I am interested to explore how different cultures experience a girls first period. In our modern western society, menstruation is generally regarded as taboo, something that is talked about privately amongst women - and is a burden or a little gross. I imagine that first menstruation was celebrated by tribal society, that it was publicly recognised and honored. The girl becoming a woman. I would like to gather further research on this ritual and how ideas of female sexuality has changed over time from a position of power and mystique to degradation.
'When women and girls view their bodies as powerful sources of wisdom, profound healing occurs at the individual’s physical, emotional and spiritual level.' (Kelly Rose Mason)
From the website: 'The Red Web Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting a positive societal view of girls' and women's bodies and menstrual cycles from first menstruation (called menarche) through menopause. Members of The Red Web Foundation form a network of women committed to promoting menstrual health in their personal and professional lives. These 'menstrual health advocates' offer a diverse range of products, workshops, and educational materials and include artists, mental health professionals, businesswomen, mums, students, teachers, and health care providers. The Foundation is committed to including a diversity of cultural views and experiences of the menstrual life cycle. We honor individual and cultural practices of the present day and the past which promote a healthy outlook for women and society.'
From the website: 'A period is one name for the monthly bleeding or menstrual cycle of reproductive aged women. The period happens because pregnancy did not happen and the lining of the uterus, which got thick with blood to prepare for pregnancy, is lost because it is not needed.
More hormones will make the lining thick to prepare again to become pregnant. The whole point of having periods is to be able to get pregnant. Blood and tissue build up in the inside of the uterus to get ready for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not happen then the hormones drop and bleeding begins. A woman loses about 2-4 tablespoons (25-60 ml) of blood each month. Ten percent of women lose 80 ml or more blood with each period and anaemia (low blood count) can result.'
From the website: 'The Center for Young Women’s Health (CYWH) is a collaboration between the Division of Adolescent & Young Adult Medicine and the Division of Gynaecology at Children’s Hospital Boston. The Center exists to provide teen girls and young women with expert medical and surgical care, special programs for teens, and carefully researched health information.
Puberty is the name for the time when your body goes through changes and you begin to go from being a child to an adult. Your hormone levels change and you develop breasts and start your menstrual periods. You grow taller all of a sudden. Puberty usually starts between 8 and 13 years of age. During puberty, the same basic things happen to every girl. But the time when these changes happen is different for every girl. These changes are normal and healthy and are all part of becoming a woman. They are something to celebrate!'
Topics include What Happens During Puberty, Late or Early Breast Development, Timing of My Menstrual Period, Why I Get My Period and What it Feels Like, PMS Premenstrual Syndrome, Pregnancy, Menstrual Cramps, Guide to Using Your First Tampon, Alternative Menstrual Products, Sports and Menstrual Periods, Your First Pelvic Exam: A Guide for Teens.
Page Title: 'My First Period: Evolution, Culture, Health, Feminism,
Puberty, Sex Education for Teen Girls, Statistics, menstrual Taboo, Female
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Analyse any human emotion, no matter how far it may be removed from the sphere of sex, and you are sure to discover somewhere the primal impulse, to which life owes its perpetuation. ... The primitive stages can always be re-established; the primitive mind is, in the fullest meaning of the word, imperishable. ... Mans most disagreeable habits and idiosyncrasies, his deceit, his cowardice, his lack of reverence, are engendered by his incomplete adjustment to a complicated civilisation. It is the result of the conflict between our instincts and our culture. (Sigmund Freud)
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Karene (September, 2012)
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