Periods are a natural part of life for most people who have a uterus.
But the language we use to talk about periods can be anything but natural.
From “that time of the month” to “the curse”, the way we refer to periods can be negative, taboo, even embarrassing.
This can make it difficult for people to talk about their periods openly and honestly.
So let’s talk about it.
In this article: 📝
- Why is period talk important?
- Is period talk taboo?
- What age should you have the period talk?
- Is it OK to talk about periods with guys?
- How do you normalize period talk?
- What are other words for your period?
- Is it okay to talk about periods openly?
Why is period talk important?
Periods are a normal bodily function that affects half of the population.
They’re not something to be ashamed of, and they shouldn’t be a taboo topic.
In fact, talking about periods openly and honestly is important for a number of reasons.
- Breaking the stigma. The stigma around periods can make it difficult for people to talk about them, which can lead to feelings of isolation and shame. By talking about periods openly and honestly, we can help to break down the stigma and create a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.
- Education. There’s a lot of misinformation about periods out there. By talking about periods, we can help to educate people about what periods are, how they work, and what to expect ‒ even things that surround the topic of periods, like period poop, brown period blood, and blood clots.
- Improving menstrual health. When people are able to talk about their periods openly, they’re more likely to seek help for menstrual problems like cramps, heavy bleeding, or painful periods. This can help to improve their menstrual health and quality of life.
So let’s talk about periods!
Let’s break down the stigma, educate people, and improve menstrual health for everyone.
Is period talk taboo?
Unfortunately, yes, period talk is still taboo in many places.
There are many reasons for this, but it often comes down to a lack of education and understanding about periods.
Some people think that periods are dirty or shameful, but that’s simply not true.
For something that’s experienced by half of the global population, it’s actually quite surprising that we don’t talk about periods more often or more openly.
There’s no denying that we’ve come in leaps and bounds in mere decades ‒ according to Vulture, in 1972, sanitary products, like tampons and pads, weren’t allowed to be advertised on TV.
And you’ve probably heard that Courtney Cox’s claim to fame before Friends was that she was the first person to even say the word “period” on TV, in 1985.
And while we’re at it, why do we still see adverts for period products using that infamous blue liquid?
It’s only in recent years that we’re starting to see red liquid in adverts for sanitary products ‒ and they’re so rare that every time we see them, they make the news!
This is just a snapshot of how periods are portrayed in the media, even now.
So it’s no surprise that we might be uncomfortable having period talk openly.
But period talk doesn’t have to be taboo.
And younger generations are further breaking down the stigmas ‒ asking for a tampon in public toilets isn’t nearly as awkward as it once was.
Part of what’s helping crush the taboo is being able to share your period experiences in places with no judgment, around people who get it.
Hint: Peanut is a great space to have these sorts of conversations. 😉
What age should you have the period talk?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best age to have the period talk will vary depending on the individual child ‒ and on your family, circumstances, and personal preferences.
But it’s generally a good idea to start talking about periods early ‒ before your child starts puberty.
This will help them to understand what to expect when they do start their period, and it will also help to break down the stigma surrounding periods for them.
It can be a scary experience to have your first period without any knowledge or understanding of what it is, especially for a child.
So having that first period talk early is vital.
How do I talk to my 11-year-old daughter about her period?
It’s totally up to you how to approach period talk with your child, however old they are, but here are some tips:
- Start the conversation early. The earlier you start talking about periods, the more comfortable your child will be when they do start their period.
- Remember that you don’t have to do it all at once. There’s a lot of vital information your child should know about periods, but it can be overwhelming all at once. Encourage the conversation at various times, especially when they have questions.
- Use age-appropriate language. When you’re talking to your child about periods, use language they can understand. Or if there’s a word you think they should know ‒ biological references like “uterus”, for example ‒ then take the time to explain it.
- Be honest and open. Don’t be afraid to answer your child’s questions, even if they’re a little embarrassing. Have a think about why you find them embarrassing ‒ you might even help break down your own period shame.
- Be positive. Periods are a normal part of life, so make sure to emphasize that there’s nothing to be ashamed of and that there’s not a person who menstruates who hasn’t been caught out by their period. (Who else is traumatized from wearing white trousers on the wrong day?)
Is it OK to talk about periods with guys?
