Friday, December 24, 2010

Celebrate Menstruation

Some of the comments over on Candice's post The Hymen reminded me of when I first got my period. I was youngish, 7 or 8 I believe. Certainly none of my friends had started menstruating yet. And I was so *embarrassed*. Admittedly, it started while we were at an air show and I thought that I had heat stroke and was dying (I got very, very sick - in retrospect I think it was a combination of being over heated and the cramps, etc. that come with ones period.) before we got home and realized what was going on.

My question is, why don't we celebrate a girls first menstruation? I'm not talking about taking out ads in the papers or throwing a party, but something within the family, acknowledging it as a special time. It's a good thing, it marks a huge step on the road to physical maturity and (in my experience) people tend to treat it like it's something secret and shameful. For me it was just a list of things that I couldn't do anymore while I had it. It was a bad thing, a restriction. I knew all about where babies came from and what it meant physically, but that didn't make it any better.

Hell, we celebrate lost teeth, so why not this?


  1. Great idea! Have you read the book Cunt? A lot of it is about this idea.

  2. I think some cultures do celebrate it. I wonder if our not talking about it/shamefulness issues goes back to the conservative era -- was it Victorian -- when they were super weird about body stuff. I think even piano legs were covered so as to not provoke people to consider human legs.

    Yeah, it's a bodily function that half the world's population deals with so why is it sometimes cloaked as something secret and/or shameful? Hmmm

    Wow,you were so young! Did you feel ready for marriage at that age? I know some cultures think women are ready for marriage when menstruation begins.

  3. Zuhura,

    I have never even heard of that book. I'll have to look into it though. Any excuse to add to my reading list! :)

  4. Susanne,

    Some do. But I *think* (though I could be wrong) that they are rare and tend to be the more 'primitive' ones. But in this case I'd say they've got the right idea.

    *giggle* Oh, yes, the Victorians. They have *much* to answer for. But I think this one might go back to whoever first decided that menstruation made a woman *extra* unclean as opposed to just the ritual uncleanliness of any bleeding. *eyes imaginary historical man*

    No, I didn't feel ready for marriage at that point, but then I wasn't raised to think that menstruation was the demarcation between childhood and adult hood. We're not raised in that culture. I don't think that girls who begin menstruating are automatically ready for marriage. And I base that solely on the physical problems that can occur, let alone the psychological ones. I know that, at that age I physically couldn't use tampons because they were too large. They simply would not fit. (Now I know they make smaller ones but at the time I only had access to regular sized ones.) And a tampon is much smaller than any penis I've ever seen so I can't see how one can claim that menstruation alone makes a girl ready for marriage.

  5. isnt it what a Bar mitzvah is for? (I cant spell that... correct where you want...).

    There is probably a hallmark card for it.

    making a mental note for any future daughter I have. Book in lady day...

    Of course I could do what my mum did and completely ignore all of it and hope for the best...? I seem to have survived it.

    Talking of this. have you read the book red tent?

  6. *headslap* I forgot all about Bat Mitzvah's. *googles* It's a celebration of coming of age, so yeah, it counts. :)

    And now you've given me the name for it. 'Lady Day'!

    Oh, well all survive it in spite of some questionable parenting choices in the matter for some of us. It just annoys me that we seem to have collectively decided that it's a *secret thing*.

    I have actually and I loved it a lot.

  7. Great idea! I felt so upset when I menstruated. I am trying to make it positive for my daughter who hasn't reached puberty yet. I don't want her to go through the guilt I did just because I was not a child anymore.

  8. Suroor,

    I know a lot of women whose first period was very traumatic for a variety of reasons. Most of which boil down to poor handling in one way or the other by the parents. I'm putting Lady Day out there as an alternative to the trauma and this weird sense of guilt so many of us seem to get. :)

  9. Lady day should have a build up, of chats about what is going to happen. and then when it comes, I think if it is a school day you should call in sick and do lady things together.

    to take her mind off of it all (cramps etc). so a manicure, pedicure and then to the movies and dinner. Girl bonding day. it should be code with the teacher also, Lady Day. means back off and dont ask what was wrong...

  10. Slice,

    Yeah, this is sort of all assuming that the parents have prepared the kid for what's going to happen. Not ignored it like maybe it just would go away if they didn't talk about it. :)

    Preparation, understanding that it's going to happen and that it's a good thing. And then when the day comes, yeah. A girly pampering day. :)


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