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Understanding menstruation: Influence of gender and ideological factors. A study of young people's social representations

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Abstract

This research investigates social representations of menstruation. It analyses firstly how young Spanish people understand menstruation in their everyday lives. And secondly, it explores how gender and ideological factors (liberal vs. conservative; feminist vs. non-feminist) impact on the meaning of menstruation and its implications for acceptance of this process. A free association exercise elicited by the word ''menstruation'' was answered by 250 people and the content was examined by lexical analysis. The results divided social representations of menstruation into two levels: firstly, a traditionalist level that is clearly linked to a negative stigmatized discourse about menstruation; and, secondly, a progressive level where two different discourses emerge, one representing liberal men and the other representing feminist women. The results show that only the feminist conception of menstruation provides an empowered and emotionally positive representation. The concept of menstruation is concluded to emerge from various sources of information, values and social conventions that are somewhat removed from its scientific meaning. The representation of menstruation is therefore understood to be situated within a social, ideological and emotional context. Accordingly, health education campaigns should frame their discourse about menstruation within a feminist perspective as their point of departure, thereby increasing their effectiveness.

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... However, although menstruation is a natural biological mechanism, it is still a source of negative prejudice and numerous stigmatizations. Despite the evolution of mentalities -menstruation has long represented stigmas of bodily abominations, imperfections and marks associated with marginality and deviance (Johnston-Robledo & Chrisler, 2013) -the negative view of menstruation persists, both individually and collectively (Barrington et al., 2021;Gouvernet, 2020;Marván et al., 2017;Mondragon & Txertudi, 2019;Sveen, 2016). ...
... Psychological problems may increase the difficulties in accessing menstrual protection. These difficulties, in turn, would weaken self-esteem due to the persistence of negative stereotypes and preconceptions related to menstruation (Barrington et al., 2021;Gouvernet, 2020;Marván et al., 2017;Mondragon & Txertudi, 2019;Sveen, 2016), associating menstruation with deviance and/or imperfection (Johnston-Robledo & Chrisler, 2013). Only longitudinal studies would provide insight into the direction of effects between the two variables. ...
Article
Accepted for publication. We investigate the relationship between period poverty and anxiety and depression in women aged from 18 to 50 years in the context of the first French covid19 lockdown. 890 participants completed an online survey. Anxiety was assessed with the General Anxiety Disorder scale, depression with the Major Depression Inventory. 9.6% of participants experienced difficulties accessing period protection during the first lockdown. Among the women experiencing period poverty, 49.4% showed depressive symptoms compared to 28.6% of the women who had not experienced menstrual poverty, 40% showed anxious symptoms (vs 24.1%). The relationships between period poverty, depression and are significant even in adjusted models controlled by sociodemographics variables (depression: AOR = 2.191 [1.372 - 3.499]; anxiety: AOR = 1.793, [1.110 - 2.897]). As clinicians, psychologists or social workers, it seems interesting to go beyond the first symptoms of depression and anxiety and question the patients’ access to menstrual health products.
... En ce début de 21 e siècle, c'est désormais du côté de l'hygiène que les menstruations sont davantage pensées. Quand bien même les mentalités ont évolué, l'image négative des menstruations n'a cependant pas été évacuée totalement, tant individuellement que socialement (Mardon, 2009 ;Mondragon et Txertudi, 2019). Dans une étude expérimentale menée auprès de 65 étudiants âgés en moyenne de 19,62 ans, Roberts et al. (Roberts et al., 2002) montrent ainsi que le simple fait qu'une femme fasse tomber de son sac un tampon conduit à une appréciation globale négative de celle-ci, une évaluation négative de ces compétences et une tendance à éviter la proximité avec elle, comparativement à une femme qui fait tomber de son sac une pince à cheveux. ...
