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10 period myths women were told in history

Lady Speak

Back in the day, the people who researched and made important declarations about periods were men, who weren’t having periods themselves. The result was women receiving a lot of fake information.

How fake are you asking? Immensely, but you can judge for yourself. Here 10 crazy myths women were told throughout history:

1. Periods happen because women are meant to be pregnant

Dr. A. F. A. King, an 1875 obstetrician wrote "menstruation is the result of an interference with nature” and could be prevented if women simply followed the rules of nature and stayed always pregnant. Crazy right?

2. Periods are the same as when a female animal is “on heat”

So in the middle 1800s, a group of scientists said periods were the same as when a female animal is “on heat.” So, a woman with periods was most fertile than one without them. Interestingly, we now know periods is when you are least likely to get pregnant.

3. Women with periods can’t drink wine

A 1919 scientist argued that period blood contains a poison that would turn wine into vinegar. How did this guy get to this conclusion?

4. Sex during periods causes deformed babies

According to an old French myth, babies born from period sex would be weak, moribund and stupid. Even if you aren’t into period sex, this is too much!

5. Women who have periods are able to do nothing

An American, Dr. Horatio Storer, said female doctors shouldn’t be allowed to work while menstruating because their patients would not be safe. In his 1868 book, Criminal Abortion, he wrote that women perform illegal abortions and blame it on their periods. Was he confusing periods with miscarriages?

6. Period blood cures leprosy

This is the only crazy theory of this list that comes from a woman. She was Hildegard von Bingen, a nurse who published that period blood could cure leprosy. This is completely wrong as period blood does not cure leprosy.

7. Periods spoil wine and kill crops

A Roman naturalist named Pliny the Elder had some unbelievable ideas about periods. He wrote that "contact with menstruation turns new wine sour, crops touched by it become barren, grafts die, seed in gardens are dried up, the fruit of trees fall off, the edge of steel and the gleam of ivory are dulled, hives of bees die, even bronze and iron are at once seized by rust, and a horrible smell fills the air; to taste it drives dogs mad and infects their bites with an incurable poison”. Such ridiculous ideas.

8. Women should not go to work and school when having periods

This one doesn’t sound that crazy, I would personally love having a few off days when having periods because of cramps. But the reason Edward Clarke wrote in 1873 in his book called Sex in Education was still crazy, he argued a woman’s body couldn’t function properly while menstruating. Giving the solution of a mandatory rest week when a woman was on her periods.

9. Working hard when having periods causes craziness

OMG! Dr. George Austin wrote in 1883 that working too hard when a woman has periods result in a special type of sickness called “erotomania”. We think the only sick thing here is his theory.  

10. Women who are menstruating drive men around crazy

Dr. William Capp said that menstruation is not only hard on women, but it is damaging those around her, particularly men. Supporting the idea of women leaving the classrooms one week per month. So for them periods was a men’s problem…

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