Surfing the Crimson Tide. On the Rag. On the Blob. Serving L'Omelette Rouge at Phil Opian's Diner. Hoisting the Japanese Flag. The Red Knight is Requesting Lodging. Having the Painters In. Riding the Cotton Pony. Receiving a Visit from Auntie Flo. Falling To The Communists. Liverpool Playing At Home. Walking Through a Field of Wildflowers in Soft Focus. Winning A Starring Role In A Period Costume Drama. Overusing the Red Paint at Camp Ovary. Closed for Maintenance. Surviving the Massacre at the Y. At Code Red. Shark Week. Red In Your Ledger. Staging a Production of Titus Andronicus in My Pants. That Time Of The Month... When I'm Not At My Best... Because My Vagina is Bleeding.
A subtrope of The Law of Conservation of Detail, No Periods, Period is the fact that unless there's a specific, plot-related reason to mention that a female character is menstruating, the subject will never be brought up. At all. Period.
Some of the reasons that menstruation will affect the plot:
A pregnancy storyline.
When a female character misses a period, as an indication that she may be or is pregnant.
As part of a Very Special Episode exploring a young girl's entrance into puberty. The girl may be horribly shocked when her period happens, thinking she's dying from some horrible disease. The likelihood of such a thing happening increases if the story is set pre-1960s but it isn't limited to that time period.
A setting with werewolves contains a brief reference to "times of the month". This connection is sometimes explored.
A male character has to go on a Tampon Run, resulting in funny awkwardness and embarrassment.
A less common gag, typically seen in parodies of Very Special Episode-type stories, is that any discussion of the topic will cause all males in the room to flee in horror — which also gives the writers an excuse to shift attention away from the conversation. This is sometimes invoked by having two women bring up the topic intentionally to make the men leave.
Black Comedies are happy to make jokes about menstruation, but usually only allude to the topic. In Science Fiction, it generally only comes up as a contrast to someone else's Bizarre Alien Biology. Transformation Comics often involve at least one throwaway gag on the subject, where a male-to-female Gender Bender either has a period and doesn't know how to deal with it, or panics over the possibility of not getting switched back in time to avoid it.
An Action Girl will never get a menstrual period, except in the case that it is mentioned in the form of an "I have PMS and a <weapon of choice>" line. Nor does any other woman in an action-adventure story, unless she happens to be a sorceress, and her powers are somehow tied to her monthly cycle.
Occasionally a writer will mention periods in order to point out the effect they can have on animals, since predators may be drawn by the scent of blood.
Compare to Nobody Poops. Completely unrelated to No Punctuation Period and Wall of Text. Also see Clingy Costume.
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Sorceresses in the universe of Slayers lose their powers during their menstrual periods — which spells a great deal of inconvenience for Lina Inverse, who finds herself having to fight an important battle during such a time. (The only spell Lina was able to conjure during the battle was a weak light spell.) Interestingly, after this battle was finished, Lina's period was only mentioned two more times in sequel series. Either she became extremely good at scheduling her future battles around her monthly cycle, or the writers lost interest in using the issue as a plot complication device.
In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Asuka throws a major tizzy about getting her period, as she believes that it is interfering with her ability to synchronize with her EVA. She even goes so far as to state that she wishes she didn't get periods, since she doesn't want to have children. Misato tries to pass this belief off to Ritsuko as the reason why Asuka is having trouble, though Ritsuko flatly states that the EVAs are not affected by that. (In one of the Director's Cut scenes, Asuka uses the same word to register her disgust at getting her period as she does to register her disgust at the end of the movie, upon discovering that she has to share the world alone with Shinji—if you think that's actually what she meant.). The same series also has the character Rei Ayanami making a vague comment about "a woman who does not bleed", which some fans take as implying that she does not menstruate.
Averted in Lucky Star like most offhand subjects, where the main girls have a casual conversation about the potential embarrassment of one during the Beach Episode.
Due to the educational nature of Futari Ecchi this is mentioned quite a few times, most notably in the chapter Yuna thought she was pregnant only to suddenly start her period (to her husband Makoto's relief)
This was even done in a comical way, when Yura's younger sister Rika's boyfriend acts really romantic towards her simply to have unprotected sex. Right before they can start however, she starts her period, much to the dismay of the boyfriend.
Sana in Kodomo no Omocha manages to be subtle in an off-hand comment, saying she's already had "red beans and rice" (a Japanese meal eaten when a girl gets her first period) when someone asks her.
Also averted in Gunslinger Girl, where Triela spends a whole episode having menstrual cramps and subverting her normal "pleasant and kind big sister" thing with a wave of moody aggression that confuses her handler. Rather cruelly, it was her spotlight episode! She mentions that she's okay with the pain and blood, it tells her she's alive, and then repeats the line to the informer she was guarding, after being shot several times. Earlier, she imitates one of the instructors having them read from "The Merchant of Venice" (the line isn't quoted, but it might have been "If you cut us, do we not bleed?")
The same episode has Henrietta casually remark that she can't get periods, since her uterus was removed as part of the cyborgation process (with the implication that it was actually the horrific sexual assault that she went through before being turned into a cyborg that did it, and the "removed uterus" story is just a cover).
The manga Hana-Kimi has the plot "Girl must crossdress to stay in a All-male boarding school", and acknowledges that the teenage protagonist menstruates, and the danger to her facade if that fact is discovered. In fact, her periods are mentioned in several episodes, and sometimes concealing them became a part of the plot. The protagonist even compares openly the Japanese and American feminine products, and express a preference for the Japanese ones...
In Berserk, the swordswoman Casca nearly gets killed once when she insists on fighting in battle despite feeling sick due to her period.
This is brought up in a Q & A section of an early Fruits Basket volume, wherein a fan asked Natsuki Takaya what Tohru does when she gets her period, living in a house with 3 men. Takaya responded, "Why would you want to know that?!" but did explained afterwards that Tohru had access to her own bathroom. So there you go.
Averted in High School Girls. Naturally, since the setting is in Japan in a girls' high school, they aren't going to avoid the subject, leading to one character's explanation of why she can't use Japanese-style toilets on her period, or a star athlete being kept from participating in a sports festival due to unexpectedly severe menstrual cramps.
Subverted in Koi Kaze in which Nanoka has her first period on three months, causing her to get sick. It turns out to be a moment to bond with her older brother who is sexually attracted to her.
Averted in the manga Again!! in which the Cheering Squad Captain Usami is nowhere to be found, and Imamura must act in her place. In order to force Imamura to lead the cheer, Aki shouts out in front of the entire baseball team "She's having her period! She's stuck in the girl's room with horrible cramps!" Although actually, she was just regular sick and had collapsed in the hall.
Subverted in an "Ai-Ao Theater" Omake in the Ai Yori Aoshi manga. After Aoi and Kaoru have sex for the first time, Miyabi meets Aoi by the ocean, dramatically congratulates her, and hands her a box of...red beans and rice, to Aoi's immense confusion.
The manga version of Naru Taru shows Shiina get her first (& possibly only) period towards the end. And in an early volume Satomi is having her period when she becomes temporarily catatonic during a rather vicious battle. Akira is taunted by some girls at school because of her period and she mentions that she did just have her period.
Mitsuki: "Is that all you can think about, Itsue?"
The opening of Ghost in the Shell has Batou inquire about the unusual noise in Major Kusanagi's brain. She responds, "Must be that time of the month." The English dub replaces the line with "Must be a loose wire." Though this seems odd coming from a full body cyborg, it's implied that although the visible physical effects don't happen because of her artificial body, her brain-chemistry is unaffected, and will get periods, lack of required organs be damned. It is stated that the major's body completely reproduces the stimulus of all of her organs in order to maintain her "ghost", the uterus is an organ and thus its stimuli would be reproduced. It's also possible that she said it just to make Batou shut up.
Averted in Wandering Son where main girl Yoshino's period is a regular occurrence, and an addition to the list of reasons she'd much rather be a boy, and cause her considerable angst because a sign that's she is starting to mature and reach puberty, which will change her body to be more female and make it harder to physically transition later, which is Truth in Television for many FTM transexuals.
Chiba, Sasa, Momoko, and Maho eventually get their periods too.
Averted in Trinity Blood, at least in the novels. The fact that Cardinal Caterina Sforza has just started her menstrual period is mentioned in passing as one of the reasons she's tired and a little grouchy and wants to return from a trip to sleep comfortably in her own bed. Neither the tiredness nor the grouchiness is exaggerated or used comedically. It can be also be a foreshadowing of her Incurable Cough of Death.
A bumpy road appears for Sei at Kaze Hikaru at the dawn of her first period, as she is masquerading as a man to be part of the Shinsen Gumi, fortunately Akesato, a courtesan in Shimabara and her only female friends helps her out, first by teaching her what to use to contain the... erhh... tide? then by having her among the some days using "man's needs" as a pretext.
In the manga Futaba-kun Change!, Futaba finds out that when he is on his period, he can't go back to being male until it's over. His period also releases pheromones that cause any man he comes in contact with fall in love with him.
Considering her age, Tsukiko Sagi was probably experiencing a menstrual cramp during the flashback in Paranoia Agent in which she starts clutching her stomach in pain while walking her dog Maromi, causing her to accidentally let go of the leash and release Maromi into traffic where he is struck and killed by a car, essentially setting off the events of the whole series...
Omohide Poro Poro AKA Only Yesterday, directed by Isao Takahata of Ghibli fame, brings out menstruation very realistically as expected from josei anime and also gives a perspective on the openness of Japanese culture to referencing and more importantly teaching young girls about it. Even sketches pubescent girls' varied reactions to the new life experience and new knowledge, from happy acceptance—it means I'm growing up—to reluctance—but it's messy—to outright shame—boys mock me for it.
This trope's aversion is generally cited as a major reason (if not the only reason) this is the only Ghibli film Disney has the rights to that it has not dubbed and released stateside (see Miyazaki's famous "No Cuts" policy).
