Indeed, for many menstruating people and those around them, periods are still a taboo subject, as they are sometimes seen as dirty, impure, something not to be talked about. The aim of this article is to use sign language to help you overcome this taboo and communicate discreetly about periods . Because the taboo surrounding periods has dramatic consequences for menstruating people, not least by contributing to their isolation.
So let's get started with a few notions of sign language to teach you how to sign around periods !
Signing "j'ai mes periods " in sign language
We start with the phrase "I have my periods ". To make the periods sign, simply take your hand in 5, i.e. with the 5 fingers unfolded, and bring your middle finger forward, i.e. bend it and point it towards you. Position it below your chest and make several downward movements, i.e. like a drop falling down. So that's periods.
To sign j'ai mes periods for the first time, you point to yourself to say "me", then repeat the sign " periods ", to which you add "première". To sign "première", simply hold up your thumb to say "un". To do this, take your fist and just stick out your thumb. Use your thumb to move up and down. Once your thumb is in the air l, shake it once. This is the "first" sign.
Finally, for the "times" sign, make a cross sign with both index fingers, which in fact represents the mathematical sign for multiplication.
You now know how to sign "I have my periods for the first time".
Sign "I have painful periods " in sign language
To express that you have painful periods , we start with the sign " periods ", to which we add "avoir mal" (to be in pain). To sign "to be in pain", you take your fist again, from which you pull out your thumb. Then place your thumb on your chin and rub your chin with your thumb in a downward movement, i.e. from top to bottom.
The importance of facial expression is essential here, as it modulates the pain. If you make this sign with a neutral face, you're in pain, but it's bearable. Conversely, if you make this sign with a very tense face, on which you can feel the pain, it means you're in a lot of pain. Between these two extremes, there's a wide range of possibilities for expressing your level of pain.
You now know how to sign "I have painful periods ".
Signing "I need sanitary protection" in sign language
To ask someone for sanitary protection, you'll start by expressing the "protection" sign. To do this, position your right hand at a right angle, as if making a duckbill. Your left hand should be flat under your right hand. Then take it down a notch to express the word "protection".
Then, for the "hygienic" term, you put your two hands with the fingers "in 3", i.e. thumb, index and middle fingers unfolded while the other fingers are folded. You cross your arms and then pull as if you'd grabbed a string, so your three fingers are glued together and your right hand is opposite your left.
So you know how to say "sanitary protection".
And as you're asking, you'll add the " s'il vous plaît", which will make it clear that this is a question and that you're asking someone for something. To do this, you take your hand in "B", i.e. flat, with the inside facing the person, and position it level with your cheek. Then move your hand down your cheek to " s'il vous plaît".
Every time you go to sign, you show up if you're going to talk about yourself. So if you're talking about periods, "I've got my periods ", you'll point to yourself and go " periods ". And if you're asking someone for sanitary protection, you're going to add the pointing at the end or the beginning towards the person to let them know that they're being asked.
You now know how to sign "sanitary protection s'il vous plaît".
Signing "do I have a task" in sign language
To ask if you have a task in sign language, first make the "buttocks" sign. To do this, place your two hands in a 5-shape, with your five fingers unfolded and the inside facing the person. Then lower one hand while raising the other land vice versa.
Then for the "task" sign, you're going to give the person the sign 3 with your thumb, index and middle fingers. It's worth noting that normally, when we ask if we have a task, we make this sign three directly on ourselves. But here, as you've positioned your buttocks just before, you're going to make the three sign facing the person.
In addition, you'll use facial expressions to show that it's a question by making a facial expression that s'questions.
Now you know how to sign "do I have a task?
Signing "go to the infirmary" in sign language
To ask if you can go to the infirmary in sign language, we'll start by saying the word "infirmary". To do this, take your closed fist, stick out your thumb, and with your thumb draw a cross on your shoulder. This cross refers to the cross of the infirmary, or to be more precise, the armband worn by nurses on their shoulders.
To express "go", you take your two index fingers starting from you and move them forward with an upper-body movement towards l.
You now know how to sign "go to the infirmary".
What sanitary protection should I use for my periods ?
Our menstrual lingerie collection is ideal for living your periods as serenely as possible. Made in France from certified organic cotton, our menstrual panties contain no chemical substances harmful to your health or to the planet! Our absorbent technology protects you from leaks, and the anti-bacterial properties of our eucalyptus fiber absorbent zone prevent unpleasant odors.
You now have the keys to communicating discreetly around periods thanks to sign language. If you'd like to learn more about sign language, we invite you to get in touch with sign language training centers. And for your periods, you can always protect yourself with our menstrual panties!
If you'd like to take a closer look at the signs, you can watch our YouTube video on the subject!