Despite the fact that half of the 7.5 billion people who inhabit this planet are female and spend a good portion of their lives menstruating, “period shaming” is an actual and totally absurd thing. To kick off Women’s History Month with a bang, Janelle Monae took to Twitter to point out how bloody ridiculous it is to make a woman feel ashamed for a common, natural and totally healthy monthly occurrence, opening up a much overdue dialogue about women’s health issues.
“Menstrual Period Blood. #WomensHistoryMonth,” she started out on Twitter. “It’s sad that there are prob folks more grossed out by and/or ashamed of menstrual period blood than they are the current administration. Never forget girls & women birthed the human race and hold the power to unbirth it. Y’all gone learn.”
After one of her followers negatively responded to her posts, using the word “gross” to describe blood (which Janelle pointed out is synonymous to “unpleasant, repulsive, disgusting”), the singer and actress schooled her fans about how period shaming works.
“[Period blood] is a byproduct of the period (a natural and biological change that occurs in the female). When a person uses language like ‘gross,’ this causes the person on the receiving end to feel ashamed, embarrassed, humiliated, etc.,” she stated.
She also bluntly stated a birds-and-bees fact: “You wouldn’t be here w/out sumbodies bodily fluids. respect & celebrate everything that got yo ass here.”
The “Hidden Figures” star ended up sparking an important conversation on Twitter as well as in the international media, bringing attention to a taboo topic. While many women feel open talking women’s health topics related to weight loss, diet, fitness, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum depression and cancer, it’s not so often they dish about “that time of the month” on a public level. Even though the symptoms related to periods can be debilitating, resulting in women having to call in sick to school or work, they are discouraged from “playing the period card” and often feel ashamed to be honest.
Just by opening up the dialogue, Monae is doing her part to normalize an integral part of every woman’s health — reminding us to be proud of the monthly shedding of our uterine lining. Other celebrities have also spoken out on the issue, including M.I.A. drummer Kiran Gandhi, who ran the London Marathon in 2015 without a tampon, bleeding during the race, to raise awareness around women’s access to menstrual products in developing countries.
Coincidentally — or maybe not so much — the official color of International Women’s Day is red, so there is no better day to spread Monae’s message than today.