... Ces émotions peuvent traduire l'évolution des mentalités au cours du 20 e siècle et en ce début de 21 e siècle. Elles sont cependant deux fois moins représentées que les émotions négatives, rappelant, comme souligné ailleurs (Mardon, 2011 ;Zwang, 2011 ;Mondragon et Txertudi, 2019 ;Shallcross et al., 2019), que l'évolution des mentalités n'a pas complètement modifié les représentations de la féminité, des menstruations ou de la sexualité féminine. Cet impact émotionnel est-il lié au contenu du message ou est-il le résultat de la mécanique publicitaire, ou de twitter en lui-même ? ...
Article
A l’appui des théories des représentations sociales et de la littérature scientifique traitant des représentations de la sexualité féminine et des menstruations, nous proposons une analyse des réactions à la publicité #VivaLaVulva pour les protections intimes Nana™ publiées sur twitter. 21 833 tweets publiés entre le 07 et le 14 octobre 2019 sont étudiés. Des analyses lexicales sont conduites afin d’identifier les émotions dominantes et les mettre en relation avec le contenu des tweets. L’impact émotionnel de la publicité Nana™ est manifeste. Les émotions liées à ce message sont très majoritairement négatives, fortes et violentes. Conformément à nos hypothèses, ces émotions négatives résultent de l’influence conjointe du média (la publicité), de l’objet du média (les menstruations) et du contenu du message (la vulve). La présence simultanée de l’évocation des menstruations et de la sexualité potentialise les réactions émotionnelles négatives, de même que le contexte familial. Les résultats sont discutés au regard des théories des représentations sociales. Des perspectives pratiques sont abordées. Introduction Drawing on social representation theories and scientific literature dealing with representations of female sexuality and menstruation, we propose an analysis of reactions to the #VivaLaVulva ad for intimate protection Nana™ published on twitter. Method The contents of 21,833 tweets published between October 07, 2019 and October 14, 2019 are studied. Lexical analyses are conducted in order to identify the dominant emotions and relate them to the content of the tweets. Results The emotional impact of Nana™ advertising is clear. The emotions linked to this message are mostly negative, strong and violent. According to our hypotheses, these negative emotions result from the joint influence of the media (the advertisement), the object of the media (menstruation) and the content of the message (the vulva). The simultaneous presence of the evocation of menstruation and sexuality potentiates negative emotional reactions, as does the family context. The results are discussed in reference to the theories of social representations. Practical perspectives are discussed. https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1afbw47L6E5t4H https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1158136020300049?via%3Dihub
... Thus, many people are attuned to menstrual cycles and take note of changes as potentially indicating other underlying health concerns. For many people, menstruation matters for reasons beyond current conceptive intentions: Menstruation relates to their experiences of gender and gender dysphoria, to their intuitive connections to bodily processes, and to their fears and embarrassments surrounding menstrual stigma (58,64,65). Therefore, unexpected and unplanned menstrual changes can cause concern, distress, or other negative responses, in addition to discomfort and physical pain. ...
Article
Early in 2021, many people began sharing that they experienced unexpected menstrual bleeding after SARS-CoV-2 inoculation. We investigated this emerging phenomenon of changed menstrual bleeding patterns among a convenience sample of currently and formerly menstruating people using a web-based survey. In this sample, 42% of people with regular menstrual cycles bled more heavily than usual, while 44% reported no change after being vaccinated. Among respondents who typically do not menstruate, 71% of people on long-acting reversible contraceptives, 39% of people on gender-affirming hormones, and 66% of postmenopausal people reported breakthrough bleeding. We found that increased/breakthrough bleeding was significantly associated with age, systemic vaccine side effects (fever and/or fatigue), history of pregnancy or birth, and ethnicity. Generally, changes to menstrual bleeding are not uncommon or dangerous, yet attention to these experiences is necessary to build trust in medicine.
... Examining Facebook users' comments on the menstrual metaphor, I found that the metaphor has been elaborated and extended to offend either the Brotherhood or the user who invented the metaphor ("source-internal creativity"). The results are in line with a study by Mondragon and Txertudi (2019), which found no gender differences among young Spanish people in the most negative representations of menstruation and which showed that a more positive representation was associated with a feminist ideology. ...
