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Kristine Mahan / Spoon

A conversation I have always been interested in is periods. Periods, as in menstruation. Not a period of time, or a moment in history, but the cycle any person with a uterus experiences every single month, roughly from ages 13 to 51, accounting to 2,280 days in total spent on a period.


Many young girls probably aren’t fully aware of what a period is when it first begins, or, do not know what to do once they do, and potentially, aren’t well equipped with menstruation products or how to use them (a very basic 3-step instruction on how to insert a tampon for the first time only gets you so far).


My point is, why does a conversation about periods make people – both men and women – squirm so much? Why is it that we have so many euphemisms to replace the word ‘period’, or ‘menstruation’ or ‘blood’, that are so completely unrelated (“Niagara Falls” is certainly an interesting example!). What makes it so bloody uncomfortable talking about something so normal?


I want to talk about periods firstly, because I am a woman and I have periods, and my experiences with them haven’t been very typical or “normal” if you like, in terms of regularity, the heaviness of my flow and the pain I’ve experienced, and has dealt me many stand-out memories since I turned 11 (involving swimming lessons and the girls’ changing rooms). But, despite this, I’ve never felt even slightly embarrassed talking about my periods – which many other girls and women do.


Imagine, if we could normalise the conversation about periods so that girls wouldn’t skip a day, or sometimes even a week off school because their period is too heavy, and they’re too scared they might leak through their uniform, or maybe they can’t afford sanitary products and feel too ashamed to ask for them at school. Or, that women wouldn’t book time off work as “holiday” because their cramps are so severe that they’re actually debilitating so they can’t concentrate on work for a minute, let alone a 9-5 day, or move without clutching a hot water bottle.


I’m not asking to speak to a Doctor or “expert” on menstruation, although that is something I have done, but just to speak to you, and for you to speak to the person sat next to you, or your dad, or boss, without having to lower your voice and whisper, or wishing that the whole room would swallow you up there and then… But rather just open up a conversation about something as natural as talking about the weather. Because it is. Period.

2019/ 2020 Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus Nottingham A love for writing, drinking tea & chatting about uncomfortable things.
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