Menstruation by any other name: The more than 5000 ways we say ‘period’

Shark Week. Usenyangeni. Taking time off. People who menstruate — and those who don’t — have come up with a plethora of ways to, well, say someone’s on their period.

More than 5 000 euphemisms exist for menstruation in 190 different countries, period app  Clue found in a 2015 survey. As part of the study, the period-tracking programme asked app users a series of questions about how open they felt about discussing menstruation. About 90 000 people responded to the survey. 

#PeriodTalk.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Roxy de Villiers
Roxy de Villiers was the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism social media content producer and engagement officer. She believes the personal is political and has an interest in reporting on queer health issues. She honed her skills in community media and has also worked with the Rosebank-based community radio station, Radio Today, as a guest newsreader.

Related stories

#FreeToBleed: ‘A pool of blood gushed down my thighs. My white socks were red.’

Shame doesn't start when menstruation begins. It is built in slow steps.

Why linking pads to sex may speak volumes about how we stigmatise menstruation

Anna Dahlqvist reflects on a short history of a messy 'problem', or how the world taught you to fear your period.

[LISTEN] Clueless about your period? There are consequences

It may come round every month, but a lot of us still don't know how our menstrual cycle works, says reproductive health doctor, Tlaleng Mofokeng.

What do your period and bananas have in common? Find out

In Rwanda, schoolgirls can now buy locally produced, cheaper sanitary towels

Why you shouldn’t be ashamed of your period

When we are socialised to believe something as natural as menstruation is dirty, those who bleed may feel embarrassed about their period.

Coded language contributes to culture of shame about menstruating

Although coded language might make it easier for people to talk about menstruation, it may also reinforce the stigma attached to a natural process.
Advertising

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Sudan’s government gambles over fuel-subsidy cuts — and people pay...

Economists question the manner in which the transitional government partially cut fuel subsidies

Traditional healers need new spaces

Proper facilities supported by well-researched cultural principles will go a long way to improving the image and perception of the practice of traditional medicine

Limpopo big-game farmer accused of constant harassment

A family’s struggle against alleged intimidation and failure to act by the authorities mirrors the daily challenges farm dwellers face

Did Botswana execute ‘poachers’ ?

The Botswana Defence Force’s anti-poaching unit has long been accused of a ‘shoot to kill’ policy. Over 20 years the unit has killed 30 Namibians and 22 Zimbabweans
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…