Article
This study focuses on the menstrual taboo in the context of political discourse. It has been claimed that taboo words directly ‘trigger’ mental models, and thus referring to an obscene object can threaten the recipient’s face or social identity (i.e. it can trigger an impoliteness judgement). Euphemisms may therefore be used to avoid the creation of a mental model of the face-attacking state of affairs. Often, these euphemisms are metaphors and metonymies―some of which have culturally positive overtones, while many others have negative connotations. Euphemisms for menstruation and menstruation as a metaphor target have gained much attention in social cognition or communication studies. What is far less explored is the reverse mapping, that is, the use of menstruation as a metaphor source domain (to describe or reason about politics). The present study, using data from the Egyptian press and social media, aims to rectify this. This data will be approached with the literature on impoliteness in mind. As we will see in this article, metaphorical descriptions of an opposition movement (the Muslim Brotherhood) as a menstruating woman may instill relevant negative emotions such as anger, not only among out-group members but among pro-government fanatics. As sexist insults, menstrual metaphors involve social identity face. Clearly, the menstrual taboo relates to gender (social group membership) and hence to things people often have much face invested in (i.e. to core identity claims). However, it can also instill positive emotional reactions such as laughter. It is then argued that the enjoyment of a taboo metaphor as such relies not on gender, but on ideological beliefs. One may be a radical feminist and a pro-government activist at the same time. Having discussed the specific emotions associated with menstrual metaphors, this paper concludes with an examination of how I have arrived at a decision that the data I am analyzing is both humorous and impolite.
... The Reinert method using Iramuteq software for lexical analysis (Reinert, 1983(Reinert, , 1990) was employed to analyse the text corpus. The researchers that have used the Reinert method in the field of social representations (Idoiaga & Belasko Txertudi, 2019;Idoiaga et al., 2021;Kalampalikis, 2005;Klein & Licata, 2003;Lahlou, 2001) have empirically demonstrated the capacity of this method to analyse these through symmetries created between the lexical world and the shared representations. Moreover, Iramuteq software eliminates problems of reliability and validity in text analysis (Klein & Licata, 2003), and it makes it easier to account for the specificity of the representations brought to light (Aubert-Lotarski & Capdevielle-Mougnibas, 2002). ...
Article
This study aims to analyse 1002 children's and adolescent's reasons for going to school alone or accompanied and to explore how parents influence their choice. The findings revealed that children who could go to school alone feel that their parents trust them more. Moreover, children who live close to school are more likely to commute autonomously and those who do so feel their environment is safer. Finally, there are significant gender differences in autonomous travel to school, largely due to parental influence. In conclusion, there is a real need to work with children and families to develop targeted interventions to support the normalisation of children's autonomous walking and to address the fears of parents.
... The Reinert method using Iramuteq software for lexical analysis (Reinert, 1990) was employed to analyze the corpus of text. Iramuteq software eliminates problems of reliability and validity in text analysis (Idoiaga & Belasko, 2019;Reinert, 1996). This method is based on the premise that words are not independent of each other but reflect underlying themes. ...
Article
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Background Incest remains one of the great taboos of contemporary society. Secrecy is also crucial in this type of sexual abuse against children, and many victims do not disclose their testimony. This situation changed, when in France in mid-January 2021, the #MeTooIncest movement emerged, and thousands of victims began to reveal the abuse they had suffered as children. Objective To analyze the discourse on Twitter regarding this hashtag to understand how incest abuse has been dealt with through social media debate. In so doing, we expected to identify the main elements that could explain how people have symbolically constructed and engaged with childhood sexual abuse in general and with incest abuse in particular. Participants and setting In total, 20,556 tweets with the hashtag #MeTooIncest written in French were selected by streaming API from January 14 to February 15, 2021. Methods Their content was analyzed by lexical analysis using Iramuteq software (Reinert method). Results Victims found a space for disclosure in this movement, where they felt believed, protected, and supported. This movement also embraced the victims of celebrity abusers, denouncing them and calling for their exclusion from public life. Likewise, at the societal level, this movement pushed for changes in public policies to protect children and emphasized the importance of breaking the public silence or secrecy about incest abuse. Conclusions This wave of testimonies represents a turning point as it has broken the law of silence and allowed the victims to exist in the media space without being questioned.
