Policing a Menstrual Monster: How Working Class Girls Discuss their Menstrual Reactions and Experiences
Much of the research on menarche and menstruation has been conducted with white, middle-class, heterosexual participants. The purpose of this study was to investigate among a group of urban, working-class participants how social identities shape girls’ construction of their preparation for menarche, emotional responses to the event, and subsequent menstrual maintenance practices. Fifteen adolescent girls (ages 11-16) participated in flexible in-depth interviews meant to explore their family and life history, their menarcheal experiences and menstrual practices, and transition to womanhood more broadly. Thematic analysis of the data revealed three significant themes highlighting how participants made sense of menstruation. Participants discussed a culture of silence around menstruation which contributed to their feeling poorly prepared for menarche; noted negative and uncontrollable emotional reactions to menstruation; and expressed embodied suffering and efforts to engage in self-policing in order to take back a perceived loss of control of their bodies. It is argued that more research taking into consideration how social identities can impact the experience of menarche is needed to create sensitive and informed education that targets the unique needs of working-class adolescents.
Jackson, T.E. (2018). Policing a Menstrual Monster: How Working Class Girls Discuss their Menstrual Reactions and Experiences. Journal of Youth Studies, published online June 27, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1080/13676261.2018.1492100
Virtual Commons Citation
Jackson, Theresa E. (2018). Policing a Menstrual Monster: How Working Class Girls Discuss their Menstrual Reactions and Experiences. In Psychology Faculty Publications. Paper 107.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/psychology_fac/107