Karin features a teenage girl reverse-vampire who has a monthly problem with blood — which has nothing to do with her reproductive system. She chooses not to disillusion her friend who assumes her problem is her period. It's also revisited later when her younger sister comes into her vampiric power, and the same friend makes the same misinterpretation.
One chapter of the Ah! My Goddess manga includes Keiichi thinking that Skuld's strange behavior is due to her getting her first period — she's actually growing into more of her goddess powers.
An episode of A.D. Police Files involves a stern, capable businesswoman who's insulted by her male peers for allegedly letting her menstrual cycle affect her judgment. She has herself cybernetically altered to get rid of her periods, but finds that Cybernetics Eat Your Soul.
With puberty being a general theme in the series, periods aren't shied away from in Chu-Bra!!. Haruka mentions being close to having hers when Nayu checks to see if her underwear fits her body right.
Averted in Hanjuku Joshi when Yae has her period; in a later chapter, Chitose also has one.
Darker than Black : Gemini of the Meteor. Poor Suou, transitioning into being a Contractor and womanhood. Luckily the friendly neighborhood cross-dresser was on hand to give her the necessary supplies and painkillers. Hei was certainly not going to be of any help.
Used for a quick joke in Shin KoihimeMusou ~Otome Tairan~. The first episode's On The Next has Chouhi asking what the Oddly Named Sequel means. Chouun begins explaining what a period is, only to be cut off by Koumei. The pun used is Chouun using hairan (ovulation) instead of tairan (rebellion).
In Mahoraba, Momono and Shiratori go to the theater and watch a horror film. When Shiratory asks how girl could see such a bloody film and not be bothered Momono replies, "girls are used to seeing a lot of blood. Er... Was that a little vulgar?"
In the School Days anime, Sekai confronts Makoto about her being pregnant by stating that her period is not coming.
In Kaiba, it's very strongly implied that the problems that the main character is having with his tempeorary body in Episode 6 is "her" time of the month.
This never happens to Kagome. Because Inuyasha flips his shit if he smells Kagome's blood at any time, which he can apparently do through the interdimensional well.
In Victory Gundam, at some point Marbet starts feeling like shit, and Odelo tells Usso than he thinks it's because of her period. Like in the Fafner case, we have a subversion... it's actually morning sickness, since Marbet is pregnant. (Too bad the baby's father has been dead for a while.)
In the Fushigi Yuugi manga, Yui is seen with blood on her thigh, and one of her friends asks her if it's her time of the month. (In the anime, the blood is pointed out, but no one asks if it's menstrual blood. It's pretty obvious Yui thinks it is, though.) It's not actually menstrual blood; Miaka got a cut on her thigh, and at that point they were connected by their matching school uniforms, so anything that happened to Miaka happened to Yui as well.
Miaka leaves to search for Yui in another chapter, telling everyone she has something to take care of. Nuriko nods knowingly and says "It's probably that time..."
Kind of a plot point in Ai-Ren. Because Ai is an Artificial Human, she is not supposed to menstruate. This brings up the very real - and unprecedented - possibility she could get pregnant with Ikuru's child. She does, then things get worse.
Subverted in the Dutch (paper) comic S1ngle. One of the main characters, Nienke, has such terrible cases of PMS that the whole hospital at which she works is scared to death by her - though not literally in most cases.
In Runaways, Nico has the power to manifest a magical staff whenever her blood is spilled, something which she finds very unpleasant since it forces her to frequently cut herself and she has never been a cutter. After one particular magical battle, another team member expresses confusion at the fact that she seemed to manifest her staff without bleeding this time, only for Nico to reveal that not all bleeding comes from knife wounds. It is still not a regular issue for the characters (Despite the fact that the gang has four girls, all in or entering puberty, and more women get added later), but at least it was brought up without it being A Very Special Issue.
Subverted in Molly asking several characters about her changing body and mysterious bleeding. Each and every character (Including her doctor parents) mumble, stutter, and brush her off with the obvious assumption that she's "becoming a woman," only for The Reveal that her body is changing into a super-strong mutant and she was suffering from a Psychic Nosebleed from her emerging mutant powers.
Also, on one shopping trip, Karoline and Nico buy "enough feminine hygiene products to last until the end of the world or menopause. Whichever comes first".
Played with in Birds Of Prey where at one point Black Canary tells her captors that if they plan on holding her for much longer that they'd need to get some "feminine products". It was a bluff in order to get them out of the room to allow her to make an escape attempt.
Played straight in ElfQuest for decades, until the original creators decided to take up the series again. When human girl Shuna is adopted into the elf tribe, it turns out she starts attracting a lot of unwanted attention from the tribe's wolves once every month. The elves quickly realize that human anatomy is different from their own, and that the wolves are getting worked up over Shuna's menstrual blood. They end up telling her to go sit in a corner as far away from the main tribe as possible during her period.
A plot point in A Game of You, where menstrual blood is required for a spell and of the four women present, only one of them can provide it, because the other three are too old, biologically male, and pregnant respectively.
Doom Patrol subverts this in their character of Dorothy Spinner. Grant Morrison wrote a story in his run about her first menstruation around the time her powers activated, which was a traumatic situation for her. When Rachel Pollack took over writing duties, she specifically tied Dorothy's powers to her menstruation and showed her buying tampons, as well as, on one occasion, disposing of one while grumbling that she was the only one on the team who had to worry about such things.
The title character of the film (and book) Carrie has her Psychic Powersstart to manifest after a sickening incident in the gym shower, when she discovers herself menstruating and panics, thinking she's dying. Her classmates mercilessly torment her about it, and as a result, she has to be sent home. Carrie was ignorant about how her own body worked thanks to the efforts of her abusive mother Margaret, a religiousfanatic with a pathological fear of sex.
She's The Man featured Viola posing as her brother Sebastian at a boarding school. At one point in the movie Viola!Sebastian tells 'his' male roomies that the tampons in 'his' bag are used for nosebleeds.
In Ginger Snaps, Ginger getting her period is a major plot point; the blood attracts a werewolf which had been killing pets in the area and it attacks Ginger. At first her sister Bridget attributes the ensuing personality change to hormones...
A minor plot point in Pitch Black. The young "boy" traveling with our fleeing group is revealed to be otherwise when Riddick announces it is her menstrual blood attracting the monsters. They can smell it. Apparently, so can he...
In A Walk On The Moon, Anna Paquin's character Alison gets her first period, and when she tells her grandmother Lillian, Lillian slaps her. Alison asks why her grandmother did that, and Lillian says it's what her grandmother did when she got her first period. Alison hesitates a moment, then slaps her grandmother back... who then says she did that too.
In what is intentionally an awkward conversational moment in Center Stage, when Maureen's mother feels she is acting odd and touchy, she asks, "Did you just start your period?" Maureen, who is actually dealing with a serious emotional issue rather than being hormonal, replies with shock in the negative.
In one of the Bridget Jones movies, the title character reflects that she's had three months of uninterrupted good sex — then realizes that that means she hasn't had a period in all that time.
In My Girl Vada Sultenfuss, raised as she was without a mother, was convinced she was "hemorrhaging". This did allow for a nice bit of bonding between Vada and future stepmom Shelley, who stepped in to explain and reassure.
Emmaline from the 1980 version of The Blue Lagoon got a similar scare, having grown up stranded on the island with no adult guidance.
In Superbad, someone points out a red spot on one of the main character's pant legs. The main character is confused about where it came from until someone else asks "Dude, were you dancing with a chick in there?". Indeed he had been, and Hilarity Ensues.
In Summer School, the character Pam House convinces her teacher, Mr. Shoop, that she should be allowed to leave class because of cramps. Another student character (Francis "Chainsaw" Gremp) specifically alludes to this trope by saying, "This menstruation thing? It's a scam! Women are so lucky."
In I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, one of the female characters beats up a gang sent to kidnap her. When one of the gang members asks if she is possessed by the devil (possibly due to her glowing red eyes) she replies simply "No — cramps!"
In Clueless, Cher argues her way out of a tardy mark by declaring that she'd been "surfing the crimson wave". Whether she actually was or is just using it as an excuse is not clear, but it works. However, it does serve as character development, we see here (and later) that Cher gains good school grades by argument rather than hard work (her lawyer father couldn't be prouder than if she had really worked hard).
In Lethal Weapon 3, after Lorna Cole has finished beating on five henchmen, she rounds on Murtaugh, apparently about to smack his lights out, until she registers it's him and stops. The following dialogue occurs.
Cole: This PMS, it's murder
Murtaugh: I know, been married 25 years, got two daughters.
In Mean Girls, when the principal is trying to mediate problems between members of the school's female population, "lady to lady":
Mr Duvall: Now does anyone have a "lady problem" they would like to discuss? Yes?
Girl: Somebody wrote in that book that I'm lying about being a virgin because I use super jumbo tampons... But I can't help it that I have a heavy flow and a wide-set vagina!
A blink-and-you-miss-it example in George of the Jungle: Ursula's overly-protective mother, worried about jungle fevers, asks the newly-returned Ursula about a variety of symptoms, including...
Mother: Your mm-hmm-hmm?
Ursula: * sigh* Regular.
G. I. Jane When Lt. O'Neil (Demi Moore) moves from a separate accommodation into the common barracks, one of the trainees is outraged and is especially disgusted to find a package of Tampax.
In Woody Allen's Annie Hall, when Allen fantasizes about dating the Evil Queen from Snow White. When he suggests she may be cranky because she has her period, she responds, "I'm a cartoon character! I don't GET a period!"
In Moving Violations, the relationship between the two strict motorcycle cops is implied when he tells her he got a promotion, and she replies that she got her period. They then clasp hands, suggesting that the latter is as big a relief to the pair (who do not want kids) as the former.
A Tale of Two Sisters; Su-mi wakes up to find blood where her sister Su-yeon was sleeping, and goes into their step-mother's bathroom to borrow pads. The step-mother then comments how interesting it is that they got their period on the same day, which was a very clever subtle clue that they were all three the same person.