... Further, taking a psychology class on lifespan development increased women's and men's knowledge of menstruation and fertility issues (Sohr-Preston, 2015), and taking classes with feminist content problematized traditional gender scripts and provided a critical lens for viewing medical models of health and well-being that often downplay women's health issues (Grose et al., 2014). Finally, college students who identified themselves as feminists held fewer negative attitudes toward menstruation than did those who rejected the label "feminist" (Mondragon & Txertudi, 2019), and students who expressed higher levels of hostile sexism were significantly more likely to be disgusted by menstruating women than students who did not express such sentiments (Chrisler et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Accurate biological information about menstruation is crucial for menstrual health literacy. A diverse group of students (N = 125) at a large southwestern US university estimated—by pouring liquid into containers—the amount of menstrual blood produced during an average menstrual period. Only 14% could give a relatively accurate estimate, whereas 55% overestimated by at least 65 ml. Further, 7% gave extreme overestimations of one liter or more. Gender and race did not impact accurate knowledge, but queer/pansexual participants and women’s and gender studies or social justice majors were significantly more accurate. Implications for health education and recognizing heavy bleeding are explored.
... Menstruasyon, konuşamadığımız "özel bir konu" olmakta, menstruasyon ile ilgili hem resmi hem de gayri resmi iletişim büyük ölçüde yasaklanmaktadır. [12][13][14] Sürekli koyu renk giyinme, kanamanın kıyafetlere geçme durumundan korkma, ped alışverişini saklayarak yapma, pedi satanların koyu renk poşete koyma ya da gazeteye sarma, evdeki erkek üyelerden ped alışverişi talep edememe vb. durumlar menstruasyonla ilgili "tabulara/iletişim engellerine" örnek gösterilebilir. ...
Article
Menstruasyonun “hastalık”, “yetersizlik”, “güçsüzlük” gibi kavramlarla tanımlanması doğal olan bu işlevin tıbbileştirildiğini düşündürmektedir. Menstruasyonun medikalizasyonun nedenleri Sosyal Temsil Kuramı temelinde incelendiğinde tarihsel süreçteki erkek egemenliği, din ve kültür gibi geleneksel bakış açısının etkileri görülmektedir. Bu etkilenmeler doğrultusunda menstruasyon sürecini hastalık olarak kabul eden kadın, sosyal yaşamını kısıtlamakta ve yaşam tarzını değiştirmektedir. Patolojik olarak algılanan bu durumla başetmek için ise tıbba başvurmaktadır. Menstrual sürecin kadınlara zarar veren, kendisini kötü, pis, rahatsız hissetmesine neden olan bir duruma dönüşmesi kadın haklarını savunan feministlerin dikkatini çekmiştir. Sosyal Temsillerin ilerici bakış açısını temsil eden feministler, yaklaşımları ve kuramlarıyla menstruasyonun, vücudu zihinden ayıran tıbbi süreç haline gelmesini eleştirmektedir. Hemşireler birey, aile ve toplum düzeyinde, menstruasyonun bedenin doğal bir işlevi olarak, olduğu gibi algılanmasını sağlama, sağlıklı bir bedene sahip olmakla ilişkilendirme ve olumsuz algıları iyileştirmede sorumluluk üstlenebilirler.
... As a result of such stigmatisation, many women around the world feel obliged to keep their menstruation secret and conceal any visible signs of bleeding [3,6,7]. Whilst this stigmatisation is challenged in some spaces and spheres [10], it remains common in many parts of the world. ...
