Aunt Flo. Lady Time. Crimson Tide.
That last one is a football team, but the other two are euphemisms for PERIODS! Menstruation! And this week, a lot of blood was shed over the way we talk about periods.
Help us evolve language around gender and menstrual health.
— Clue (@clue) July 11, 2017
Clue, my go-to favorite period tracking app, asked Twitter for help to make the language they use more inclusive….then they immediately tweeted a Medium piece explaining why they don’t want to actually do that. Lip service, sure. Follow through? Nah. Bad, Clue, bad! tl;dr: “We wanted to pick language that wouldn’t offend some, but all the other stuff we came up with was also offensive, we thought, so we picked the phrase with the most potential to cause offense because GO BIG or GO HOME.”
Many people were angry on both sides of the issue. There were those who, like me, were frustrated by the promise of inclusivity immediately being shut down by the glibness of “Oh, we’re not actually going to do that.” And then…. there were the people who were angered by the mere notion of inclusivity surrounding periods.
Mad! About inclusivity! Imagine that!
The argument is, or seems to be, that it would be scientifically unsound to refer to periods in anything other than highly feminized and gendered language. YOU CAN’T “RIDE THE CRIMSON WAVE,” BECKY! YOU’RE ON YOU PRETTY PRETTY PINK #GIRLBOSS LADY WOMAN WHAT-DISNEY-PRINCESS-IS-YOUR-PERIOD!
This all comes down to words on the Internet. And if you believe, in your heart of hearts, that the words we use on the Internet to refer to menstruation must only be FOR! WOMEN!, then I doubt my stupid words on the Internet are going to convince you otherwise. You can call your period anything you want. You probably do, in your own head. You can euphemistically refer to your entire reproductive system using only names of candies that 90’s kids will remember. “Well I used a Fruit Roll-Up the last time I had a Fun Dip, so no Baby Bottle Pop for me, this is Gushers week!”
I mean, where’s the lie?
You don’t have to use gendered language to be scientifically accurate when referring to menstruation.
Call it a “period.”
Call it “menses.”
Call it “Reproductive Health!” “Vaginal Health!”
I mean, where’s the lie?
But because I’m an asshole…
I just have to point out…
that you probably already use non-gendered language to refer to your menstrual flow.
Or perhaps you’re not tuned in to….
Well, I got news for you. I am a Shark Exclusionary Radical Feminist, and I am *personally offended* that you would include sharks in discussions of menstrual flow. I mean, IT’S SIMPLE BIOLOGY. Humans and sharks have undeniable PHYSIOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES, and that’s a scientific fact! Furthermore, I am not a shark, and I don’t have any friends who are sharks, and I’ve only ever seen sharks on TV, so I don’t even think they really exist. Sharks betta stay OUT of my lady-business, OR ELSE!
As for the narrow-mindedness around the language we use to talk about our bodies…
We’re going to need a bigger (more inclusive) boat.