In Showgirls, Nomi has a hot and heavy dance scene with James. When it looks as though they are about to have sex, Nomi suddenly informs him that she's on her period. When James doesn't believe her, she invites him to check. Which he does.
In the first of the Female Prisoner Scorpion films, one of two escaping prisoners suddenly starts having a period; this can be interpreted as one thing that interferes with their escape, as tracker dogs quickly find them shortly after this. There's also reference to "bleeding once a month" in the featured song from the second film. Given the running subtext in these films about how men exploit every weakness they can to oppress and dominate women, it seems a fairly fitting inclusion.
In the 1989 film Immediate Family, Glenn Close's character is a real estate broker who hasn't been able to conceive. In one scene she suddenly excuses herself from showing house, goes into the bathroom and angrily takes out a tampon, with visible frustration.
In Armageddon, while Grace is arguing with Harry about her and A.J.'s relationship, she brings up a laundry list of all the things she had to deal with on her own because he was a distant parent.
Grace: First time I got my period, Rock had to take me to Tai Pei for Tampax. Then he had to show me how to use them.
Rock: I told her how to use them. I didn't show her, Harry.
The Runaways, a film about the All-Girl-Band of the title, starts with Cherie Currie getting her period in public. Pure humiliation.
In Boys Don't Cry, Brandon has to steal tampons and hide them in his room.
In Osama, a young girl growing up in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan has to disguise herself as a boy in order to feed her family after all the males die, saving all the women from permanent house arrest. She eventually is "volunteered" into a Taliban child soldier training program, wherein she is beaten mercilessly by the instructors. The trauma of the beating is so severe that she prematurely menstruates all over her clothes, thus outing her to the virulently misogynistic teachers. It goes From Bad to Worse from there...
In The Amazing Spider-Man, Gwen Stacy tries to keep her father from entering her room (where an injured Peter/Spiderman is hiding). She uses the "time of the month" to explain her earlier mood swing and sudden aversion to chocolate.
Heavily subverted in Eve's Bayou when Eve discovers Cicely's bloody underwear and teases Cicely about telling everyone. Further figures into the plot when their mother is concerned that Cicely didn't tell her and Cicely refuses to let her father (who is also a doctor) take her temperature, etc. to make sure nothing else is wrong with her.
In Excision, Pauline has Adam go down on her, not telling him that she's having her period. He is completely, utterly, and appropriately squicked out.
In Kelley Armstrong's Women Of The Otherworld series, a witch must undergo a certain mystic ritual between her first period and her second, to release her full power, otherwise, she'll forever have the power level she starts with. One of the series protagonists, Paige Winterborne, finds out to her dismay that she'd been taught a truncated version of the ritual, which only partially released a witch's power.
This is similarly averted in the parallel young adult series. On the day that fifteen-year-old Chloe first starts seeing ghosts, she goes into the bathroom, sees red in her underwear and suddenly realizes why her stomach's been hurting. She's overjoyed that she's finally gotten her first period and celebrates by buying her first ever sanitary napkin.
In Jean M. Auel's Clan of the Cave Bear, periods are given plenty of weight and discussion. The Cave Bear Clan (Neanderthals) believe that every woman is protected by her Totem animal, which resides inside her, and that on a regular basis her Totem does battle with a man's Totem. If her Totem wins, it is only injured and she bleeds. If her Totem loses, she gets pregnant. Consequently, there are rules requiring the separation of men and women when the woman is menstruating, lest another man's Totem animal be drawn into the losing battle.
In Dust by Elizabeth Bear, which is sort of Fantasy on a dying space ship, Rien is relieved to reach showers and medical supplies because she is menstruating.
In Judy Blume's book Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret., Margaret Simon and a group of her friends keep track of who has her period first. Margaret turns out to be the second last of the girls to get hers. Gretchen is rather nonchalant about getting her period, Nancy freaks out (and is exposed as a liar in the process, since she had told Margaret that she had gotten it already) and Margaret is excited.
In Marion Zimmer Bradley's Hawkmistress!, the protagonist is a girl traveling in disguise as a boy. Her menstrual cycle catches her unaware and poses a large problem to her disguise.
In Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, Valentine mentions that she's not even old enough to have a regular period. Considering the kids are geniuses, and that they make oral/anal sex jokes before they're 10, it makes sense that Valentine would know about it.
There's a lovely scene in Douglas Coupland's Microserfs where six characters — three men, three women — are in a computer room together. One of the women mentions that the local Fry's Electronics carries condoms but not tampons, and the conversation at once turns "entirely tamponic": the women unperturbedly discuss the most intimate biological details, one comparing intimate encounters with minipad adhesive to "getting a drive-by waxing". Meanwhile the men are burying their heads in their workstations pretending they're not there, while frantically instant-messaging each other ("Women have *chunky* days? Are guys supposed to know this stuff? I am experiencing fear.")
The main character of Alison Croggan's The Gift has a period. Since she grew up a slave and had no sex education, she panics and assumes she is dying.
In the Incarnations Of Immortality novel With A Tangled Skein, there is a subtle allusion to this. Clotho, the youngest of the aspects of Fate, must go to the Void and gather raw material for thread, once a month. She speculates this has become a stand-in for the periods she no longer has (due to being an Incarnation).
In the second of David & Leigh Eddings' Belgariad-Universe narrative-flashback prequels, Polgara The Sorceress, Polgara and Beldaran wake up one morning to discover that they "had become women during the night." Fortunately, they are promptly and matter-of-factly talked down from their fright by their mother, Poledra, over the psychic link that she has with them.
Tobin, the title character of Lynn Flewelling'sTamir Trilogy (there's a name change later; just go with it), suffers debilitating cramps and discovers blood in his trousers when he's about thirteen, and runs away from his friends because he thinks he's dying of the plague and doesn't want to give it to them. Nope, it's just The Awesome Power Of Menstruation breaking through the spell that's given her the shape of a boy since birth (a shock to her, but not to the reader).
Periods are mentioned a few times in the Sword of Truth books. The first is when the main character receives a salve from one of his female bodyguards for a rash on his neck. As he starts rubbing it into his skin, she lists the ingredients, and he gets visibly disturbed when she gets to "and some of my moonflow blood." The second time is a major plotpoint during the fourth book. When a plague is sweeping through the city, the protagonist goes to see his fiancee, only to be told she isn't feeling well; her handmaiden explains that she's on her "moonflow," and does a little Lampshade Hanging by saying she normally wouldn't mention it, except to assuage his fears. It becomes more significant later in the book. And then in the second book, Du Chaillu complained she lost her flow of moon (after an undetermined time of being held as a Sex Slave). In the fifth, when a heroine buys a pregnancy termination potion, she is told it will hurt no more than a normal period.
Southern humorist Lewis Grizzard wrote of a coworker of his at a newspaper who never showed up on time. This man, named Robinson, "always had a great excuse," but eventually the managing editor of the paper grew frustrated enough to threaten Robinson's firing the next time he was late. Robinson was late the next day, and the editor fired him, then demanded an explanation.
Robinson: "You know I've been married eight years and have seven children. This morning was the first time in our marriage my wife had a period, and I had to fix breakfast for the kids because she was too sick to get out of bed."
Grizzard concludes his story by saying "Robinson didn't get fired."
Periods are mentioned relatively often in Mercedes Lackey's books. For example, in one story, after being exposed to a bad luck charm, the sorceress Kethry reflects that she's lucky her "moon-days" are generally mild, only to be struck by debilitating cramps.
In the Arrows of the Queen trilogy, Talia reflects on how one of her friends told her about "moon-bane powder" and its uses for adjusting the menstrual cycle when it might not be convenient to have it.
Elayne in the Wheel of Time mentions that since bonding Birgitte in The Fires of Heaven, their "cycles" had synchronized.
Becomes a plot point in Stephen King's Wolves of the Calla, when Susannah's period keeps coming despite her being pregnant with a baby which was fathered by Roland, the Crimson King, and a demon.
In Madeleine L'Engle's book Many Waters, which is set in the days of Noah (pre-Flood, but only just) the women cite "how near to the time of the moon is it for any of us?" in trying to settle whether to have a strange boy stay in their tent.
Averted in A Song of Ice and Fire. One POV character ( Sansa Stark) has a panic attack when she wakes up to find her bed drenched in blood and proceed to burn the bed and the clothes she slept in. When she has calmed down she's embarrassed over her behavior when she remembers that her mother had already had The Talk with her. The fact that she is alone, surrounded by enemies and set to marry the poster child for Teens Are Monsters as soon as she properly becomes a woman, and that she was asleep and her menstrual cramps manifested as her being stabbed in the abdomen in a nightmare, probably contributed to this reaction.
Leah, the only female werewolf, considers herself to be genetic dead end as her period stopped after she first changed into a werewolf. This is possibly because in Twilight werewolves/shapeshifters stop growing until they "give up" this ability. It is unknown if her period would return, however.
Legends Of Laconia has heroine Dianne in Bite Me mention that her dad has to keep on the other side of the room from herself and her mom while they are on their periods.
The title character in Sabriel consults her dead mother on the subject... it's mentioned as one of the few times she's needed her.
In Tamora Pierce's Lioness series, the heroine is a Sweet Polly Oliver who panics when she gets her first period, because her mother died giving birth and she was never told about menstruation. Alanna then has to reveal that she's a girl to one of her friends, who takes her to a healing woman who can help her discreetly.
Lady Knight has a man questioning Kel's authority by wondering when she'll have her period and insinuating that she won't be able to lead during it. Kel is apparently used to this and snarks it off. [
"Mistresses, have you ever noticed that when we disagree with males—I hesitate to say 'men'—or find ourselves in a position over males, the first comment they make is always about our reputations or our monthlies? [...] If I disagreed with you, should I place blame on the misworkings of your manhood? Or do I refrain from so serious an insult—far more serious, of course, than your hint that I am a whore. Because my mother taught me courtesy, I only suggest that my monthlies will come long after your hair has escaped your head entirely."
