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How Tech Is Changing Attitudes About Periods

Photograph by Twenty20

Periods are everywhere these days. Well, technically they've been everywhere since forever. But only recently have we begun talking about them without apology, and without the aid of blue liquid in a beaker.

And girl culture is all the better for it.

The New York Times reported recently on the popularity of period trackers among teen girls. Health and hygiene aids for the tech generation, these apps take most of the surprise out of the monthly cycle, which may not be every 28 days. There are 200 some apps to choose from, to track anything tied to periods, like sleep, emotions, cramps, weight gain, bloating, cravings and other stuff.

What do you get for this information dump? Reminders to buy pads and tampons, take birth control pills or do a breast self-exam. You can also record when you had sex and whether you used protection, making causes for late periods less speculative. A period tracker will also take out the guessing game for whether your period is, in fact, late.

The apps are super popular among women and girls. The Times reported Period Tracker and Period Calendar/Tracker had been downloaded more than 10 million times just from the Android store.

The highly personalized, yet clinical information-gathering required with these apps—and also universality of the whole thing, including symptoms—are doing their part in taking the shame of secrecy of periods in generations before. Which is changing girl culture, the Times piece contends.

In fact, Ronnie Caryn Rabin, the Times reporter, led the piece using her daughter's blasé attitude toward her own period. But if you think she's exposing her daughter to shame or ridicule, she wasn't. She followed up quickly saying, "And no, she doesn't mind being quoted, she said, adding, 'Mom: I'm not embarrassed about my period.'"

As it should be and should have always been.

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