Menstrual Euphemisms… Just Say “Period”
Real painter-decorator, shark scientist, an aunt named Flo and a strawberry farmer are just some of the ‘human period euphemisms’ joining forces to end harmful menstrual slang
- Globally there are over 5,000 period euphemisms including ‘got the painters in’, ‘Aunt Flo is in town’, ‘shark week’ and ‘surfing the crimson wave’
- But period euphemisms are offensive, problematic and contribute to the ongoing stigma around menstruation1
- Now, enabled by intimate wellbeing brand, INTIMINA, a very unlikely group of people have come together across the planet to urge people to just say period… and they are all ‘human period euphemisms’
- The collection of ‘human period euphemisms’ includes a real painter-decorator, shark experts, an aunt named Flo, a surfer, a naval military historian, a lingonberry jam maker and a strawberry farmer
- The collective of walking, talking menstrual slang terms star in a striking short film, saying the euphemism they represent before calling for change. View the film here.
What do a painter-decorator, a strawberry farmer, a shark scientist, an aunt named Flo, a lingonberry jam producer, a surfer and a military historian have in common? They’re all ‘human period euphemisms’. And now, in partnership with INTIMINA, this unlikely group of embodied menstrual slang have come together across the world to call for an end to harmful period euphemisms.
While they may seem harmless, using euphemisms to describe menstruation discourages open conversation and perpetuates the stigma and taboo surrounding periods. Many of the euphemisms used around the world have negative connotations that associate menstruation with shame, leaving generations of women feeling like they need to hide their periods and avoid discussing their menstrual health.
As part of its ongoing mission to normalise periods, wellbeing brand INTIMINA felt that the best people to fight period euphemisms were period euphemisms. That’s right, a collection of real people that embody menstrual euphemisms are the faces of a global movement urging everyone to call periods, periods.
The unusual ensemble of embodied euphemisms, and the slang they symbolise, are as follows (full biographies in the notes to editors):
- Justin Bowen, a British painter-decorator, is “Got the painters in” (popular in the UK)
- Florence Deniau, an American aunt, is “Aunt Flo is in town” euphemism (popular in the USA)
- Liv Palmblad, a Swedish lingonberry jam producer, is “Lingonberry week” (popular in Sweden)
- Nate Sutton, an Australian surfer, is “Surfing the crimson wave” (popular in English-speaking countries)
- Iris Pupella-Noguès a French historian, is “The English have landed” euphemism (popular in France and a reference to the Battle of Waterloo and the colour of British military uniforms)
- Sophumelela Qoma and Nico Booyens, South African shark scientists, are “Shark week” (popular in English-speaking countries)
- Alessandro Sesini, an Italian collector with a passion for fine wines, is “I have my things” (popular in Italy)
- Phil Boddington, a strawberry farmer, is “Strawberry week” (popular in Germany)
This global group have starred in a striking short film seen here, where each human period euphemism can be seen engaging in an activity related to the euphemism they represent, before saying the slang in their language. The film ends with a powerful call to arms, as INTIMINA’s cast urges all other human period euphemisms as well as the entire global population to call time on damaging slang terms and instead call a period a period.
Human period euphemism Justin Bowen, a painter-decorator at Justincredible Plastering, comments: ‘In my industry, people don’t talk about periods. It wasn’t until my partner passed away and I was left caring for a young daughter that I realised the importance of open conversation around menstruation. Now, as a husband and father, I feel a responsibility to help break down the stigma. I’m proud to be a part of this campaign for INTIMINA – it’s a cause close to my heart. I’m a period man now!’
Dunja Kokotović, INTIMINA Global Brand Manager, comments: “Periods are normal, but with over 5,000 euphemisms used around the world, we still have a long way to go when it comes to normalising open conversation about menstruation. INTIMINA has created Just Say Period to shine a light on this issue and make steps towards eradicating the stigma by stimulating open dialogue about menstruation.”
Gynaecologist for INTIMINA, Dr Unsworth, comments: ‘I am delighted that INTIMINA is taking a stance on such an important topic. Using euphemisms to describe periods perpetuates the longstanding stigma around menstruation, and many euphemisms have very negative connotations stemming from patriarchal ideology that associates menstruation with shame. Continued use of such euphemisms results in new generations of women feeling unable to talk openly about their periods, which can often cause delays in them seeking help when they are having difficulties. There should be no shame in using the term ‘menstruation’ or ‘period’, as over 50% of the population will experience them, and the remaining 50% would not be here without them!”
INTIMINA has created Just Say Period as part of its ongoing Seen + Heard period positivity campaign. Seen + Heard aims to increase the visibility of menstrual wellbeing across the world, normalise conversations about menstrual health, tackle stigma and bias and raise awareness of intimate health conditions.
A collective group of “lady experts” at Intimina who love sharing our personal experiences, even when they are a little too personal. We believe it’s time to start breaking down the taboos around menstruation, motherhood, and menopause, and start owning our female health.