy and PeopleImages/Getty

It’s time to stop censoring our periods. Because seriously, think about it: if you get a little blood on your shirt when you get a papercut, do you hide away and beg all your coworkers to borrow one of their shirts? Would you go around and whisper in every person’s ear asking them for a Band-Aid? If you would, it’s probably time to get cooler coworkers or a better job. Most people who cut their finger would wince and ask in a regular tone, “Hey, anyone have a Band-Aid?” Then, maybe they’d go to the bathroom and try to get the bloodstain out of their white tee before going right back to their desk and doing work. They could freely complain about typing with the sore finger and about how much the papercut sucks. No one would bat an eye. There would probably even be some office solidarity. Something like, “We’ve all been there. It does suck.”

Why are periods any different? Half of us get them! And we get them 12+ times a year! I can’t even remember the last time I cut my finger, but I can definitely remember my last period. I’d bet that you could, too.

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thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. the girl is fully clothed. the photo is mine. it is not attacking a certain group. nor is it spam. and because it does not break those guidelines i will repost it again. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified. pornified. and treated less than human. thank you. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ this image is a part of my photoseries project for my visual rhetoric course. you can view the full series at rupikaur.com the photos were shot by myself and @prabhkaur1 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ i bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. my womb is home to the divine. a source of life for our species. whether i choose to create or not. but very few times it is seen that way. in older civilizations this blood was considered holy. in some it still is. but a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women. the sexualization of women. the violence and degradation of women than this. they cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that. but will be angered and bothered by this. we menstruate and they see it as dirty. attention seeking. sick. a burden. as if this process is less natural than breathing. as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. as if this process is not love. labour. life. selfless and strikingly beautiful.

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It’s 2019, and we’ve made some pretty hefty strides for our monthlies. We’ve got lifesaving period underwear, a multitude of period essentials to choose from, and awesome people who are breaking barriers with things like period photoshoots. But those people aren’t enough. We need the average Janes and Joes of the world to commit to casting aside the taboo that surrounds periods. Seriously, it’s just blood! Periods aren’t dirty, they aren’t embarrassing, and they definitely aren’t a “weak” women’s issue. With both women and men bleeding from periods, it’s important to grow up and stop making a regular bodily function something obscure or strange.

It’s time to remind people everywhere that they wouldn’t be alive without periods. That to bring a person into the world, we have to endure a nearly lifelong struggle of bleeding every month for a week or so. It’s time we start embracing periods. I’m ready for the day that I can raise my hand and say, “Any of you have a tampon? Pad? I’m on my period.” Sure, I can say it now, and I happily will, but I’d like to say it without a few gasps or widened eyes throughout the room. We have enough to worry about between the painful cramping, headaches, and sore backs. Yeah, periods suck. But the last thing we need is some person’s unwarranted opinion of the best thing to happen to the human race.

Let’s make the world a constant period support group. There’s strength in numbers. I’m done censoring my period. Care to join?