Menstruation isn’t a common topic of conversation. For years, women felt they had to be silent when it came to their periods because they were taught it was gross or something to be dreaded. And unfortunately, many still do. However, a handful of celebrities are paving the way to a shame-free society by honestly and (sometimes) proudly talking about their monthly cycle.
Several female public figures are teaching women and girls that there’s nothing wrong with complaining about cramps, asking for a tampon at full volume, openly celebrating the fact that you finally got your period, comparing notes with friends, or educating others as to how the female body works. Everyone from Mindy Kaling and Amy Schumer to Gigi Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski have gotten real about their periods, sending the message that no period topic is off the table.
Here are some of the best quotes from famous women being blunt about bleeding.
Gina Rodriguez opened up to Yahoo Lifestyle about going through puberty. She was a late bloomer and the butt of jokes at school because of it. “I looked for it always,” she says about her period. Then, when she was 15, she thought the day had finally come. “I was on a horse and I bled a little bit. And I was like, ‘I got it!’ And my mom was like, ‘No you didn’t. You just bled.’ … It busted my hymen probably…But I thought it was my period, and I was like the happiest person alive. I’m finally a part of it! Nope, you’re not. Just wait forever, Gina.” When she finally did get her period, her mom wasn’t home. “I had to tell my father, ‘Hey, I got my period’ and that I needed things, and he was like, ‘So what do we get you?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know! What do we get me?!’”
There’s nothing like a game of dress-up to get girls talking about their periods. Kendall Jenner shared a video on Instagram in 2016 of her and fellow model Gigi Hadid goofing around while trying on different outfits. “Should I put things in my boobs?” Jenner asked Hadid in the video. “Because you don’t need them and I do, and I need to keep up with you.” Hadid clarified that the size of her breasts depends on the time of the month. ”My boobs are small right now. They get really big when it’s, like, that time of the month.”
Lena Dunham has always been very vocal about her struggle with menstruation and endometriosis. “My period — the pain, the volatility, the feeling of utter despair — was taking my family hostage,” she wrote of going through puberty in her book, Not That Kind of Girl. “And if my father asked whether I was possibly menstruating I screamed in his face so loud his glasses shook.” Dunham revealed that while birth control helped regulate her cycle, “nothing can help the mood that still descends a few days before my period begins, like a black cloud rolling in.” She explained, “I am uncharacteristically dark and nihilistic.”
Chrissy Teigen frequently tweets about her period. She once revealed, “haaaaa i just realized i got my period dates mixed up and i’m not pms’ing i just love pizza and ranch and being a bitch.” Another time she asked on Twitter, “How long before your period do you get to start blaming your period for things? I say 6 days is reasonable, 10 is a ballsy stretch.”
Sarah Silverman was once so inspired by her period, she wrote a haiku about it on Twitter. And, while short, it revealed a lot about her cycle. “Crime scene in ur pants. Ain’t no man could handle that. Maybe a Marine.”
In an interview with Marie Claire, Miley Cyrus revealed that she got her first period on the set of Hannah Montana. And she happened to be wearing white pants. “It was so embarrassing, but I couldn’t leave,” she recalled. “And I was crying, begging my mom, ‘You’re going to have to put the tampon in. I have to be on set.’”
During a visit to Conan, Mindy Kaling expressed her frustration with the imagery on tampon packaging. “For any woman who actually does menstruate, you would never wear that outfit,” she said of the woman in a dress, pearls, and heels on the Playtex box. “You’d be in like, big sweat pants, or at least that’s me.”
“There’s a sort of shaming that starts when we hit puberty,” model Emily Ratajkowski said in video series, “Let’s Talk About it. Period.” “Instead of an amazing right of passage, it can feel like embarrassment, which is really awful.” The model recalled one moment from middle school that left an emotional scar. “We took a field trip to Washington, D.C. … and there’s the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and it’s a ceremony once a day, you bring flowers to the tomb and I was chosen … to bring the flowers up,” she recalled. “So I put on a really nice skirt and heels … and you walk, not only in front of my own class, but in front of all these seventh-graders from around the country, and I had a giant red spot on my back.” These days, her period isn’t that bad, but Ratajkowski does get really exhausted. “I don’t have cramps, I don’t bloat, but I’m just so tired,” she said. “[Periods represent] the cycle of life, that’s amazing. I think the power that you have when you get your period and you know that you have the ability to create another person, that’s amazing.”
Padma Lakshmi opened up about her struggle with endometriosis in an interview with Lenny Letter. “Endometriosis develops part and parcel with your womanhood,” she said, referencing puberty and menstruation. “We’re always talking about, ‘Oh, she’s blossoming into a woman.’ I didn’t feel like I was blossoming. I felt like there were these explosions in my abdomen. Puberty, my period, it didn’t feel like this wonderful new time in my life — it wasn’t like all those tampon commercials make it out to be, like, ‘Oh, your period can be fun! Ride a horse and go to ballet, take that extreme Pilates or yoga class!’ I was lucky if I could even walk down the street on my own two feet. So, from the start, it mangled my relationship with my body.”
While listing for Giuliana Rancic what she was wearing at the 2016 Emmys, Amy Schumer also included her O.B. tampon. The comedian, who’s currently pregnant with her first child with husband Chris Fischer, covered the May 2017 issue of InStyle, and in her interview, gushed about her then boyfriend Ben Hanisch. However, she revealed that sometimes, she needed her space. “Right now I’m getting my period, and I just don’t like him, you know? My PMS is no joke,” she said. “And it’s directed only toward him, but instead of being in denial about that, we try to work with it. [Laughs] Tonight’s vibe is, ‘I don’t want you to even look at me or talk to me,’ and he will put on his headphones, do work on his computer, and I’m just in the room. He’s understanding. He’s too good about it. It actually annoys me.”
Jennifer Lawrence once revealed that, just like everyone, her period dictates her wardrobe. Of the red dress she wore to the 2016 Golden Globes, she told Harper’s Bazaar, “That was my plan B dress. … Plan A was a dress that I couldn’t wear because awards season is synced with my menstrual cycle, and it has been for years.” She went with a crimson Dior gown because “it was loose at the front. And I didn’t have to worry about sucking anything in. The other dress was really tight, and I’m not going to suck in my uterus. I don’t have to do that.”
When paparazzi captured the actress crying over the summer, Sophie Turner used it to prove her relatability. “Periods are a bitch,” she tweeted. A follower responded, “Are you telling [us] that you start crying till your face is burnin’ red bc you have ur period? Even when you know paparazzis are behind you? Next joke, please.” Turner shot back, “Girl … you’ve never had cramps?”
In her 1998 Rolling Stone interview, Kate Winslet opened up about being on her period while filming Titanic. “There were days when you’d just think, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve got my period and I can’t get in that freezing-cold water today,’” she said. “I remember standing up and saying to everyone, ‘Listen, if it suddenly looks like Jaws, the movie, it’s my fault.’”
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