6 Songs About Menstruation That Aren’t by Lily Allen

Here are six female artists who were pioneers of the period lyric, and who did it without sounding like the prequel to a chapter about how to ask your mom for deodorant.

Apr 28, 2014 at 2:30pm | Leave a comment

 
With Avril Lavigne attempting to give “Gangnam Style” a kawaii makeover, it’s been an interesting 24 hours in music. Particularly if you grew up hate-listening to “Sk8er Boi” and could swear than a decade has passed since that song came out.
 
But what’s even more ridiculous than Avril’s undying love for the Skrillex shave is the fact that Lily Allen‘s “Sheezus,” another weird video that came out yesterday, has been refused radio play due to its “controversial” use of the word “period.” Here’s the lyric in question, which may or not have been plagiarized from my sixth grade sex ed textbook, but that’s another issue: “Periods, we all get periods/Every month, yo, that’s what the theory is/It’s human nature, another cycle/Be nice to me, I’ll make you one of my disciples.”
 
“I think that ‘period’ is going to be my ‘surfboard’,” Allen told The Guardian recently, referring to controversial lyrics in Beyoncé‘s “Drunk in Love.” “It’s groundbreaking! I’m proud of that … People will wear sweatshirts to my concerts that are just going to say ‘period’.”
 
 
It’s actually “surfboardt” with a “t,” and clearly requires some sort of joke about crimson waves. But Allen wasn’t even the first to suffer for her art as well as her two X chromosomes. Here are six female artists who were pioneers of the period lyric, and who did it without sounding like the prequel to a chapter about how to ask your mom for deodorant. (And if you’re down for the period shirt, you can get that here.)
 
 
1. Janet Jackson — “Feedback”
Essential lyric: “Cause my swag is serious/ Something heavy like a first day period.”
 
 
2. PJ Harvey — “Happy and Bleeding”
Essential lyric: “Fruit flower myself inside-out i’m tired and i’m bleeding for you.”
 
 
3. Tacocat – “Crimson Wave”
Essential lyric: “Sew a scarlet letter on my bathing suit, ‘cause I’ve got sharks in hot pursuit/Surfin’, surfin’ the wave/All the girls are surfin’ the wave.”
 
 
4. Heavens to Betsy – “My Red Self”
Essential lyric: “What is the color, the color of shame?/Is it red? is it blood, blood red?/Does it creep out from my two legs, up to my face, if you notice the stain?/Never wear white or your shame will creep thru.”
 
 
5. Dolly Parton – “PMS Blues”
Essential lyric: “You don’t want to cross my path/Cause a pitbull ain’t no match/For these teeth a clenchin’, fluid retention/Head a swellin’, can’t stop yellin’/Got no patience, I’m so hateful/PMS blues, premenstrual syndrome.”
 
 
6. Ani diFranco – “Blood in the Boardroom”
Essential lyric: “There’s men wearing the blood/Of the women they love/There’s white wearing the blood of the brown/But every woman learns to bleed from the moon/And we bleed to renew life/Every time it’s cut down.”
 
 
Reprinted with permission from Styleite. Want more?