Article
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Menstrual blood is not just a physical substance; it is laden with symbolism and often powerfully stigmatised. It is important to understand local perceptions and attitudes towards menstrual blood, as well as the preferred practices of menstruating women, in order to design appropriate sanitation and solid waste systems to support menstruation. Failure to take account of socio-cultural factors can jeopardise the effectiveness of such infrastructure. This study, conducted in Blantyre, Malawi, is a qualitative socio-cultural examination of how women manage and view menstruation. Thirty nine interviews, conducted with individuals and with small groups of friends, were carried out with thirty one women using pit latrines, flush toilets, and urine-diverting dry toilets in early 2019. Menstruation in Blantyre was found to be shrouded in secrecy because it was viewed as ‘dirty’, and therefore remained concealed. There was widespread anxiety about menstrual blood being used in ufiti (witchcraft), which affected how women used and disposed of their menstrual absorbents. At the same time, menstrual blood was also viewed as a powerful healing substance with uses in traditional medicine. The type of infrastructure required by women to support their menstruation depended on the type of menstrual absorbent used. Those using reusable cloth generally preferred a private bathroom with discreet drainage, whilst those using disposable pads needed a discreet and convenient disposal system. Increased preference for disposable pads over reusable cloth (particularly for younger women in education or employment) suggested that menstrual waste profiles of urban areas may be changing. Understanding these changing needs will be crucial for planning effective, sustainable waste disposal and sanitation infrastructure.
... They express that menstruation unearths a "monster" inside them. 5,6 Studies conducted in Turkey and other countries indicate that PMS is a common problem among women [7][8][9][10] There are some theories on the emergence of PMS: estrogen-progestin imbalance, liquid retention, hypersecretion of prostaglandins, prolactin and reninangiotensin-aldosterone imbalance, and psychosocial factors. 11,12 Studies showed that PMS is related with variables such as leaving home for a university education, physical activity inadequacy, takehome food consumption, experiencing menstrual irregularities, smoking, inadequate knowledge, having a negative attitude about menstruation, dysmenorrhea, and caffeine consumption. ...
Article
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Purpose This study was conducted to define the relationship of experiencing premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and dysmenorrhea with the personality structure of women. Design and Methods The sample of this descriptive relation‐seeker‐type study comprised 353 women. Data were collected using the PMS Scale, Quick Big Five Personality Test, and The Questionnaire Form between 1 April and 31 August 2019 in a city in the Mediterranean region in Turkey. Findings There was a weak negative‐biased correlation between PMS and extraversion, a very weak negative‐biased correlation between PMS and conscientiousness, a moderate negative‐biased correlation between PMS and neuroticism, and a very weak positive‐biased significant correlation between PMS and openness (P < .05). Practice Implications These data suggest that women who are introverted, have weak self‐confidence, tend to have negative feelings such as anxiety, depression, and anger, and have weak coping skills are at risk for experiencing PMS.
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Many people began sharing that they experienced unexpected menstrual bleeding after SARS-CoV-2 inoculation. This emerging phenomenon was undeniable yet understudied. We investigated menstrual bleeding patterns among currently and formerly menstruating people, with a research design based off our expectations that these bleeding changes related to changes in clotting or inflammation, affecting normal menstrual repair. In this sample, 42% of people with regular menstrual cycles bled more heavily than usual, while 44% reported no change, after being vaccinated. Among people who typically do not menstruate, 71% of people on long-acting reversible contraceptives, 39% of people on gender-affirming hormones, and 66% of post-menopausal people reported breakthrough bleeding. We found increased/breakthrough bleeding was significantly associated with age, other vaccine side effects (fever, fatigue), history of pregnancy or birth, and ethnicity. Changes to menstrual bleeding are not uncommon nor dangerous, yet attention to these experiences is necessary to build trust in medicine. Teaser Increased bleeding can occur post SARS-CoV-2 vaccines; this study characterizes patterns to enable future hypothesis testing.
