Periods And Its Many Names That We Don’t Need

The curse. Really?

Let’s talk about periods

In the age when Period Panties are sold (you read that right, smalls that are a substitute for sanitary pads), talking about periods seems obvious. Yet, talking about menstruation is beyond the pale. Saying the word itself is a taboo. Well, why else would we have bazillion period euphemisms? Technically, there are about 5000 terms for menses, making it 4999 more than needed.

Welcome to the world of period euphemisms

Let’s make one thing clear. We do talk about ‘the curse’. Extensively. Openly. But, terms and conditions apply. The period euphemism being #womenonly #innercircle. Conversing about our ‘monthlies’ is out of bounds in mixed company. So, this is for all the men – and some women (let’s not be biased) – who go queasy when ‘time of the month’ arrives.

It is okay to talk about ‘women’s trouble’. Anywhere and everywhere. Why you ask? Because it is a force of nature, an act of God, a biological process and something that will inevitably occur. It would help a sh*t load if we could shout out loud that ‘I am PMSing’. It’d be cathartic.

Menstrual hygiene

There are about 355 million menstruating women in India out of which only 12% use sanitary napkins. If we talked about them that number would increase exponentially which would translate to better healthcare and hygiene of millions of women in the nation. It would mean girls don’t use dirty cloth instead of sanitary pads that lead to harsh diseases.

Talking about it would also ensure that almost a quarter percent of girls don’t drop out of school when they go ‘on the rag’. Can you imagine the horror of bleeding every month at the age of 9 and with no one to talk to? Yes, that’s how young some of us are when we start ‘chumming’.

The Furies’ have been visiting me for almost two decades now. Each year brings different symptoms from debilitating pain to scratch-your-eyes-out mood. How am I supposed to keep track of these ever-evolving portents if I am using a different period euphemism every time?

Mum’s the word

3000 days. That’s the average time ‘Aunt Flo’ will visit a woman in a lifetime. 3000 days means more than 8 years. That’s how long it takes to complete primary education. Could you live for eight years without talking about a vital part of your life?

If we had been talking about ‘cousin Red’, a mundane biological process, women world over would not have to be embarrassed while buying sanitary pads or tampons. They would not be confronted with the punishing drumbeat of constant side eyes, hushed voices and the ubiquitous black polythene.The whole world is in furore to educate people about ‘riding the crimson wave’. But to educate, you have to communicate. Speak on it, talk about ‘courses’ and remove the period stigma along with the period euphemisms.

Time to talk

You poop, pee and sweat, right? And no matter what you will fart under the covers. Why? Because they are bodily functions and they happen. Well, wake the hell up! The menstrual cycle is not the odd one out in the picture of ‘one of these things is not like the others’, that’s you farting under the sheets.

Whether you want it or not, it’s going to happen every month. So, why not talk about it and make it easier for the poor soul who has to suffer through it after every-bloody-twenty eight days. And, trust me talking helps. So do carbs, chocolates and all other guilty pleasures.
And if you are still not convinced enough to talk about it, then up your keister and c’est la vie!

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Written by Shikha Jain


My name is Shikha Jain, hailing from Jodhpur. I have completed BTech in Computer Science discipline. My inclination has always been towards writing. I am allergic to the orthodox haze our society is covered with. The articles I write are simply the reflection of my viewpoint trying to change the conservative perspective of people.


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