Love them or hate them, half the world gets a period once a month, yet only one in four women can explain their menstrual cycle and how it works. Most women complain about their “time of the month” as they experience the uncomfortable side effects of menstruation such as cramps, bloating, and acne. A recent article got a lot of attention when a London professor, John Guillebaud, claimed period pain can be “almost as a bad as a heart attack” causing many women to roll their eyes at the obvious. Here are some famous quotes by famous people normalizing periods, pain, and “painting the town red”!
1. “Women complain about premenstrual syndrome, but I think of it as the only time of the month that I can be myself.” Roseanne Barr has not spoken truer words as PMS is known to cause changes in mood, bloating, and cravings for all things salty and sweet.
2. “I have periods now, like normal girls; I too am among the knowing, I too can sit out volleyball games and go to the nurse’s for aspirin and waddle along the halls with a pad like a flattened rabbit tail wadded between my legs, sopping with liver-colored blood.” This quote, from feminist Margaret Atwood, acknowledges how much periods have changed throughout the years, as well as how little. Atwood normalizes the experience for first-time menstruators as they wear pads for the first time and experience the bulkiness of a product made for adults but squeezed between the legs of tweens.
3. “She remembered looking at the box of Stayfree pads and thinking that the box looked almost smug, seemed almost to be saying: Hello Patty! We are your children. We are the only children you will ever have, and we are hungry. Nurse us. Nurse us on blood.” Author of the book, IT, Stephen King hones in on the dark side of periods and how menstruation taunts women only the way white pants on the first day of your cycle can.
4. “Precisely what menstruation is, is not yet very well known.” These words, spoken by teacher G. Stanley Hall, can only be from the mouth of someone who has never menstruated.
5. “Over half the world menstruates at one time or another, but you’d never know it. Isn’t that strange?” Could comedian Margaret Cho have spoken truer words? The stigma surrounding periods stems from sexism and misogyny. Discussing periods has been a taboo topic but many women are breaking their silence and normalizing the conversation.
6. “Plan A was a dress that I couldn’t wear because awards season is synced with my menstrual cycle, and it has been for years.” Actress Jennifer Lawrence says her period is synched with awards season, but astronomers will note it is more likely synched with the lunar cycle. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days, and it is no coincidence the moon circles the earth 28 days as well.
7. “Ur gonna make me cry, maybe that’s my period tho,” she wrote. “THAT’S RIGHT I’M BLEEDING.” Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) affects women and it seems singer and performer Katy Perry is no stranger to this reality. As many as three in four women experience PMS at least once in their lifetime.
8. “I’m the first girl to say the word ‘period’ on television.” The word was unspoken until 1985, when actress Courtney Cox appeared in a Tampax commercial. You can still view the original commercial on YouTube.
9. “I started menstruating in ninth grade. I spent all of eighth grade faking that I had my period, down to sticking Kotex in my underwear in case anyone needed proof.” While having a period is its own source of stress, many young girls feel out of the loop if they are considered “late bloomers” like actress and comedian Mindy Kaling. Most girls start their periods between ages 10-15, with the average age being 12 years old.
10. “What would happen, for instance, if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not? The answer is clear — menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event: Men would brag about how long and how much.” Perhaps one of the most infamous quotes, and best asked questions, comes from feminist and author Gloria Steinem. Perhaps, if (cis)men did menstruate, the tampon tax would be eliminated.