Somewhat humorously averted in Terry Pratchett's Thud!. Angua, one of the members of the Watch, is a werewolf — no periods are mentioned, but there's a lot of PLT just before 'that time of the month'... the full moon. At one point, the werewolf's lover, Carrot, explains to Vimes that their relationship isn't that dissimilar from other couples. Once a month, she gets particularly cranky, he goes out for lots of walks by himself, and "she has her own basket, and when it's that time of month I don't really get involved."
In Anne Rice's Memnoch the Devil, Lestat very much wanted to go down on a menstruating woman (Dora). He eventually does, in front of other vampires. No one minds, including Dora.
In John Ringo's Council Wars series, there's mention of one of the main characters, after the series' title war commences, having to demonstrate proper feminine hygiene to other women working in a village. The lack of need for the knowledge before is somewhat justified, as prior to The Fall with the help of nanomachines people had much better control over their hormones.
Robert Sawyer's Hominids series deals with a parallel universe in which Neanderthals (H. neanderthalensis) achieved sentience and rose to become the dominant civilization, while Cro-Magnons (H. sapiens) went extinct. In Neanderthal cities, males and females live separately, with females in the city center and males at the outskirts; the two sides meet up for four days out of every month, which can be timed to either encourage fertility or avoid it. When one of the male characters, for purposes of plot, has to travel downtown to ask a favor of a female colleague during "Last Five" (the last five days before the full moon), several characters of both sexes ask him if he's insane — apparently Neanderthal females have a reputation for spectacular PMS... The Neanderthal women in the community have synchronized cycles (which is biologically believable); the main male Neanderthal character is surprised to find out that human women don't, and the human in question is embarrassed by the fact that he noticed her bleeding by his good sense of smell.
Theodore Sturgeon's short-story "Some of Your Blood" features a non-supernatural vampire. You figure it out.
In Bloody Jack, the main character is a Sweet Polly Oliver who panics at not only her first period, but several after that, as she's joined the navy and is stuck on a ship with absolutely no one she can trust to ask about it. When she gets shore leave, however, she goes and finds a brothel, gets some answers, and after that her period is never mentioned.
In the Kushiel's Legacy series, the women of Terre d'Ange don't have menstrual cycles like other folk, being of the line of Elua and all. In order to birth children, D'Angeline women have to pray to their goddess of healing, Eisheth, to "open the gates of their womb." This also explains how they can have rampant sex without pregnancy.
In the novel "Naamah's Kiss", the fact that Terre d'Ange women do not menstruate is explicitly established, and creates problems for the main character, a half-Alban half-D'Angeline woman.
It also comes up in "Kushiel's Mercy" when the Dauphine is brainwashed and forced to marry a foreign prince. Said prince attempts to get the Dauphine pregnant several times but fails because they skipped the "pray to Eisheth" part that triggers menstruation.
The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. Renn gets her first period offscreen, but a red bar is tattooed on her face to acknowledge it. When she reunites with Torak (Who's been on the run for a few months) it's one of the reminders of how long he's been away and how much he's missed.
In Catherine Called Birdy, a medieval girl who doesn't want to be married to a stranger says she doesn't even have her "monthly courses" yet, so how can she be any kind of wife anyway?
A Prayer For Owen Meany features a church scene in which a mischievous little boy leaves a Bible under his sister's seat... and it seems both the timing and the circumstances were bad.
In Flowers in the Attic, Cathy is forewarned of her coming menstruation by her mother during a visit and is given some basic supplies.
And in VCA's Butterfly, Janet misses a big dance audition due to the onset of her period, which sends her foster mother into a nervous breakdown.
Melissa in Coram Boy is bedridden for several days because of her first period.
In Cynthia Voigt's fantasy novel The Wings Of A Falcon, a character guesses that the innkeeper is a woman in disguise, since he has seen him burying the cloth rags that women use in their period.
Nerilka, heroine of a Dragonriders of Pern novel, illustrates the closeness of her relationship with her best friend by mentioning that, as teens, they would cycle in synchrony.
Jame, the protagonist of P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, is never seen to have a period; however, this is justified in that she is of a non-human but humanoid race in which females have conscious control over conception; if this also inhibits ovulation, no periods would be a logical consequence. Also, although Jame is in her late teens when the series begins and is in her early twenties in the more recent books, the age of majority for her kind is twenty-seven, and until recently she had no sexual interest whatsoever; she may also simply be not sexually mature yet.
There's a part in Seeker's Mask where Jame attempts to convince the Kendar guards that people are trying to kill her, but the normally-invisible mere cloth they wear just looks like a bloody rag, hence, "The Caineron captain had dismissed it with a glance: "That time of month, is it?" as if some suspicion of hers had been confirmed." Poor Jame.
Connie Willis's science fiction short story "Even the Queen" revolves around a character's decision to have a normal period, in a future world where most women don't.
In The Long Secret, Beth Ellen wakes up, sees a spot on her sheet, and spends most of the morning panicking, until her "very Victorian" grandmother calls her in for a talk, which includes some rigmarole about rocks. Fortunately, her scientifically-minded friend Janie gives an accurate explanation.
In June Oldham's 1980s YA novel Enter Tom, the title character buys the female protagonist "a lifetime's supply" of tampons, which take up most of the space in her bedroom. She is not impressed by his gesture, even after he explains the maths to her.
Ursula Vernon's book Black Dogs avoids this trope. When the characters are shopping for supplies pre-adventure, one of the older women asks Lyra if she's brought anything to manage her period. When Lyra replies that she hadn't got that far, they go shopping for some sponges and cloth that will work while traveling, in addition to the normal adventuring gear. They also stop by the local apothecary for some (essentially) morning-after pills, "just in case."
In Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, a box of rags is mentioned briefly as a hiding place. The main character doesn't want to be told what they're for, but he almost certainly already knew. Again, after bringing a woman from the past into the present, he briefly thinks of all the things he'll have to explain to her, among which are tampons... which he decides to let someone else explain instead.
Rachel from The Hollows mentions that she hasn't had her period in years. Considering that witches are often stated to be genetically very different from humans (and often implied to have physiological differences concerning the genitalia), it's no surprise that their menstrual cycle would work a bit differently.
In The Mirror, by Marlys Millhiser, Brandy (in 1900) and granddaughter Shay (in 1978) get body-swapped by the family heirloom mirror. Shay has problems when she has no idea how women in 1900 handled period sanitation, which her/Brandy's mother-in-law explains to her. Brandy misses this problem because Shay's pregnant at the time of the swap, and by the time Shay's cycle returns to normal (after the events of the book), Brandy will have had time to find out about tampons and maxi-pads.
Alexander Pope's Older Than Steam mock-epic, The Rape of the Lock, never mentions womanly bleeding by name. However, at one point the narrative goes on a journey to the Cave of Spleen, where reside all the afflictions and bad tempers that affect exclusively young women. We all know exactly what he's talking about there.
In the Russian fantasy novel Valkyrie a plucky rural girl gets herself into a warband. She successfully becomes a full-fledged warrior but in a moment of rumination over how scrawny and stringy she became from all the extensive training she also reflects that: "This year her body only reminded of its nature once or twice. As if it knew already that that its part wouldn't be needed anymore."
In the Black Jewels series, a female's moontime is a minor, but reoccurring plot point. While witches don't lose their powers while menstrating, they can't use their powers without excuriating and debilitating pain. This leaves the females dangerously vulnerable to hostile males because males can detect the scent of moon's blood and know when a witch is unable to protect herself. So when a female is having her moontime, her male relatives become fiercely protective. There are extensive Protocol (social rules) for dealing with such situations, especially when Warlord Princes are involved because Warlord Princes, already extremely aggressive and protective, manage to became even more aggressive and protective at these times — i.e., strangers and non-family members run a very serious risk of being killed for merely being in the same room as a female in her moontime.
Night Watch. The main hero Anton and his female colleague Olga happend to swap bodies. Pestered by Anton's complains Olga teasingly says he should happy it didn't happend a week later otherwise she'd have to tutor him in the ways of pads. Anton retorts with a straight face that as a TV-watching adult he knows that pefectly: you pour some acid-blue liquid on the pad and then squeeze it in your fist.
Lois McMaster Bujold's books cover this trope it in various ways. In the male-narrated books it tends not to come up at all, but it's mentioned in passing in most of the female-narrated ones. Except for the more technologically backwards locations/times (i.e. Barrayar before Miles' birth), the widespread availability of contraceptive implants works to subvert the trope in the Vorkosigan Saga. However, it gets a fair amount of coverage in her Sharing Knife series.
The male protagonist of these series (far from being squicked) is very forthright and deeply concerned by Fawn's periods, bringing hot rocks and healing magics and hovering in worry. Since the first time they met Fawn nearly died from a violent miscarriage, he's got reason to be worried.
In Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex, the main character does not have periods when she should (with good reason) and, not wanting to be thought abnormal, manages to fake one for some time (by asking for tampons, pretending to feel ill, etc.)
In The Baroque Cycle, Daniel Waterhouse discovers actresses discussing their monthly issue and then depositing a used rag on the ground discussing how the academics they're entertaining in Cambridge would probably want to study it, which Waterhouse and his colleges then proceed to do.
In Tinker by Wen Spencer, Wrench Wench Tinker carries a pad in her pocket because "it's a good sterile bandage and it holds twice its weight in motor oil". When a half-dead elf is dumped on her doorstep, she improvises bandages out of pads and duct tape. But when she asks her male cousin to go shopping for her, he agrees to buy everything except her "female things". She exasperatedly replies that they don't bite and everybody knows they're not for him, but her embarrassed cousin still refuses.
In the sequel, Wolf Who Rules, Tinker thinks she might be pregnant because she hasn't had a period in a while. Another woman explains that she doesn't need to worry about periods for some time because of a spell that altered her body's physiology.
In "Inhuman" by Eileen Wilks, there's a brief moment when Nathan is setting Kai up with all the supplies she'll need to hole up for a few days, and she notices the supply of tampons. She's touched by his consideration and wonders how many men would treat it as a matter of course, instead of being shy or squicked about it.
