Adam Corson-Finnerty

June 25, 2017

Candid was a smartphone “app” that allowed people to communicate anonymously. It closed its run on June 23, 2017, after the parent company was acquired.

The Candid app gave you a new identity for each post or comment. So, for example, you might be “ExuberantBear” in one set of exchanges, and “CalmSpider” in another. Candid became popular with young people between the ages of 13 and 26, with a smattering of oldsters over 30, including me. Its level of anonymity brought out some very personal comments and questions, including ones that relate to menstruation.

Even though I am 73, I joined Candid to find out what young guys and gals think about menstruation, and to learn whether the message of the Period-Positive Movement is filtering down. What I learned is that “positive” may be the wrong word to use in challenging our menstruation taboos.

For example, as EagerBear I posted the question: “Periods: Curse or Blessing?” To which HyperBunny replied “They’re shit.” CalmLeopard wrote “Curse! I literally suffer so bad with them and I’m unable to take contraceptives to help make them slightly more tolerable. I can barely function as a human being some months! To the point that it makes me feel unsafe to do my job.” {In this article all spelling, grammar and punctuation will be left as original.}

Some gals responded that periods were “natural” so there was no point in fussing about them, and a few said that periods were a “blessing” because they come as the sign that you are not pregnant. SincereOctopus: “blessing because mine often doesn’t come when I expect it too and I always panic thinking I got pregnant while on birth control. But then it starts and I almost cry with relief.”

But the general opinion on menstruation is not “Positive.” If you listen to the anonymous voices on Candid, having a period is inconvenient, unpleasant, sometimes embarrassing, and — for some — very painful.

“Why are we the ones to suffer every month with periods??” asks TrickyRhino. And many young women echo her lament. “Mine are excruciating,” says RichOwl. “Ditto,” adds NoseyRacoon, “thank God for medicine.” EagerAnt chimes in with “My periods cause me to vomit and have diaherrea at least the first two days of my period plus my cramps get so bad I miss work because I can’t get out of bed.”

When pre-pubescent girls write on Candid that they can hardly wait to get their periods, they often are told by older girls to be happy that it hasn’t started. ExuberantRam: “Have u gotten ur period yet? It isnt exciting. First you want to eat cookies, then your stomach hurts, then diarreah, then your back hurts, then you yell at someone on social media, then you eat, then you cry, then you want a boyfriend. Then repeat 5 more times.”

Girl-to-girl, the talk can be very graphic. GroundedMoose: “I’m a woman and I think periods are gross. Intercourse during just hurts. I need like 3–4 days to cope with shedding a layer inside and spitting it out of a hole and hoping a sneeze doesn’t cause a leak on my pants. I could live happily without another period.”

Granted, Candid can function as a complaint board for its young participants. So the bias may be toward the negative, the problematic, and the uncomfortable. At best, most Candid gals accept that their period is “natural.”

Yet a few of the posters, young women in their early 20s, were surprisingly upbeat. So upbeat that I used a Candid feature that allows private — but still anonymous — conversations between two parties. I close with two exchanges that go against the trend:

CreativeStarfish: I fucking love getting my period!

Me: Are you being sarcastic? What do you like about it?

CS: Honestly? The blood. I find it satisfying to see it come out of my body.

ME: Most girls feel the blood is gross, but not you?

CS: Nope, you know how people get that satisfying feel when they see pimples being popped or stuff like that? I get it with the blood. It’s a satisfying feeling to see it all come out of my body.

ME: What four descriptive words or phrases describe how you feel about your period?

CS: Well I’m on birth control and only get it once every few months, which has made mood swings more intense than they used to. So of late I’d say: satisfying, painful, frustrating and intriguing.

ME: Frustrating?

CS: I’m 21 and have been in a relationship for four years. Frustrating went along with the fact that my emotions are more unstable than they used to be while on my period. (After birth control) I just cried this morning because I hit my finger and then just cried about nothing for a while. The frustrating part is that I logically know there’s no source for my crying and it’s only my hormones making me sad. It’s so much worse to be aware of your emotions reacting to something that doesn’t exist.

ME: Intriguing?

CS: Intriguing pairs more with satisfying. I find the blood not only satisfying, but also really interesting. I’ll start thinking about how weird it actually seems that blood just comes out of me like that every so often. I also find it intriguing to see how much blood I can get to be absorbed by a tampon.

  • *****************************************************

NoseyRay: I’m on my period. I don’t get cramps but I’m gushing out blood and every time it amazes me.

Me: “Amazes” is an interesting term.

NR: Definitely. I’ve learned to love it and think of it as time my uterus is cleansing itself out for the next one lol.

Me: How old. When first period?

NR: Age 25. Got it when I was 12 almost 13.

NR: How old are you and why are you interested?

Me: Old enough to be your grandfather (73). I’m a writer and think that period taboos are oppressive of women.

NR: Really? Wow.

I’m also an aspiring writer

Graduated with a degree in English and lib studies.

Women’s issues. And feminism and the environment fascinates me.

But yes I love my period. Didn’t think much of it when I was younger.

And four descriptive words would be beautiful, feminine, a sign of life, reminder that we are the bearers of life.

I honestly love my body lol.

I think women’s bodies are magical.

By Adam Corson-Finnerty

Adam Corson-Finnerty is a writer and Democratic activist. He lives with his wife and six cats in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He wants to help save Gaia.

Trump Resister, Grandfather, Environmentalist, Feminist, Quaker.

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