Most Women Are Still Cagey When It Comes To Talking About Their Periods
Out of all the bodily functions that people are most comfortable with discussing, periods fall pretty low on the list. Though most women are open to discussing menstruation openly with other women, the ways in which they refer to this blessed monthly event are still cutesy and euphemistic at best. Clue, an app designed by Ida Tin, purports to strip both the weird shame and the mystery away from something that almost every woman goes through monthly.
In a study conducted by the app and the International Women’s Health Coalition, it turns out women all over the world are less than willing to refer to their periods as just that — a period. The Washington Post reports:
In the U.S., women commonly refer to it as a visit from Aunt Flo, that time of the month, their monthly friend, or, as coined by Cher in “Clueless,” riding the Crimson wave. The Swedish may say, “Lingonveckan,” which means “lingonberry week” and the German say “Erdbeerwoche,” which means “strawberry week.” Some French say, “Les Anglais ont debarqué,” which means “the English have landed” – an ode to the bloody battles of yore.
We are making tiny strides in so many other fields, but overall, women are still embarrassed to talk to men and male family members about something that is a perfectly natural part of life. Clue, on some level, wants to make it so that women understand exactly what’s going on when they’re having their periods, so they can better advocate for themselves and their reproductive health.
“For you to understand your body and take care of your body you have to first not be ashamed of this part of your life,” Ida Tin, Clue founder, said. “Without cycles there would be no humans on this planet, it’s that fundamental.”
Sex education covers the menstrual cycle in a way that’s so confusing and obtuse that it’s almost impossible to really absorb and understand what’s happening or about to happen to your body. My sex ed class consisted of a nervous gym teacher pointing at a large-scale drawing of the female reproductive system, muttering something about eggs, and then sending us all out to lunch clutching bags of deodorant and maxi pads. Any education beyond that was completely elective. When we live in a society that still stigmatizes periods, women suffer.
Tin’s goal is not for women to use Clue as a contraceptive (though you can log ovulation, sexual activity and basal body temperature), but merely as a tool of empowerment and agency over their own bodies and their understanding of how it works. And, when bloviating, sentient Clementine oranges like Donald Trump are excoriating women for “bleeding out of their whatevers” AND said Clementine could maybe be President? Understanding your body and empowering yourself to speak up for your needs are more important than ever.