In the Gemma Doyle trilogy, Gemma, Ann, and Felicity do have periods, and it's a plot point in book 2 for no apparent reason other than to add realism to the books' coming of age themes.
In his essay "On Thud and Blunder" Poul Anderson complains about one little known consequence:
A stallion is notoriously hard to control, and, by the way, is not safe to have around a menstruating woman. (Of course, [heroic fantasy] heroines never seem to menstruate, which may account for the fact that they don't get pregnant, no matter how active in bed.)
The Sweet Valley franchise, particularly Sweet Valley Twins. In one book, a tomboyish character is dismayed to get hers, thinking it means she has to start doing "girlish" things and give up playing baseball. In a later book, Elizabeth gets hers and Jessica is upset because she hasn't as yet, though she does by the book's conclusion. Also a plot point in yet another book where Jessica is reluctant to testify about a convenience store robbery in court because she was buying tampons at the time.
In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series, the Lizards are fascinated with human sexual behaviour (we don't breed like animals, having no need to be in heat to copulate) and force captured humans to have sex with each other in order to see how long they'd keep it up. One of the protagonists is a woman who becomes pregnant while in this program and delivers a baby, a process that is described to thoroughly Squick out the Lizards observing this... but despite this and the fact that humans in this programs are kept naked and under observation all the time, not once is menstruation mentioned.
In Everworld, tampons are among the limited supplies in April's backpack when she crosses over into Everworld. Senna lets her mask slip just enough to express relief at this fact. The first book also mentions April giving some of her Tylenol (or Advil, I can't remember) to a Viking woman who was having cramps, which made her and her husband rather happy.
In the Gone series by Michael Grant, periods aren't mentioned much after a part in the first book where Astrid and Sam are going grocery shopping and Howard, who by Caine's law had to look at their list first, mockingly asks Astrid, "Tampons? What size?". It's mentioned again in Plague by Diana, although she's thinking about how her periods have stopped.
In The Copper Elephant by Adam Rapp, Whensday gets hers and, considering she's an uneducated, runaway child After the End, only has a vague memory to go by as to why she's even bleeding from there. As with the rest of the book, her lack of knowledge leads to some rather gruesome descriptions.
In The Tomorrow Series, Ellie comments at one point that she's running low on supplies. Later on, she remembers how she and her BFF tried to synchronize their first periods, but failed.
In one of the Union Club Mysteries by Isaac Asimov, Giswold points out that the female suspect they are looking for (who has been shown to be fanatical about stockpiling supplies she will need) must be post-menopausal as there were no products for dealing with menstruation in her apartment.
in Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough For Love Lazarus Long briefly panics over whether he has any feminine hygiene products on board his spaceship after getting an unexpected female passenger. Luckily it turns out he has a very old tin of napkins kicking around, and it doesn't take long for the necessity to go away when said passenger gets pregnant by another passenger, but he swears to himself he will never go in to space again unless fully equipped for all possibilities.
In several other Heinlein stories in the same universe, Lazarus Long's childhood family would have a special day for each female at the onset of her first period, a tradition he continues with his own female children. The male child closest to that girl's age would be designated her 'attendant', responsible for pulling out her chair at dinner among other duties. One such holiday which he initiates becomes a Saturnalia or a fertility festival in several concurrent timelines, after he travels back in time to visit his childhood family as an adult, and actually creates the first tradition that he remembers from his past.
Cursor's Fury in the Codex Alera series, when Amara joyously tells her secret husband and lover, Bernard, that she's late. It turns out to be a false alarm, and she spends a chunk of the epilogue complaining about her monthly cycle going on anyway.
Fire by Kristen Cashore. A world where monsters are drawn to the blood of others of their kind, this makes the human-monster Fire's time-of-month both dangerous and awkward - she needs a whole entourage of guards to protect her when she goes out, and the whole village knows why. And then, she has to ask permission of Prince Brigan to explain to his five-year-old daughter why she gets attacked by monsters every month.
James Joyce's Ulysses: in the "Nausicaa" episode Bloom thinks Gerty MacDowell might be having her period; in "Cyclops" someone compares Bloom to a menstruating woman; in "Oxen of the Sun" we learn that a nurse at the hospital has gone "nine twelve bloodflows" without ever having a child; and in her famously unpunctuated final monologue, Molly Bloom gets her period. As part of the backstory, we also learn that the last time the Blooms had sex was the night their absent daughter, Milly, got hers for the first time.
Stephen King's The Tommyknockers. The alien spaceship the Havenites are digging up affects them in a manner similar to radiation sickness, which means the female characters are almost constantly menstruating heavily, which is graphically described in the narrative many times.
Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber consists of a variety of feminist retellings of classic fairy tales, complete with many, many references to periods throughout. That includes the title.
In Mikhail Akhmanov's novel Call of the Abyss, during the debate between the scientists of whether it's a good idea to include a woman in the first manned mission to Mars. Among the other problems (like having one woman among five males on a voyage that takes many months either way), they mention that she wouldn't be a very useful crewmember at a certain time of the month. It's mentioned again (in the same vague manner) on the next page, where it's decided to pick a woman who's "just right" (i.e. not too old, not too young, not too beautiful, not too ugly) and who doesn't have migraines on those "special days". Quite by coincidence, the woman they end up picking (a doctor) also happens to be psychic and is the first to receive "the dreams".
Played straight whenever a female character spends much time on-page in the Lensman novels. It's most noticeable with the Lyranians, who are indistinguishable from human females and don't wear clothing, thus can't hide those initial drops that warn a human to get the maxipads. Clarissa spent several months on Lyrane, and complains about the problems doing laundry on a world with no clothes, but never says anything about running out of sanitary napkins.
In Planet Of Adventure, Pnumekin (human servants of an alien race) are given drugs to suppress menstruation and fertility. Zap 210 gets hers several months after being kidnapped-slash-rescued by the hero.
Periods are mentioned several times in matter-of-fact ways in Tales of Kolmar. When Lanen gets pregnant, she notices hers are coming later and much less strongly than usual before they stop.
In Tyra Banks' Modelland, the girls admitted to the school have their menstrual cycles halted.
Kingsley Amis, in his critical work The James Bond Dossier rather prissily points out that even if every woman Bond meets wants to have sex with him, at least a quarter of them "should be unavailable" due to it being "that one week of the month".
A Brother's Price: When a man is found raped and murdered, an investigator sees blood on his penis and concludes that at least one of his rapists was a virgin or menstruating.
Averted in Trainspotting. Of the four chapters in the novel in which a woman is the central character, two of them refer explicitly to the character in question menstruating. One of these features a waitress doing something rather unpleasant to the soup of a rude customer.
In one Star Doc novel, Cherijo is being held by a Navajo tribe led by Jericho, her brother (actually, they're both clones of their "father"). When he not-so-subtly expresses his wish to have sex with her in order to bestow upon her his "gift" (syphilis, which some Indian tribes considered magical), she claims that she's "unclean". Jericho immediately moves away from her in disgust. Despite taking place in the future, the "tribe" that has gathered has reverted to old Navajo traditions.
In John Birmingham's Axis Of Time, a multinational naval force from 2021 is transported to 1942. After the "uptimers" and the "'temps" meet, the "'temps" are surprised (and many are disgusted) about the number of women in the fleet from the future. When asked if "that time of the month" is problematic, a British female captain replies matter-of-factly that torn limbs and gaping wounds resulting from battles are usually more of a problem than a tiny trickle of blood once a month. Later, field reporter Julia Duffy (an "uptimer") is in the middle of a pitched battle. When a friend and colleague contacts her, Julia starts complaining about the battle and finishes off with "on top of that, I'm PMSing", or something like that.
The Hunger Games: There is never any mention of what the female tributes do if they get their period in the arena. Do sponsors send them tampons? While some girls are too young to have their period and some are no doubt too underweight it's hard to believe that out of more than 900 female tributes over the duration of the Games not a single one had their period.
Particularly in the second book when Katniss is pretending to be pregnant, if she had suddenly got her period, and it would have been noticeable given the amount of time the tributes spent in little clothing, the entire plan would have been scuppered.
There's no way they would just let a contestant go to the arena with such a crippling disadvantage. They probably are given pills or a procedure to suppress it. Although it's never mentioned, so the problem probably just doesn't exist in this universe. It is briefly mentioned by Katniss that none of the male tributes grew any facial hair in the arena, so it's likely that similar precautions were taken with the girls- got to look attractive for those sponsors.
Averted in The Red Tent, (whose title refers to the tent in which the women isolate themselves during menstruation) in which characters' first periods are a cause for celebration and ceremony. It's even mentioned how the women manage their flow (straw, in case you were wondering).
Toyed with in Eva Luna. Eva stops menstruating as a teenager after Zulema's suicide; she mentions that to Riad Halabi before their single night and speculates it's due to the trauma but doesn't make a fuss out of it, though Mimi insists she must go to a doctor. She "recovers" her menstruation later, seeing it as a sign that she's not afraid of falling in love anymore.
Live Action Movies
In "Roots, the Next Generation," this is completely averted several times. A woman pays close attention to her daughter, telling her that she knows the girl isn't pregnant because she knows she got her period. Later, the same woman asks another woman if she's upset because she missed her period and would therefore be pregnant.
Live Action TV
A later episode of According to Jim finds the main character dealing with one daughter's jealousy over the other daughter's getting her first period.
In Babylon 5, after transforming into a partially human form, Delenn gets help from Ivanova in managing her new head of hair. Later, as the two of them are boarding a lift, Ivanova volunteers to help with any other "questions". Delenn asks her about "these odd cramps" she's started having. As the doors close, Ivanova gives Delenn a look of sympathy with overtones of "Oh, no...." As well as a quick cutaway gag, it also served as an important piece of plot foreshadowing by suggesting that her hybrid human/Minbari form had a fertile human reproductive system.
In My Wifeand Kids, the father is horrified to discover on the morning of a family trip to some historical site it's 'that time' for both his wife and daughter. He tells his uncomprehending son, 'Let's just say that the colonial is not the only period we are going to be experiencing today!'
