Code Red: What do you call your period?
“Aunt Flo is here.”
“It’s shark week.”
“I’m riding the crimson wave.”
For many women, getting their periods is not fun (especially if you have heavy bleeding). And let’s face it; what’s fun about PMS, wanting to devour the entire snack aisle at the grocery store, bloating like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float, moodiness and fatigue?
But what is funny, are some of the names women call their periods.
Throughout much of history, the menstrual cycle has been thought of as something shameful, embarrassing and even dangerous. Many of the world’s largest religions used to consider a woman “unclean” when she is having her period.(1)
In the Victorian era, doctors called menstruation a debilitating illness. Women were thought to be “unwell, or out of order.” The British Medical Journal in January 1875 stated, “At such times, women are unfit for any great mental or physical labour. They suffer under a languor and depression which disqualify them for thought or action(2).” Tell that to women today, and watch them laugh their heads off.
“Closed for maintenance.”
Of course, menstruation wasn’t always considered entirely evil. In some historic cultures, a menstruating woman was considered sacred and powerful(3). Able to heal the sick, and offer psychic abilities(4).
“My little friend.”
“The girl flu.”
A young girl, who tells her mom she has just gotten her first period, is often met with a big smile, since menstruation is considered the beginning of womanhood. That first cycle means the reproductive system has begun its work, and the girl will likely, one day, be able to procreate.
Today, menstruation may not be anybody’s favorite time of month, but it’s no longer something to be ashamed of, or embarrassed to talk about. Feminine hygiene product commercials, comediennes, and a more modern attitude have made periods easier to discuss.
Utta Pippig, a marathon runner from Germany did a lot to normalize menstruation. While running the 1996 Boston Marathon. Utta, who had won the race twice before, got her period early in the marathon and had cramps and pain throughout the course. She didn’t let it stop her though, and although she had blood dripping down her legs, she went on to win the race.
“I have a visitor.”
More recently, Kiran Gandhi, a Harvard Business School Graduate and professional drummer, ran the London Marathon without wearing a tampon, to show that the “stigma of a woman’s period is irrelevant.” Go Kiran! You can read about her experience in her own words on her blog (http://kirangandhi.com/2015/04/26/sisterhood- blood-and-boobs-at-the-london-marathon-2015/)
Perhaps silly names for “that time of the month” help to make us laugh during a time when we don’t necessarily feel like laughing. Let us know what you call your period.
(3) Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews, and Christians By Naomi Janowitz
(4) The Joy of Family Rituals: Recipes for Everyday Living By Barbara Biziou
- Posted by holx-admin
- On September 30, 2015