Even though half of the world's population will menstruate at some point in their lives, it's still generally considered impolite to talk about your time of the month in public. That's why Twitter users are chiming in with #TweetYourPeriod and #RedSummer to break down the stigma surrounding menstruation by live-tweeting what happens during their periods. The hashtags picked up steam after Twitter user Risa Pappas wrote a post on her blog calling for more open discussion about periods. "Why [do] commercials for period products feature blue water?" she writes. "I'll be 30-years-old on Thursday, and not once has blue water come out of me, no matter how many Blue Hawaiians I drink. The narrative of our menses is largely hushed out of popular cultural space." As a result, she tells Bustle, "There are young girls, even some adult women, who have questions they're afraid to ask." She's right; according to a 2012 United Nations study, one out of three girls in South Asia knew nothing about menstruation before getting her first period. And not getting enough education about periods can be harmful. Those who suffer from endometriosis (a disorder that involves painful periods), for example, can have a hard time seeking help when they need it, because issues surrounding menstruation are too taboo to bring up. "Shame and stigma around periods from family or culture can impact the delay [in seeking help]," Arielle Dance, an endometriosis advocate who is working toward her PhD in Integrative Medicine, told Refinery29 in April. "Women are less likely to seek help for discomfort when their family never talks about periods." Thankfully, the hashtags #TweetYourPeriod and #RedSummer are making room for a healthy, open discussion about everything that happens to your body during menstruation, from food cravings to bloating and blood clots. Pappas also told Bustle that the hashtags are about more than just menstruation — they're also about breaking down stereotypes regarding what femininity should look like. "There's also this denial of women's personhood that I've noticed," she says. "Guys hold women to this standard, this concept of being 'ladylike.' They want women to be otherworldly beauties, wonderful and rare, like unicorns. But we're not. We fart. And urinate and defecate and bleed. It's time we acknowledged that, and these hashtags are a great start." Check out some awesome #TweetYourPeriod and #RedSummer tweets below — and perhaps get inspired to write your own.
Join #RedSummer efforts and #tweetyourperiod - your period is uniquely yours and every cycle unique. Follow @RisaPappas— Suzan (@periodwise) May 30, 2016
Raise your hand if you've ever felt personally victimized by my uterus. -#iaminpain #tweetyourperiod pic.twitter.com/Ha8U7HHY1q— Ashley Lippe (@AELIPPE) May 11, 2016
@Twixlen @JohnKasich I used to pass clots the size of puppies. I felt like I couldn't leave my house on heavy days. :( #tweetyourperiod— Elizabeth Warrin' (@abbyaldrich) April 30, 2016
I always have a #sweettooth but it just went into hyperdrive. #PMS #tweetyourperiod #cookiemonster— Amy Lovestrand (@ACLovestrand) May 10, 2016
Fun times when u r doing a frisky duck waddle across a parking lot bc ur pantiliner just won't work with u. #walkthisway #tweetyourperiod— Risa Pappas (@RisaPappas) May 31, 2016