In Teen Wolf, this is averted with female werewolves.
Peter: "Don't feel bad, if she lives she'll become a werewolf. She'll be incredibly powerful."
Stiles: "Yeah, and once a month she'll go out of her freakin' mind and try to tear me apart."
Peter: "Well, actually, considering she's a woman...twice a month."
A dialogue in Season 2 gives us this lovely exchange:
Derek: "There's a price you pay for this kind of power. You get the ability to heal; but tonight you're going to want to kill anything you can find."
Erica: "Good thing I had my period last week, then."
In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon goes shopping with Penny, and observes that she only buys one months' supply of tampons at a time. He suggests that if she buys in bulk, she'll save money — 'they don't spoil'. He eventually starts marking her periods on his calendar.
The show brings up the topic fairly often since Amy joined the cast. In one of her first appearances, she mentions she wears feminine hygiene products at all times, "To avoid unpleasant surprises". Amy also expresses her wish that her and the other women's (Penny and Bernadette, mostly Penny) "mensies" will sync up.
It's actually "menses" - just a fancy technical term for saying "periods".
Blake's 7 In one of the early episodes, a prison guard tells Jenna that the prison ship doesn't have any "female facilities." Three guesses to what he's referring to—then again, Jenna is the only female prisoner.
Blossom The first episode of revolves around this, as the writers decided to get that issue out of the way early (and work a Phylicia Rashad guest spot in). On the DVD commentary, the creator said this is why the Disney Channel never ran the show.
In Buffy the Vampire Slayer this trope is mostly in place, despite the majority of the main cast being female. Only a couple of times are periods ever referenced in seven seasons: Xander going through Buffy's purse in search of a stake and being horrified to discover a tampon; Willow telling Oz, in response to discovering he's a werewolf, that "for a few days a month, I'm not so fun to be around, either"; in "School Hard" when Cordelia references "that time of the month"; when Willow complains to Buffy that none of the girls in her Wicca group are actually witches ("Blah blah Gaia, blah blah moon, menstrual life force power thingy"); and in season 7 alluded to by Andrew when talking about Slayers.
Xander: I will pay you to talk about Star Wars again.
In Californication Becka gets her first period while she's staying with her father, a few hours before her mother's wedding. They rush to the nearest convenience store to buy the last package of tampons. Hilarity Ensues.
On Carnivāle Rita Sue puts off husband Stumpy in bed by saying "Red tide's in." It's probably a fib since she's angry at him and also - at his own suggestion - cheating on him, but the subject is still addressed.
Inverted in an episode of Charmed when all the sisters have their period at the same time and, predictaby enough, act a bit Out of Character (or is it temporal Flanderization?) for the entire episode: Piper becomes crankier, Phoebe becomes whinier and Paige becomes jumpier. When other, magical, stuff happens to them, they write it off to "that time of the month". The fact that the Moon became blue for a few nights doesn't bother them at all. Also mentioned in the fourth season, when Piper (who's been trying to conceive) seems kinda down and finally admits "my period was a little late this month and I got my hopes up." In Season 6, when Phoebe has the power of empathy, she mentions having PMS for all three sisters.
There's also a discussion with Jenny, the teenage niece of their neighbor/Piper's Temporary Love Interest Dan. She told him her "time of the month" was coming and he bought sanity napkins and nothing else. Piper bravely went forward to explain his mistake to him.
In a CSI: Miami episode, a teenage girl disappears from her bedroom in the middle of the night and the only sign of a struggle is a small pool of blood on the sheets. It took the CSIs a disturbingly long time to figure out that the girl had started her period during the night.
One wonders exactly how the Doctor's female companions broach the subject whilst traveling with him. It must be pretty awkward for a young human woman to ask a centuries old male Time Lord about pads. As it has never come up in the show, we still don't know how they handle that.
In a later episode of The Cosby Show, youngest daughter, Rudy, gets her first period. Her mother, Clair, declares a "Women's Day" to celebrate it and to answer any questions Rudy might have. Rudy doesn't want to talk about it.
Dark Angel has one episode where Jessica Alba is acting like a cat in heat due to her feline DNA, though no actual period is mentioned. It's possible that she instead has an estrous cycle. And then in the "Female Trouble" episode, the character Jace mentioned that most females at Manticore aren't allowed to keep their periods and the few that are is for scientific purposes, so this is intentional on Manticore's part.
Degrassi has mentioned periods for all the standard exceptions (first period for Emma, pregnancy for Manny and Emma, Adam's secret coming out to Clare and Eli). Worth noting Emma's first period wasn't played as her being confused at what was going on, just embarrassed as she was entirely unprepared for it. The only time they mixed it up a little was when Emma was worried she was pregnant Manny brought up the late period. Since the two lived together they were in sync, and Emma didn't have a tampon when Manny asked for one. Which got Manny worried.
In the first season of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, Dr. Quinn's 14-year-old adopted daughter Colleen gets her first period, and since her mother died in the premiere, she is ignorant about what is happening to her. In a perhaps not unrealistic portrayal given the show's setting (late 1860's), Colleen thinks she is dying because she's "been bleeding for three whole days", leading to her being told the "facts of life" by Dr. Quinn's own mother, who has come to visit. Almost a Very Special Episode, but partially subverted by the medical doctor adoptive mother of a teenage girl's obliviousness to the situation, even though it is revealed later in the episode that Dr. Quinn was 14 when she got her first period. Toward the end of the series, poor Colleen suffered more menstrual trauma when she grew frightened about missing several periods, thinking that if Dr. Quinn knew, she would think Colleen was pregnant. Subverted in that instance by Dr. Quinn's explaining that a woman's cycle can be thrown off by emotional or stressful situations (Colleen was studying to attend medical school). In another episode, Dr. Quinn's friend Dorothy assumes she's pregnant when she doesn't get hers, only to have it turn out to be menopause. Later still, a patient admits that she's never had one, having been told it's because she's too "delicate". It turns out she was born without a uterus.
Referred to in an episode of Friends where Joey and Chandler are trying to guess the contents of Rachel's handbag; Chandler whispers something in Joey's ear and Joey replies "no, not for another two weeks".
In another one, the others ask Joey if he has a particular date available. He looks through a schedule book and says that he's free. Then he says, "Hey, that's the day after I start menstruating." Awkward silence. "...this isn't mine."
In another episode, Monica uses her period as an excuse for erasing messages on Richard's answering machine - only to be mortified when she discovers that she actually change his outgoing message, letting all his callers know she's getting her period.
On Freaks and Geeks — when Cindy and Sam start to become friends she tells him about getting her period, which freaks Sam out because he doesn't know much about the whole menstruation thing. In another episode, Kim references her period when talking about why she had such a crappy day.
Green Wing averts this: Martin complains that his new girlfriend wants sex constantly, even during her period — Guy replies "You're not a man until you've got blood on your sword."
In an early Grey's Anatomy episode, there is a Running Gag that George needs to buy tampons for the women he lives with, and how this is one in a list of ways they "unman" him.
House: a 6-year-old patient presents with menstrual bleeding; the team wonders if she might have cancer, prompting this exchange:
Cameron: "If menstruating is a symptom of cancer, I should be getting chemotherapy right now." House: "Now that's ridiculous. You're way too skinny to be menstruating."
The show has also featured mentions of Cameron's PMS, as well as House (for reasons unknown) keeping track of Cuddy's menstrual cycle and inquiring rhetorically on the differential diagnosis for using Super-Plus tampons after encountering a box of them in the bathroom while searching Cuddy's house. Mentions of periods related to the Patient of the Week are also occasionally present as appropriate to the case.
iCarly: Spencer had to go a drugstore once to buy some "supplies" for Carly. They promise never to speak of it again.
Played for comedy in The IT Crowd, where Jenn had a rather angry period and male co-workers Moss and Roy started feeling its effects on themselves, and eventually, thanks to Moss' naivete and some online teasing from fellow techno-geeks, computer technicians all over the world began rioting in sympathy. The following exchange also occurred between Jenn and constantly depressed Goth Richmond:
Jenn: You don't think you're affected, do you?
Richmond: I might be, actually. I've been feeling pretty moody; not my cheery self at all.
Jersey Shore averts it in one episode on Season 2. It had a big plot point on Angelina leaving a dirty menstrual pad on the bathroom floor. It ended up underneath her pillow, courtesy of The Situation, who also called her "dirty little hamster". Previously, she uses "her time of the month" as an excuse for not having sex with Jose.
An episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit had a serial rapist that kept track of his (numerous) victims' menstrual cycles, because his entire intention to raping them was to impregnate them.
There's also an episode where the police find blood on the sheets of a rape suspect. He explains it away as blood from the woman's period, saying that they had sex anyway.
For the most part, LOST keeps to the rule, rather than delving into the inconvenience of twenty or more women of childbearing age being trapped on an island with no feminine supplies. However, in season 4's "Eggtown," Kate, who has been worried she might be pregnant, is suddenly certain she isn't, and mention is made that she and Sawyer abstained that night.
At the end of another Horrible Camping Trip in the third season premiere of The Middle, the daughter wakes her mother up to tell her she's finally gotten her period for real after faking it for the previous two years. While this subverts the usual handling of menarche on sitcoms, and is in keeping with Sue's character, it's a little implausible that her mother wouldn't have noticed the absence of any stains during that time on her daughter's underwear, given that the series regularly shows Frankie doing the laundry.
The blessing soon becomes a curse for Sue when a bear attacks their campsite because it can smell the blood.
An episode of Murphy Brown had the title character acting crabbier than usual, leading to Miles asking the question, "Is it the 18th already?"
Corky also mentions that it would be a good idea to "Circle the 18th. We all do."
In the very first episode, Murphy says that she has "very bad PMS".
The Nanny surprisingly has a number of these. For example, using the words "female problem" to repel men from the room, intentionally or not. Max also mentions once that he was counting back twenty-eight days from the last time Miss Fine was mad at him, only to learn that she still has a week (Niles comments that it'll give him something to look forward to).