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This study was designed to explore support for menstrual suppression. It was hypothesized that menstrual attitudes would mediate, and feminine norms moderate, the relationship between self-objectification and support for suppression. Participants were 228 women who completed a questionnaire. Results indicate that menstrual shame is a significant mediator. The interaction between feminine norms and self-objectification acted as a moderator: those high in care for children who self-objectified less showed less support for suppression. Open-ended responses reveal reservations about safety and belief in the right to choose. Findings provide new insights into factors that affect women’s decision to use reproductive technology.
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Storm Xynthia (2010) brought to the fore marine submersion as a great concern to French authorities and communities. This storm illustrates how a single major event can have long lasting effects on climate risk management. To discern this effect, we conduct two studies analysing the emergence and evolution of concerns related to marine submersion in French national and regional newspapers prior to and after the storm (2005-2018). In Study 1, we examine trends in issue coverage and how ‘marine submersion’ was appropriated by French media discourse over the selected period, identifying and segmenting specific topical sequences. In Study 2, a computer-assisted content analysis of 260 articles highlights a dichotomy of themes before and after Storm Xynthia. Articles published prior to Xynthia (2005-2009) warned of marine submersion among the expected impacts of climate change. Those published just after Xynthia (2010-2013) present highly structured and technical descriptions of national risk management policies. In recent years (2014-2018), articles focus on local stakeholders’ challenge to national risk management policies, described as too far removed from local dynamics. Our studies reveal the emergence and amplification, via public debate in French newspaper media, of ‘marine submersion’ as a hazard, and the objectification of the risk through Storm Xynthia.
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The menstrual cycle is an important biological process in women that is associated with a range of physical symptoms, which can shape how women think, feel, and participate in activities of daily life. This study employed a mixed-methods design to investigate adult women’s physical activity throughout the menstrual cycle. One hundred and twenty-eight participants completed an online questionnaire that explored events of the menstrual cycle (e.g., bleeding, pain, fatigue) and physical activity. Semistructured interviews with 21 questionnaire respondents unpacked individual experiences of physical activity throughout the menstrual cycle. From the questionnaire data, 44 participants were categorized as avoiders and 84 as nonavoiders of physical activity due to menstrual events. Avoiders of physical activity reported longer periods, heavier menstrual flow, and higher levels of fatigue and pain compared with nonavoiders. Interviews revealed that avoidance of physical activity ranged from complete avoidance to adaptation (e.g., types of exercise). Reasons for avoidance and adaptation of physical activity included menstrual symptoms, personal thoughts, and concerns about other people’s views of the period. The present study findings emphasize the importance of not only evaluating prevalent physical symptoms, but also unpacking women’s individual perspectives and established societal norms to better understand and normalize physical activity throughout the menstrual cycle.
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This paper aims at questioning how women from different generations experience menstruation and share their lore with other women and, convey their experience of menstruation to other women. This study is based on the interviews conducted with four members of a family – i.e. with a great-grandmother, grandmother, mother, and daughter – and focuses on the symbolic meaning and lore of menstruation, the material objects, and some practices of menstruation as expressions of menstruation experience. Conveying experience and sharing lore is restricted only between two generations, between mother and daughter, but living in a male- dominated culture makes all experiences similar. At the same time, their experience and lore differ because of some factors such as education, urbanization, and modernization. The menstruation etiquette is based on the understanding that the male body is the normal body and the menstruating body shows a kind of anomaly. Thus, with some differences, all family members share an understanding of the menstruation etiquette, namely that it requires concealment and silence on menstruation.
