36 superstitions about periods from around the world
Can’t touch plants on your period? Or bake bread? We asked thousands of people in the Clue community from around the world about the myths they’d been told about menstruation. Some of the responses were myths we’d heard before, but many were brand new to us.
A lot of these superstitions are behavioral restrictions that, aside from being untrue, contribute to gender-based taboos and discrimination.
These myths also make it harder for women to talk about their period — which leads to silence, shame, and misconception.
Here’s just a selection of the global myths related to menstruation:
While on you’re period…
- You’re clumsy.
- Tampons will break your hymen and make you impure.
- Can’t take a bath.
- Everybody gets PMS and it always manifests as crankiness/irritability.
- Don’t go camping because the bears can smell it from far away.
- Don’t perm your hair until after you’ve had your first period.
- If you touch any vegetable before or during the pickling process they would not pickle and would go bad.
8. You can’t be in homes or have contact with anybody.
9. You get slapped on the face when you get your first period so you have “beautiful” red cheeks all your life.
10. If you shower with hot water while on your period you will have a heavy flow.
11. You can’t drink cold beverages because they will give you cramps.
12. Don’t wash or cut your hair.
13. Having sex can kill your partner.
14. You can’t touch flowers because they’ll die quicker.
15. You need to wash your pads before throwing them out. Otherwise ghosts will come and haunt you.
16. You can’t enter a kitchen or cook food for anyone else.
17. You can’t enter a place of worship.
18. You can only enter a place of prayer once you’ve washed your hair on or after the fourth day.
19. You must wash your hair on the first day of your period to clean yourself completely.
Butttttt on the contrary…
20. If you wash your hair, your flow will be less and it will affect your fertility later in life.
21. You should avoid dancing to very active rhythms in order to take care of your uterus.
22. Don’t paint your nails, wash your hair, or drink lemonade.
23. You can’t wash your hair.
24. You can’t walk barefoot (you might get cramps).
25. You can’t make whipped cream, it will curdle.
26. If you take a bath, your bleeding will stop and stopping bleeding is bad for your health.
27. When you get your first period you need to wash your face with the first menstrual blood to have clear skin.
28. Dough won’t rise.
29. You can’t touch plants.
30. Everything you cook will be a disaster.
31. You can’t go to the beach or pool (no contact with water basically).
32. You can’t make mayonnaise, it will curdle.
33. You can’t make sushi because you have an imbalance in taste.
34. You must blow dry your hair after a shower.
35. Avoid shaving your bikini line as the skin will get darker.
36. You can’t cradle babies or you’ll cause them to get sick.
Help us banish these myths and spread accurate menstrual health information. Follow our #justsayperiod campaign across social media and our blog. And! If you happen to be in Berlin, check out the Rosenthaler Platz uBahn station. We covered the station with euphemisms for “period” and are asking the world to start speaking openly about periods, without shame.