The episode "Once a Secretary Always a Secretary" had Grace asking Max why she wasn't on her cycle when all of her friends were only to have Max say he'd be happy to buy her a bicycle. Later, he asks Fran about it, to which Fran replies "I'll tell her the longer her friend takes to visit, the happier we'll all be." Grace then walks by angrily asking why they're out of Nutter Butters. Fran says to Max, "Welcome to hell, honey."
Played with by The Physics Of Giving, where Gary thinks that periods and PMS aren't that unpleasant, but are made to sound terrible as a conspiracy by women so that they can conquer the world.
In an earlier episode, Rimmer in the holographic body of Kochanski tries to explain his odd behavior by saying "I'm having a woman's period."
7th Heaven: Oh, where do we start? Well, there's when Ruthie doesn't want to tell her parents about hers because she knows "there'll be tears, crying, a special dinner that ends with Dad buying me feminine products." This doesn't lead to her parents respecting her wishes and responding in the way that makes her most comfortable, but to the Family Unfriendly Aesop that this is important to her parents and she should go along with them!
There's also the first episode, which centres around Lucy looking forward to hers. Her reaction is the opposite of Ruthie's.
Several episodes of Sex and the City mentioned it or used it as a plot point. In one episode, the central characters note that they all got their periods at the same time. In another Samantha thinks that she's menopausal because she's late. It later arrives while she's having sex, much to her delight (and her male partner's horror).
Katie from Skins notes in her S4 episode that she hasn't had her period for a while, and assumes it's pregnancy; after checking with her local family planning clinic, it turns out be down to the onset of premature menopause.
One of the last Taxi episodes, "Simka's Monthlies", hinges on her crippling PMS keeping her from the appointment with the immigration board she needs to attend to become an American citizen.
The Thorn Birds has a scene where a Catholic girl gets her period and panics, believing herself to be dying.
During a party on The Young Ones, Rik once found a tampon in a young woman's purse. Not only did he fail to recognize what it was, he unwrapped it in the mistaken belief that it was a 'present', then innocently played with the parts, in front of a room full of party guests. (In the DVD commentary, the show's writers were astounded that the BBC censors hadn't made them cut the scene!)
Rik: Oh look, a little mousie! Mousy, mousy, mousy... (dances it along the mortified girl's arm) Would Mousy like a little drink? (dips it in her drink) Oh look, it's swelling up!
When Sally had her first date on 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dick arranged for a practice date with Harry. When Dick suggested she tell Harry something personal about herself, she launched in with "once every lunar cycle, my uterine lining sloughs itself and..." before Dick interrupted to say "that may be too personal."
In the Community episode "Collabortive Calligraphy", Annie ends up searching Abed's bag and finds out he has been charting their menstrual cycles. Turns out, it started with him just trying to figure out why there were certain times every month when they were more irritable and didn't realize what he was doing until later.
On Roseanne, tomboy Darlene wasn't too thrilled by getting her first period, acting moodier than usual, and when Roseanne asked what was really wrong, yelling that "I got my period, okay?!" and darting out of the house to play basketball. Reactions from her family went from Jackie cynically noting that Darlene's attitude made sense given that she had "just been sentenced to thirty-five years of monthly inconveniance" to Dan being told the news and then later awkwardly patting her on the shoulder and telling her "Good going." It turns out Darlene was mostly upset because she was under the impression that "becoming a woman" meant she couldn't keep being a tomboy or enjoy playing sports (and watching them with her dad). Roseanne sets her straight about women being able to do all those things if they want.
In another episode, it's discovered that DJ is embarrassed because he's getting erections in class. Roseanne tried to make him feel better by telling a story about getting her first period at a school dance while wearing a white dress. DJ ran out of the room screaming.
An episode of Modern Family featured all three Dunphy women synching up for the first time, terrifying Phil with a perfect storm of hormones. His attempts to tip-toe around the issue without actually talking about it to them only serves to piss them off at his insensitivity.
Was discussed on The Golden Girls in the ep where Blanche went through menopause, with one or two 'first time' stories and Blanche being scared of 'the curse' as a girl.
Averted in Girls. Marnie and Hannah swap stories about the regularity (or lack thereof) of theirs, and Jessa's unexpected period on the way to her appointment at the abortion clinic makes the appointment irrelevant.
In a newer episode of Outer Limits a young cadet is asked by a new captive how long she has been held. She says three months, if her cycle was still regular.
Played ridiculously straight on Full House, considering that there were three girls living in the house, at least one of whom (DJ), undoubtedly reached the age of menarche at some point in the show's tenure and Stephanie likely reached this age too.
In R Kelly's Trapped In The Closet, Officer James' wife claims she is acting strangely because "maybe it's that time of the month". Officer James is unconvinced, and no wonder: it is later revealed that she is three months pregnant.
Type O Negative's song "Wolf Moon" is all about this, complete with lycanthropic and vampiric references. Bloody good tune!
The song "Marry Me" by Emilie Autumn, about an arranged marriage between a young woman and an ugly, old, presumably wealthy man, has this line:
Then I break a glass and I slit my own innermost thigh/So that I can pretend that I'm menstru- well, 'unavailable' [for sexual relations].
Stephen Lynch has a song letting young men know what the warning signs are, and to "go down to the old pub instead".
"Now the pub is the place where the lads are a-meetin' When the moon's full and the gals are a-bleedin"
A Dilbert strip mentions this by implication. Alice wants a day off to see her doctor, and the Pointy-Haired Boss refuses until she starts vaguely describing her condition as a "woman thing". The Boss quickly agrees and runs away with his hands over his ears looking panicked. Whether this was Alice's actual condition or just a method of getting her way is left unaddressed.
In another strip, Alice apologizes for her bad mood, saying that it's almost time for her "friend" to visit. Dilbert doesn't understand, and says that a visit from a friend should be a happy occasion. Alice is not amused...
In On The Fastrack, Patina Welding got her first period in 2007, at age twelve...much to her father's discomfort.
Religion and Mythology
At least one Bible story mentions Rachel, wife of Jacob, faking a period so she can get out of having her saddlebag searched. (Since this is before the days of tampons and maxi-pads, one can see why the guards searching her were hesitant to press the issue.)
Also, the ancient Hebrews (and many other cultures) regarded menstrual blood (and the woman shedding it, and anything she touched) as ritually unclean, making it even easier to understand.
Judith pulled the same stunt when she and her maid infiltrated the army camp of the Assyrians to assassinate their leader Holofernes, hiding his severed head under their period rags as they left the camp, ostensibly to wash but actually to bring back the trophy to their own people.
In fact, when the apostle Paul tells us that all his good deeds and general funkiness are "as dirty rags" compared to his faith in God, this is the kind of rag he's referring to. The same applies for Old Testament prophets.
As a matter of fact, if you've ever wondered what the Jamaican insults "Bumbacloth" and "Bloodcloth" come from... look no further.
In the Mahabharata, during the infamous dice game, Draupadi is mentioned as resting in a designated area for menstruating women.
Jeff Dunham has joked about "that time of the month" on several occasions.
Jeff: Does your wife have any super powers?
Melvin: Well... once a month, she becomes evil and I cannot defeat her!
Walter also once commented that his wife, "Got on her menstrual cycle and ran my ass over."
Margaret Choclaims she was ambivalent at first, but now talks about it all the time.
She also claims that if men got periods they would never shut up about them. "And if gay men got periods...what do you mean If?"
Jo Brand had (until she got a bit more mainstream and a bit older) a reputation for talking about periods all the time. Like Ben Elton's alleged Margaret Thatcher fixation, it was somewhat exaggerated in popular memory (though she still doesn't pass up the opportunity to make period jokes on QI.)
Twelfth Night, Act I, Scene Five, William Shakespeare, in the words of the Countess Olivia: "If you be not mad, be gone; if you have reason, be brief. 'Tis not that time of moon with me to make one in so skipping a dialogue."
Baby, a musical which follows two pregnant couples and one who is trying but failing to conceive starts with the "trying" couple believing that the woman has gotten pregnant because her period is late. When they see a fertility specialist, he explains that her overachiever jock lifestyle is the cause of her missed periods and that she should simply reduce the number of miles she runs per day to smooth things out.
In Grease, one of the female characters has a minor crisis because her period is late and she doesn't know how to tell he boyfriend she might be pregnant. It is referred to in 50's euphemisms: Menses is "having a visit" (presumably from Aunt Flo) and the possible consequences of its lack are simply "PG".
At the end of the show, she discovers she isn't "PG" when she asks her boyfriend if they can stop at the drugstore becuase "she's getting her friend".
The musical Quilters, about the life of pioneer women in the 19th century, has a sequence where four girls just entering puberty ask each other "Have you?" The first girl who answers yes has the other three run out on her yelling "Ewww!" then prays to Jesus about all the various ways "the curse" is making her miserable and how she wants it to go away. But then two more girls get it, and the fourth is left to pray about how she wants it to happen already.
In a story called "Hate Thy Neighbor" from issue #42 of The Belch Dimension Comics, Jonathan Sweet muses about feeling "about as useless as Batgirl on her period". Cue cutaway gag featuring Barbara Gordon bowing out of a mission because of cramps and demanding the Dynamic Duo "bring [her] back something salty".
In Baten Kaitos, one of the flashback cutscenes involves Lady Melodia getting her first period and it's played out that it's the sign that she is now the rightful heir.
One dialogue in the middle of the first chapter of A Dance with Rogues references the PC's period, much to Anden's embarrassment. It comes up a bit more often in the second chapter.
Rin: I'm having my period and I need some help regarding that. However, I don't feel that our relationship is yet on the level where I could allow you to pull my underwear down in the girl's toilet even if you offer to.
In The King of Fighters, it's implied that every month, Leona has one Hell of a PMS. Makes sense: Orochi heirs awaken their demonic side when their/other heirs' blood is drawn; so, since women have their blood drawn every month... Yeah. It's even clearer at her team's ending in the 2002's edition.
