They are misfits. Witches. Children. Just a few of the labels used to portray menstruating women over time. The Bible has described the bleeding woman as undergoing “customary impurity”. In the Middle Ages, it was thought that women menstruated to release “sexual overflow”. Their counterparts in the Victorian era were told that a period would deplete their body’s precious resources. Twentieth century feminists worked hard to reclaim menstruation as a vital and positive part of womanhood. IDEAS producer Mary O’Connell explores menstruation from a cultural and historical perspective.