Did you know that that’s how we got the use of the term “period” for menstruation?
I was researching for a paper that tied in social views of women at the time of the book The Awakening with the concept of insanity, and showed that women were seen as crazy back then when they did certain things and behaved certain ways that are rather normal today.
In that research, I found somewhat shocking information on fertility and on when science actually discovered how the timing of the female body’s reproductive cycle worked specifically (as opposed to having only the general idea that sexual intercourse is the way to pregnancy), as well as beliefs on the female reproductive system as a whole.
These were not my focus of the paper, so I, with disappointment, had to skim them and move on to other things, but they stuck with me nonetheless (and I was just thinking tonight that I might still have them somewhere, either on the computer or in a stack of papers in a box).
I always seem to remember discovering the doctor’s use of the phrase and term “a woman’s periodicity” in one of those papers.
It shocked me, but it also finally gave me the answer to my long-wondered question of the word origin for calling menstruation “a period”.
It was, simply, a period in time, yes, but also a specific period in time that came with consistency and a time-frame… it was a woman’s periodicity that gave her these emotional phases.
Anyway… this is somewhat depression thinking for me, because those were not happy times for women, back then… not women like myself, anyway… frankly, they sucked in many, many ways, far beyond our struggles today.
I am extremely grateful to be here now, to be the powerful woman I am now, in this time and place in existence and in this world.
One final note: hysteria.
It originated as a term used in a belief that a woman’s reproductive organs were causing her to lash out or be inappropriate with her emotions somehow… you know, like how hysterectomy is removing the uterus… hysteria was the irrational emotional state caused by the uterus.
(Roots of the word go to Greek, with the term for the womb being there hystera.)
Kind of makes you want to stop using the word, right?
Well, that’s how it makes me feel, anyway…
But I like the word hysterical… that one makes me smile even bigger, knowing the root is “uterus”. 😛
Okay, I feel better, now. 😀