Don your most festive Diva Cups, ladies, because America is all about periods right now.
That's according to this Flavorwire piece, which suggests that last week's aggressive period-trolling on Reddit is actually unusual, and suddenly, menstrual talk has become weirdly normal. It's persuasive and supported by a whole raft of persuasive examples, like Tacocat's period anthem, Lily Allen's "Sheezus" period-referencing and BuzzFeed's How Metal Is Your Period quiz. And once you start thinking about it, there's more where that came from, like the sudden proliferation of period-panty brands and tech bros attempting to build tricked-out period apps.
"Free bleeding" hoaxes notwithstanding, we've obviously come a long way from the days of "out of sight, out of mind." Ditto the late 90s—I vividly remember reading a some teen magazine's list of stupid code names about visiting cousins and painters, as though menstruation were a John le Carré novel.
Admittedly, a lot of the examples of the mainstreaming of menstruation are very, very goofy, but as the Flavorwire piece points out, they're also blessedly casual:
Thankfully, it seems like we're entering into an era where talking about your period doesn't need to be a brag or a LOL, just a statement of fact. While I don't think I'll ever loudly and publicly congratulate my uterus for doing its job, I would never want to pretend that it doesn't exist. What I think — what I hope — this spate of "period pieces" indicates is a greater acceptance of women referencing their periods without feeling like they need to hide them or use a euphemism because someone can't stand to hear the word "period."
"Periods: Just as comfortable to discuss as farts!" would be a nice place to reach, culturally.
It's too early to get too excited. You'll still see periods treated as some sort of blood-soaked midnight sacrifice to Hecate. It still passes as "edgy" at American Apparel, and you're probably more likely to see fatheaded jokes about PMS on TV. That Kickstarter campaign for cartoonish period panties seemed less like an inside joke among the ladies than a dude's imagining of menstruation. Which reflects the simply reality that most men still wander around with very little clue about how the whole process works until they've lived with a long-term partner.
But progress is progress. Just last week, The Atlantic floated the idea of dedicated sick days especially for periods, which does exist in some countries. It seems wrongheaded to earmark days so specifically, but it would be nice to feel comfortable calling in sick with a case of killer cramps without feeling bad because you've got limited time off, or because nothing less than a fever of 103 counts. Dare to dream!
Photo via Shutterstock.