In Persona 3 a conversation on 6.8 notes something was effecting Yukari's mood during the monorail incident they are talking about the full moon, but the comparison seems to be purposeful
In The Order of the Stick#29, Haley temporarily splits from the team and discovers a treasure hoard, which she promptly appropriates for herself. Roy attempts to call her on this, finally demanding to know what is in the large bag of holding (labeled "Haley's Loot" and with gold glittering on top) beside her. Haley calmly responds 'feminine products', to which Roy's reply is to swear loudly and storm off.
Later, in #380, Sabine (a succubus-like demon/devil) excused herself claiming it was "That time of the century". Her friend was somewhat surprised, but chose not to press the issue. ("The red knight is requesting lodging" is probably as good as euphemisms get, by the way).
Brought up AGAIN by Haley in strip #720: "Think how testy I can get, and I'm only the 'Empress of Blood' a few days a month."
The Drowtales author explained that drow (and elves by extension) do not get periods. This is justified, given that they are The Undying and upwards of a thousand years of menstruation is a definite disadvantage and would likely leave them barren within a few decades. In a related case (or not?), Drow females have a hard time getting pregnant as it's not necessarily assured even at the best of times, so it takes multiple sessions if you really want it.
One of the major factors in Tuck and Debbie's breakup was that Debbie had been having severe cramps that night, and had taken both painkillers and alcohol to ease them; this left her in too unstable a state of mind for the events later that night.
One night, when Valerie was changing at Rachel's apartment, Rachel commented that it was Val's period. Use at least 1cc of lubricant for anal sex, and go very slowly at least the first time.
During a house party at the Tuckers, Tuck noticed blood on the dress of one of the freshman girls, and tried to discreetly take her aside to mention it. Hilarity occurred.
So far averted in the Whateley Universe; this may in part be because for some of the protagonists, who have only recently turned female as a side effect of their mutation, their first period is a pretty big deal. (Fey's first bout with PMS was particularly memorable, thunderstorms in the hallways of the dorm and all.)
Jobe's ideal woman has complete control over when she menstruates.
Subverted in The Guild, when in the second season it's revealed that Codex's harmless Stalker with a Crush Zaboo has printed up a calender to keep track of some rather personal information. She's...not happy.
Subverted in the Youtube High School Musical parody Private High Musical, in which the first musical number is called First Period, and it's about Sandy getting her first menstruation in front of the whole class... on her first day at school
This was averted only once in the entire twelve year history of the Global Guardians PBEMU Niverse, in a story in which the happily married superhero Geomancer and his wife were trying to have a baby. Except for that single storyline, the subject of menstruation was never mentioned. Ever.
Foxy from Dead Ends ends up getting hers right in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse while her group is being hunted down by a crazed group of rednecks. She doesn't even bother to mention it and it ends up effecting absolutely nothing.
This fan video of Umineko No Naku Koro Ni mashes up the song "Down To The Old Pub Instead" with scenes of Ange bleeding near her knees and feet to make it look like she really had her period, when she was actually going to die.
Amazingly enough, Grossology doesn't mention this in any of the episodes, despite one of the Grossologists being in junior high school. Most likely, this is related to its keeping the TV-Y7 rating.
6teen has an episode dedicated to the boys dealing with the girls who are on their periods. One eats lots of chocolate, one gets irritable and one is cramped. They even have a discussions about how their cycles have synced up which proves that they are such good friends and then go buy chocolate and tampons. Also, all of the men are horribly squeamish about the whole thing. All in all, it was a remarkably open episode about a normally taboo subject.
The King of the Hill episode "Aisle 8A" was all about Hank's neighbor's daughter Connie getting her period — and all the chaos that ensues because of it with Hank being the only person around when it happens.
As with other touchy subjects, periods are often fodder for humor in South Park:
In the Halloween episode "Spooky Fish" Stan receives a visit from his Aunt Flo, leading to the inevitable jokes about her visiting his mother once a month.
Cartman once mentioned that Kyle's mom "gets a hair up her ass" once a month.
In "The New Terrance and Phillip Trailer", Stan makes a deal with his sister to get her tampons so he can see the titular trailer, as she wanted to watch Buffy instead. The TV blows up, the boys run around town looking for another and forget about the tampons entirely, leading to them breaking in and being washed away by a tidal wave of menstrual fluid.
The infamous "Bloody Mary" episode centers around a statue of the Virgin Mary that miraculously bleeds out her ass. Under closer inspection, the Pope declares that the blood is coming from the vagina, and that there is nothing miraculous about that, because "chicks bleed out of their vaginas all the time."
In "Are You There, God? It's Me, Jesus" the boys think they are having their period, when it actually turns out to be stomach flu.
In "Towelie", while at Stan's house, Cartman discovers a used tampon which he mistakes for an aborted fetus in the garbage. In an effort to get the kids to never mention the tampon again, Stan's mother buys the kids a video game system, the Okama Gamesphere.
In "Summer Sucks", the Mayor's aides have to field a press conference, claiming her to be sick. When the reporters complain about how lame an excuse that is, one of the aides announces "She's having her period!" and they all go quiet.
In the movie, Bigger Longer & Uncut, Mr. Garrison claims that the South Park mothers are "probably all on their periods or something." Wendy and Gregory call him sexist, to which he replies that he "he doesn't trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn't die."
Cherokee Hair Tampons.
Made and promoted by Cheech and Chong, no less.
One more: after her sex change operation, Mrs. Garrison spends most of an episode announcing to everyone she sees that she can't wait to get her period. When she doesn't, she decides she must be pregnant and gets excited about having an abortion.
Drawn Together handles this with the usual grace and sensitivity when promiscuous Foxxy Love is surprised to see she's gotten her period. Implied is that Foxxy has never been non-pregnant enough to cycle normally.
The Robot Chicken episode "Slaughterhouse on the Prarie" shows what happens when She Ra Princess Of Power has her period while the usual problems arise. There were no survivors. (Or almost none, anyhow.)
During a flashback on Family Guy Peter announces Meg's first period to the entire neighborhood during the middle of the night. Quagmire responds that though the news is very hot, he'll deal with it in the morning because now he wants to sleep. In another episode Stewie buys an On The Raggedy Anne doll that shouts abuse at him when he pulls her string, saying that he'll at least get to play with it three weeks out of the month. And in another episode, Meg rushes into a marriage with a doctor who she falls for because she has shown signs that he impregnated her... but at the last minute before walking to the altar, she reveals that she had her period and must have read her pregnancy test incorrectly. In still another episode, Stewie reads a book that explains the menstrual cycle, and he reacts with extreme revulsion, saying "that's the most disgusting thing I've seen in my entire life!"
Brace Face had an episode in which the main character gets her first while hanging out with her male friend. But she doesn't know that was the reason she had abdominal pains, so they ended up calling an ambulance. When it turns out she was just having her period, she's reasonably embarrassed, and her friend is nice enough to try (and fail) not to make the situation even more awkward, saying "[sanitary napkins] make good mattresses for your action figures, like when you want them to camp out..."
When they played reruns on Disney Channel, the episode was skipped entirely.
In an episode of The Cleveland Show Roberta tells Rollo that she's having her period but he doesn't know what that means, later he wonders why she's spending so much time in the bathroom and peeks in the garbage he freaks out at the blood and thinks she's dying so he does everything she says.
Code Monkeys The episode "Just One of the Gamers" contains the Sweet Polly Oliver variant. Mary disguises herself as a guy named Mitch and, while in the bathroom, runs into several situations where she has to come up with a quick explanation, one of which is a tampon on her shoe, which she explains as having been making out with a chick in the girl's bathroom.
American Dad The episode "1600 Candles" has Stan and Francine, terrified at the fact that Steve has entered puberty, recall Hayley going through puberty and her first period. While her parents cower against the wall, Hayley screams, "What do you mean every month?!"
She then refuses to wear pads or use tampons and procedes to sit down on her parents' pure white couch.
Averted in Mary Shellys Frankenhole. Victor gives himself functioning female genitalia, at the end of the episode he looks down his pants and asks for tampons.
The Kumari, pre-pubescent girls worshipped in Nepal, are considered to be incarnations of a badass goddess. The goddess is thought to leave a girl's body the very moment she starts menstruating, and a new girl is chosen as Kumari.
Probably one of the greatest wishes of most female humans between the ages of 10 and 60.
It might not top the list for men's wishes, but many would share the sentiment (out of either sympathy, self-interest, or both) if they weren't terrified to bring it up.
Achievable with birth control pills. In fact, standard birth control pill regimens are designed to avert this by having placebo pills for one week out of the month to give something like a natural period. Lately birth control products designed to give fewer periods or none at all have entered the market. Not uncommon with a birth control shot.
Even if the allowance is made to give the user a period, it will usually be shorter and lighter than otherwise. For this reason the pill is often used by women who are not having regular sex but do suffer from severe cramps.
If someone is on hormone blockers for whatever reason, that can stop their periods. If you're a trans man, periods typically stop not too soon after beginning testosterone.
Likewise, trans women do not start to get periods.
One of the compensatory benefits of a hysterectomy. If the ovaries are left intact women can still have a measure of PMS due to hormones still being present.
Achievable by lowering the body fat percentage below a certain limit, either by excercize or losing weight.
Many female athletes, when in peak physical condition, no longer have periods. On the other hand, large portion of women tends to have periods started by higher physical activity, because amount of fat in the body is an important consideration in how one's cycle works, as well as stress and how much higher the physical activity is.
Similarly, many female supermodels, because they're so thin and malnourished, stop having periods. This is not a good thing.
It is claimed that if the shop mannequin dummies were real women, they would be too thin to menstruate.
Indeed, it is one of the criteria for the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa. When a woman is starving to death, the body recognizes that it's having enough trouble supporting itself, so there's no way it can support another human and shuts off the reproductive system.
Both averted with a vengeance and demonstrated by women in the Navy; generally, those who don't lose their cycle while on ship have worse cycles than they've ever had before.
Many mammalian species never have periods, as their estrus cycles work quite differently from those of humans.