The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Periods
& Menstrual Cycles

We are so attuned to rhythms, to night and day, to fall, winter, spring and summer, year in and year out; to childhood, maturity, and old age; to the very beat of our hearts. Women, in particular, feel the ebb and flow of vigor every month of their reproductive years. ~The Woman CPA, 1981

There were seeds
within her
that burst at intervals...
~May Sarton, "‘She Shall Be Called Woman,’" Encounter in April, 1937

"Premenstrual Syndrome: Just before their periods women behave the way men do all the time." LOWELL STONE, M.D. 2144–  ~Robert A. Heinlein, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls: A Comedy of Manners, 1985

What would happen, for instance, if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not? The answer is clear — menstruation would become an enviable, boast-worthy, masculine event: Men would brag about how long and how much. Boys would mark the onset of menses, that longed-for proof of manhood, with religious ritual and stag parties... Street guys would brag ("I'm a three-pad man") or answer praise from a buddy ("Man, you lookin' good!") by giving fives and saying, "Yeah, man, I'm on the rag!" ~Gloria Steinem, "If Men Could Menstruate — A Political Fantasy," in Ms., 1978

What is Menstruation? A sero-sanguinolent secretion propelled by an ovarian influence from all or different parts of the generative intestine, and principally from the womb. ~Edward John Tilt, M.D., On Diseases of Menstruation and Ovarian Inflammation, 1851

Every healthy woman menstruates: Monthly bleeding is truly one of the body's vital signs — that you are functioning normally and in good condition. In fact, it can be a very revealing barometer of health, as telling an index as your blood pressure or resting heart rate... Menstruation signals neither disadvantage nor disability: It is simply silly to describe it in coy, sugar-coated language or disparaging terms. ~Patricia Allen, M.D. and Denise Fortino, "Tracing the Menstrual Cycle," Cycles: Every Woman's Guide to Menstruation, 1983

Did you know that since the beginning of civilization, many cultures around the world have celebrated a young woman's first moon with dancing, gifts, and festivities?... I have come to believe that celebrating your changing body and celebrating yourself are key to happiness, fun, and creativity in life. Celebrating with friends and family and sharing stories and traditions are part of what makes being a girl and becoming a woman so rich, full, and magical. ~Maureen Theresa Smith, First Moon: Celebration & Support for a Girl's Growing-Up Journey, 2005

In man, the shedding of blood is always associated with injury, disease, or death. Only the female half of humanity was seen to have the magical ability to bleed profusely and still rise phoenix-like each month from the gore. ~Estelle R. Ramey, "Men's Cycles (They Have Them Too, You Know)," in Ms., 1972

      In... twentieth-century America, women continue to suffer the taboos of centuries. Law, medicine, religion, and psychology have isolated and devalued the menstruating woman. Women who experience debilitating mental or physical pain at menstruation... are made the prototype for all; and in the face of statistics to the contrary, women are still considered unreliable workers and unstable human beings at that time of the month. Thus, menstruation is a factor in the control of women by men not only in ancient and primitive societies, where knowledge of physiology is rudimentary at best, but also in our post-industrial world. Women are physically and emotionally handicapped by menstruation, goes the argument, and therefore cannot and may not compete with men...
      To be sure, things are changing. There's a new freedom in the air, on the television screen, in the courts. Women writers and artists are bringing menstruation itself out of the water closet and using it as an emblem of celebration, not shame... The long silence has been broken. ~Janice Delaney, Mary Jane Lupton, and Emily Toth, The Curse: A Cultural History of Menstruation, 1976

Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. Gretchen, my friend, got her period. I'm so jealous God. I hate myself for being so jealous, but I am. I wish you'd help me just a little... Oh please God. I just want to be normal. ~Judy Blume, Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret., 1970

Now the cycle of the moon is reflected in your body, connecting you to the greater cycles of life, welcoming you into your fullness as a woman. ~Maureen Theresa Smith, "Connecting to Nature," First Moon: Celebration & Support for a Girl's Growing-Up Journey, 2005

A creature ruled by the lunar cycle in charge of a business? Absurd! Have you gone insane? ~Making History, "Night Cream," 2017, written by Alison Agosti [S1, E7, John Hancock]

It seems that many Respectable Ladies are discommoded by the Menstrual Habit. Is this Inelegant Manifestation a Necessary Part of Life's Purpose? ~Gerard Macdonald, Once a Week is Ample: Being Quotations Compiled from the Most Respected Sources of Advice to the Male and Female, Written with Delicacy and Refinement, 1981

Esquirol has seen many women remain maniacal so long as menstruation lasted, who immediately and spontaneously recovered after the ménopause. ~Edward John Tilt, The Change of Life in Health and Disease, 1870

I don't think we're helped either by the fact that our society is not geared to assisting men or women through any of the physical crises many face in the course of their lives. In fact, as women we are supposed to ignore the sexual rhythm of our lives altogether. We have our first period in secret and usually keep quiet about it, almost as though it were something to be ashamed of. If we suffer from period pain we keep that hidden too. It's still uncommon to read a novel or watch a play where the heroine admits to having a period, leave alone a painful one. Torrid love scenes are two-a-penny nowadays, but menstruation is still virtually taboo. ~Beryl Kingston, Lifting the Curse: Self help for aches, pains, cramps and other monthly miseries, 1980

Menstruation is a pain in the vagina. ~S. B. P., quoted in Paula Weideger, Menstruation and Menopause: The Physiology and Psychology, the Myth and the Reality, 1977

The trouble is that, as everyone knows, periods hurt, or are in other ways unpleasant. Even with nothing organically wrong, nearly every woman experiences some degree of discomfort. Many women are totally incapacitated by this natural function. Moreover, during her period and shortly before it, a woman is apt to be treated by her family or intimates as, at the very least, a primed bomb, a kind of explosive package. In many cultures the woman is excluded from normal society. She is treated as a walking sickness that turns the milk sour and men's bones to jelly, she has the evil eye, she is a plague. It is a menstrual epidemic. ~Penelope Shuttle and Peter Redgrove, The Wise Wound: Myths, Realities, and Meanings of Menstruation, 1986

Every month for women is a new defeat of the will... I will argue that it is not menstrual blood per se which disturbs the imagination — unstanchable as that red flood may be — but rather the albumen in the blood, the uterine shreds, placental jellyfish of the female sea. This is the chthonian matrix from which we rose. We have an evolutionary revulsion from slime, our site of biologic origins. Every month, it is woman's fate to face the abyss of time and being, the abyss which is herself. ~Camille Paglia, "Sex and Violence, or Nature and Art," Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, 1990

Spasmodic or congestive dysmenorrhoea:  I prefer to call them 'the cramps' and 'the aching miseries.' They're horrible whatever you call them... One of the real miseries of period pain is that you know you're going to have to endure it every month — month after month after month. ~Beryl Kingston, Lifting the Curse: Self help for aches, pains, cramps and other monthly miseries, 1980

The womb is not a clock
nor a bell tolling,
but in the eleventh month of its life
I feel the November
of the body as well as of the calendar.
In two days it will be my birthday
and as always the earth is done with its harvest...
~Anne Sexton, "Menstruation at Forty" Live or Die, 1966

menstruation  The weeping of a disappointed uterus. ~Anonymous doctor, as quoted in Leonard Louis Levinson, Webster's Unafraid Dictionary, 1967

Death.  Unable to make babies, they make bombs instead. Men menstruate by shedding other people's blood. ~Lucy Ellmann, "How Everything Wrong with the World is Men's Fault," Man or Mango?, 1998

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published 2007 Mar 15
revised Aug 2016, Jun 2021
last saved 2024 Apr 21