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Period Euphemisms And Why We Should Avoid Using Them

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Posted on September 26 2017

A period is a period and it’s an issue that demands real talk. While we’re guilty of jokingly calling on Aunt Flo when we want to talk about that time of the month, there are tons of period euphemisms that we could (and really should) do without.

It’s fun to play around during this otherwise not-so-fun time, but menstruation shaming is real and it does major harm. Whether violent, gross, or just antiquated, these period euphemisms play right into the tired taboos around menstruation and can further marginalize and silence girls and women everywhere.

The Violent

Ex. Red Wedding, Bloody Mary, Shark Week

Menstruation is a natural process that many of us deal with monthly (with strength and poise). Across the globe, however, there are women for whom the experience is dire, ripping them from their routines and exposing them to great risk.

The Gross

Ex. Crimson Wave, Ride the cotton pony, Opening the flood gates, Clams with Red Sauce

Periods are not gross. If we were going to get sentimental, we would say that menstruation is a beautiful thing that symbolizes the body’s preparedness for reproduction. For now we’ll just say, if you think bleeding is icky, you need to grow up.

The Antiquated

Ex. On the Rag, Having the painters in, On the Blob

It’s 2017. It’s well overdue for some real talk; and it’s not just a question of clarity, it’s an issue of empowerment. We have come so far, why do we still waver when it comes to women’s reproductive health? Conversation is crucial, progress is essential.

If we demonize women for this womanly experience and perpetuate myths that this is a gross thing, a taboo time, we do nothing to help empower people.

When in doubt, just call it a period. There’s nothing weird about it, no need to skirt around the issue and it does more harm to gloss over these topics then to serve up some real talk. We bleed. Let’s talk about it.

Photo courtesy of The Pool, Illustration by Penny Whitehouse

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