Still using a euphemism for menstruation? It’s time to #justsayperiod.

It’s 2017. But people all over the world still have a hard time talking about periods because of age-old taboos.

Last year we conducted a survey to see how many slang expressions people use around the world to say “period.” And over 90,000 respondents reported over 5,000 terms and phrases. We also asked how comfortable people are talking about periods with friends, family, and colleagues. The results: people are generally uncomfortable talking about periods, especially with men.

Why is it so hard to say “period”? Why is it even harder to talk about periods?

The menstrual cycle is a vital sign, which means it can be an indication of your overall health — similar to blood pressure or heart rate. This normal, healthy bodily function is experienced by nearly half of the world, but it’s surrounded by taboos for many cultural and social reasons.

Not only is this dangerous to women and people with cycles around the world who are ostracized during menstruation, but it also has limited female health research until very recently. Women have been left out of health studies because the menstrual cycle is considered an uncontrollable variable.

At Clue, we’re dedicated to pushing female health forward, so we wanted to take a stand against these international taboos. What better place to start than Berlin, an international hub and melting pot of people from over 185 countries? We covered the Rosenthaler Platz U-Bahn station with ads to open up the dialogue around periods.

If we can openly talk about these things, they won’t be such a big deal anymore. Words matter — they shape our feelings about our bodies and their place in the world. Think about young girls approaching menarche who don’t know what to do. Young women who need access to tampons in their workplaces. Parents who don’t know how to educate their children.

Over the next three weeks, we’ll continue to write and share about the history of how we talk about periods, so that we can bring menstruation out of the shadows.

Start thinking about the most ridiculous period euphemism you’ve heard. On Friday, September 8, we’ll ask everyone to take to Twitter and Instagram and post your most ridiculous period slang term. In the meantime, follow #justsayperiod.

We’re also releasing a limited-edition #justsayperiod tote to celebrate the movement to make periods a part of everyday conversation.

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