Yes, it’s totally okay to talk about periods with guys, or people who don’t menstruate.
In fact, it’s important to talk about periods with everyone, regardless of gender.
And there are actually a few benefits to talking about periods with people who don’t have them.
For one, it can help to educate them about periods.
Many people born without a uterus don’t know much about periods, and they may have misconceptions or stereotypes about them.
By talking more openly about periods, we can help them to understand what periods are, how they work, and what to expect.
Talking about periods with those who don’t menstruate can also help to improve communication in relationships.
This can help them to understand what you’re going through, and it can also help them to be more supportive of you during your period.
And if they respond with “ew” or “I don’t talk about periods”, it’s simple.
Of course, it’s important to be respectful when talking about periods with people who don’t menstruate.
You don’t need to go into graphic detail, but you should be open and honest about your experiences.
But if you feel uncomfortable talking about periods with someone, you don’t have to.
It’s always your choice.
Why should men talk about periods?
Everyone on earth knows someone who menstruates.
By having the conversation and educating ourselves ‒ all of us ‒ we’re on the path to compassion and support.
What’s not to love?
How do you normalize period talk?
So how do we break the stigma of period talk?
Well, simply by reading this article, you’re already on your way!
But here are more tips to take this talk even further:
- Start by talking to your friends and family. Talk about periods openly and honestly. The more we talk about periods, the less taboo they will become. If you’re uncomfortable, start with other people who menstruate ‒ they’ll get it.
- Educate yourself about periods. The more you know, the more you can talk about them confidently. Be prepared to answer questions and educate people about periods.
- Use positive language when talking about periods. Try to avoid using euphemisms or negative language. Sure, calling it “Monster Week” or “the Devil” is pretty funny, but if we’re going to live with it, we may as well call it by it’s name, without the negative connotations. But this one’s up to you ‒ call it what you want!
- Don’t be afraid to be funny or lighthearted when talking about periods. Even if it’s sharing your embarrassing story that you can look back on and laugh. (About those white trousers, I wasn’t kidding.)
- Be respectful of everyone’s experience with periods. Remember that everyone’s experience is different.
- Challenge negative stereotypes about periods. When you hear someone say something negative or just plain wrong about periods, speak up and challenge them. Like “period blood is dirty blood”, “you shouldn’t get periods, that’s just toxins leaving your body”, or “you shouldn’t touch plants if you’re on your period, otherwise they’ll die”. 🙄
- Support organizations that are working to normalize period talk. There are many organizations that are working to break down the stigma surrounding periods. By supporting these organizations, you can help make a difference.
What are other words for your period?
Inspired by this study on how millennials and Gen Z talk about periods by Thrive, we asked our Peanut Community what they called their periods ‒ there are some we hadn’t even heard before!
- “Tommy or Tom” (as in Time Of the Month)
- “I’m on”
- “Aunt Flo”
- “Monday” (because nobody likes Monday)
- “Shark Week”
- “Monthly subscription”
- “Bloody hell”
- “The painter and decorators”
- “Mother Nature”
- “Niagara Falls”
- “My uterus is under construction”
- “The Devil”
- “Murder scene”
- “Moon time”
- “The Bitch”
- “On the blob”
- “My P”
- “Leak Week”
- “The red lady”
- “Code Red”
- “Riding the dragon”
- “My girly”
- “There’s a velociraptor in my uterus”
- “Clifford” (as in the Big Red Dog)
- “The price of supreme power”
- “My friend”
- “The Monster”
- “Red army”
- “My Dot”
- “Scarlet Witch”
- “Uterus Dislodgment Week”
- “Strawberry Week”
- “Ketchup packet”
Is it okay to talk about periods openly?
Yes. No ifs, ands, or buts.
Periods are a natural part of life, and they shouldn’t be a taboo topic.
It’s totally okay to talk about them openly and honestly.
We’ll go one further ‒ it’s fundamental.
By talking about periods, we can help to break down the stigma surrounding them, educate people about them, and improve menstrual health.
So next time you’re feeling uncomfortable talking about periods, remember that it’s totally okay!
And if you see someone else being shamed for talking about periods, speak up and let them know that they’re not alone.
Let’s normalize period talk and create a more inclusive and supportive environment for everyone.
BRB, buying tampons.