Monthly gift, time of the month, Aunt Flow, Shark Week, Crimson Tide, the visitor — today, we're talking about periods. And if your reaction was "eww," that's exactly why we're doing this. Talking openly about menstruation is still taboo, and we think that's a problem. So we asked the Newsy staff to have a really open conversation about bloody, crampy, frustrating, perfectly natural periods.
STEPHANIE LIEBERGEN: It's a fact of life. Everybody poops, everybody pees, and women get periods. That's just the way the human body works.
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KRISTIN ROHLWING, READING A DEFINITION: "Taboo: a social or religious custom prohibiting or forbidding discussion of a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place or thing." Taboo is actually derived from the Polynesian word "tupua," which literally means menstruation.
EUGENE DANIELS: The first step to fixing a problem is to say that we have a problem, and we have a problem with talking about periods.
SABRINA RUSSELLO: There's a societal standard of women needing to be very ladylike and classy and almost tight-lipped about their private matters, and that's kind of carried over to periods.
EMILY KAISER: It can make women afraid of their bodies, ashamed of their bodies or dislike something about their body that much more, and I think most people know it's already really hard to love yourself.
DANIELLE DIETERICH: It's a real problem that we don't talk about periods because it means that it's so much harder for girls to get help.
ROHLWING: There are so many women and girls around the world who don't have access to pads and tampons, and it actually gets in the way of their schooling.
SADÉ CARPENTER: Talking about it would probably lead to more access to things like tampons and pads and maybe situations in schools where tampons are free and not something you have to buy in the restroom and search for a quarter to find and worry about staining your pants because you don't have one.
RUSSELLO: It's 2016. We can all be mature. We don't have to talk about it all the time, but it shouldn't be faux pas.
CAITLIN BAKER: Without it, we wouldn't have kids today.
ROHLWING: That's pretty cool! I don't know why we act like it's something to be embarrassed about.