“I got my period.”
It’s one of those statements that stops middle-school girls in their tracks. When whispered to a bestie or group of friends, it’s often followed with a flurry of questions: “What does it feel like?” “Does it hurt?” “Are you using a tampon?” “Is it scary?” “Aren’t tampons scary?”
During middle school, when the majority of girls get their periods for the first time, there is plenty of anxiety about menstruating. Know what’s not helping? The fear-inducing way that media showcases girls getting their periods. Lauren Rosewarne, a lecturer at The University of Melbourne, analyzed 200 examples of representation of menstruation in the media and found periods were largely “treated as traumatic, embarrassing, distressing, offensive, comedic or thoroughly catastrophic” to women and girls.
We see it regularly on TV and in movies when male and female characters judge young women for acting “crazy” or being “overly sensitive” by announcing it “must be that time of the month.” Usually this is accompanied with a judgmental eye roll or giggles. Ads in magazines pray upon girls’ huge fear of bleeding through their pants, alerting the whole school there is a “PERIOD ALERT.” Check out this ad from Playtex sure to freak out girls and grown women.
Go one step further…
Give her the opportunity to strike back against negative media messaging around periods by joining our MEDIAGIRLS to say knock off the scare tactics using our #xomg campaign. Here’s how one of the girls in our program marked up another ad by giving a no-way “X” to it, which we share on social media. If companies know girls aren’t buying into these fearful messages, they’ll change them, and girls learn the power of their voices.