The SheHawk: It’s just a period, now say it


Genevieve Guenther

Veronica Wernicke, Assistant Opinion Editor

Editor’s Note: Veronica Wernicke is a freshman at UNCW majoring in Communication Studies and is the Assistant Opinion Editor for The Seahawk. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Veronica Wernicke may be found on Twitter @itsveronica98. All suggestions and inquiries may be sent via email to [email protected].

Do you find yourself cringing at disgusting or crude words? Are you unable to let such words slip from your mouth because doing otherwise would cause distress to yourself and others? 

It is 2018 and there are still people who cannot or do not want to utter the words period or menstruation or any words dealing with the “time of the month” for that matter. Now why is that? Are they afraid if they say it something bad will happen? Maybe these people think saying words associated with periods are equivalent to saying Voldemort.  

Either way it is annoying and irritating. It was may be understandable in middle school because it was the new and awkward conversation, but it should not be a new and awkward conversation post high school years.  

So, if someone mentions pads or tampons to you please do not respond with “oh your women things.” If they do, you have my permission to stop talking to them. 

If anything, it is actually quite comical that people will not say these simple words. We hear many more toxic and uncomfortable words than tampon. If the middle school version of you can play the “penis game” I think you can say the words menstruation or period.  

It is not just annoying that people will not say these words, but instead it comes off as insensitive. Some women already feel awful when they are on their periods. For God sake we discreetly hide our feminine products and take birth control to relieve symptoms — do not get me started on the tampon and pad tax. Trust me we do not need some immature person to make us feel alien.  

We are not exotic creatures and having a period is not out of this world. If you actually think about it, there are over seven billion people on the Earth and of those seven billion roughly more than half experience a period. That is a good chunk of the population, but alas period is still too much of a taboo word for people.  

If we want to better ourselves, reduce stereotypes, reduce insecurities associated with female menstruation then we need to human up — equality people — and say words like period, menstruation, pad, tampon and so forth.  

This is just one tier off of the fearful conversations and stigma relating to periods. Female menstruation is a part of human nature and we still cannot comfortably speak and act on it. Why can we not talk as casually about periods as do we our sex lives?  

I have overheard my fair share of “sex talk” on campus yet women still hide their pads and tampons. Women still get called out that if they are upset that it “must be the time of the month”.  But, real “period talk” still falls short of appropriate conversations because we are all too comfortable with not talking about it.  

According to a Newsweek article, back in 2012 the company THINX — a company that specializes in period-proof underwear — could not get their ads to run on morning TV because “the original THINX ads were rejected as offensive…because people don’t want to hear the word “period” over the airwaves.” Not only was the company rejected from morning TV, but initially also subway walls.  

Now how ridiculous does that sound? Utterly ridiculous. I see ads for condoms, Viagra and even Victoria Secret bras all the time, so why is the that people do not want to hear the word period?  

If you look up the ad, it simply depicts a blood red orange on one side and then a woman in a tank top and underwear under the words “underwear for women with periods” on the other. Please tell me how “offensive” or “inappropriate” that ad is. How is seeing a half-naked woman more appropriate than an ad talking about feminine products? Victoria Secret bra and underwear ads are just sexier than a period ad and they appeal to the times of our casual sex talk.  

I hope that one day someone can fully enlighten me on why there is still stigma towards periods and why people are still afraid to even say the word.   

I know there are plenty of people out there who are not afraid to say period associated words and to them I say, thank you. We champion you. I look forward to the days where women do not have to shove a pad or tampon up their sleeve as they rush to the bathroom. I look forward to the days when we can hear people nonchalantly talk about periods. You do not have to shout these words, but you cannot utter them.