Women wearing white: Discourses of menstruation and the experience of menarche
This study examines how dominant societal discourses of menstruation are appropriated, rejected, or interpreted as adolescent girls make meaning of their menarche. Thirteen women ages 18-21 participated in flexible in-depth interviews to retrospectively recount their menarcheal experience. A variation of the Reading Guide was used for primary data analysis, which identified four themes highlighting girls' ambivalence regarding menarche. Participants were conflicted at menarche about their putative status as 'women'; used imprecise, distancing language when discussing menstruation; engaged in material and discursive practices of concealing menstruation; and referenced a community of menstrual suffering. Further, discourse analysis of participants' talk suggests their continued discomfort. We argue that girls experience menarche ambivalently in relation to menstrual taboos, body shame and emergent womanhood. Negative discourses of menstruation and women's bodies converge to set girls on a problematic gendered trajectory at menarche that can be expected to inform meaning making and experiences across the lifespan. © The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav.
Feminism and Psychology
Jackson, Theresa E. and Falmagne, Rachel Joffe, "Women wearing white: Discourses of menstruation and the experience of menarche" (2013). Psychology. 800.