We Need More Menstruation Celebration
Originally published May 11, 2020
You’ve heard of birthday, graduation, and holiday parties; but what about period parties? It’s not what you might think—a period party isn’t an occasion where you dress up from a different time period. Instead, it’s a celebration of a girl starting her journey into womanhood. In today’s world, there’s a certain negative stigma surrounding periods and menstruation. Our patriarchal society often encourages menstruating women to be ashamed of their periods because they’re “weird” and “gross,” and as a result, many women hide them and rarely speak of their existence. But why should we feel ashamed about a natural body function? Why is talking about periods considered taboo or “unladylike?” According to the New York Post, while in their youth, women experienced period shaming an average of three times. As a result, 62% of surveyed women associated shame and embarrassment with their periods when they were younger, leading to a negative outlook on them later in life. Now that these women are mothers, 72% of them want to encourage body and menstrual positivity with their daughters but are unsure how. One possible solution: Throwing a period party to celebrate a girl’s journey into womanhood. Period parties don’t have to be extravagant events. Whether it be an intimate get-together or a flashy menstruation celebration, the important thing is that a girl’s first period is being celebrated. By throwing parties like this, mothers everywhere are changing the narrative surrounding menstruation and showing their daughters that periods are nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of. If a girl’s first period experience is positive, she will be more likely to have positive experiences in the future. When supermodel Tyra Banks was 15, her mom threw her a period party. As quoted in the New York Post, Tyra’s mom, Carolyn London, described it as a celebration “of womanhood and an acknowledgment of passing into another realm.” According to Tyra’s book Perfect Is Boring, the invited guests had never talked about their periods so openly and were able to ask questions to better understand their changing bodies. Together they learned that periods were nothing to be ashamed of, and there was nothing wrong or dirty about their bodies. The first step to changing society is to start a conversation, so let’s start with normalizing the conversation about periods. At the end of the day, menstruation is a natural bodily function that should be treated no differently than sweating or sneezing. Parties are used to celebrate an important milestone or event, so why wouldn’t we celebrate the day a girl becomes a woman? Find out more about period parties here and here.
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Madelyn Armes is a sophomore at UCLA double-majoring in English and Clarinet Performance. In addition to academics she is a lifeguard, an active sister of Tau Beta Sigma, and the tenor saxophone section leader in the UCLA marching band. When school is out of session, you can find her making friendship bracelets, recording music, and watching vintage sitcoms. Instagram: @m.armes