Introducción: La copa menstrual (CM) es un dispositivo diseñado para apoyar a la mujer durante el manejo de su higiene menstrual. Objetivo: Caracterizar la literatura existente en torno al uso de la CM, como una alternativa de higiene femenina. Metodología: Revisión de la literatura de estudios publicados en los metabuscadores Proquest, Google Scholar, Pubmed y a través del rastreo manual de los artículos divulgados en revistas no indexadas a las bases de datos mencionadas. Los términos MESH fueron combinados con operadores booleanos permitiendo la elaboración de ecuaciones de búsqueda. Posterior a la selección de los estudios catalogados como elegibles, los investigadores procedieron a implementar las listas de verificación propuestas por la Critical Appraisal Skills Programme español (CASPe) y la Iniciativa MINCIR. Resultados: Fueron incluidos 21 estudios que superaron el 75% de los criterios evaluados en las listas de verificación. El proceso de sistematización de los datos expresados en los estudios permitió la constitución de tres ejes temáticos sobre los cuales gira la literatura en esta área, que corresponden a: I. La CM en el desarrollo de la higiene femenina, II. Beneficios y desventajas del uso de la CM, III. Factores socioculturales asociados a la higiene menstrual. Conclusiones: La CM es un dispositivo que puede aportar grandes beneficios a la higiene menstrual como un elemento moderno, discreto, económico y amigable con el medio ambiente.
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Despite menstruation being a physiological phenomenon in women’s life, social research has highlighted that there are still many taboos, also conveyed by advertising, which prevent an open discourse on the topic and can have negative impacts on women’s well-being. The present study examined the influence of the exposure to existing TV advertisements for sanitary napkins depicting menstruation as a taboo on self-objectification in women from Italy (n = 160) and Sweden (n = 159). To do so, we also investigated the moderating role of menstrual knowledge in this relationship. Our findings showed that in the Italian sample, exposure to the taboo TV commercial led to more self-objectification especially for participants with lower knowledge of menstruation. These effects did not occur for their Swedish counterparts, showing no differences in self-objectification when women were exposed to the taboo advertisement. The present results are discussed in light of cultural differences in sexual and menstrual education between the two countries. Theoretical and practical implications are drawn.
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The issue of methods in social representations theory has proved contentious for some time, although we would argue that the focus of this discussion has shifted in recent years. During the 1980s and 1990s much criticism centred on the supposed lack of focus on methods in early considerations of social representations, and an alleged methodological polytheism (Jahoda, 1988): some critics suggested that an ‘anything goes’ attitude to methods would only serve to weaken the theory, and argued that researchers needed greater guidance as to how to ‘do’ social representations research. Many of these concerns have been discussed at some length elsewhere (see, for example, Flick and Foster, 2008): as a theory, and not a method, the social representations approach aims to examine the ways in which individuals within social groups make sense of the world around them, and how these understandings change, develop, interact and so on. The methods that can be used in order to examine these research questions will, as in any social science research, vary, and must be considered carefully on each occasion in order to ensure that the most appropriate methods are used. Indeed, it could even be argued that there are different ways of defining social representations within the developing theory, and different aspects of representations on which to focus, and so multiplicity in methods and analysis is not only inevitable, but preferable (Bauer and Gaskell, 1999). This chapter illustrates this point. Similarly, more work has now discussed the issue of approaching methods in social representations theory in more depth, providing the researcher with more guidance (see, for example, Bauer and Gaskell, 1999; Breakwell and Canter, 1993; Wagner and Hayes, 2005). However, concerns now focus more on problematic aspects of the use of particular kinds of methods, rather than on a lack of relevant discussion. For example, social representations studies continue to take both qualitative and quantitative approaches: should this be an issue of concern, or something to be encouraged? Another issue concerns the role of the researcher in social representations studies.
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The psychological meaning of menarche was explored in 102 college students from Mexico and the United States. The Natural Semantic Networks Technique was used and participants were asked to respond to the prompt “My first period was…” The strongest components of the Mexican women's semantic network were scary, confusing, and unexpected; the strongest components of the American women's semantic network were unexpected, annoying, and painful. Only the Americans listed positive words (i.e., nice). The Mexicans' network contained the most negative words (i.e., dirty). The results suggest a need for better education and greater social support, especially in Mexico.
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Our article presents the findings from a study exploring men’s attitudes towards and perceptions of menstruation. Using a social constructionist framework, we analyzed 48 Australian men’s written accounts in response to an anonymous online questionnaire which explored messages they received about menstruation growing up as well as their current attitudes towards, and experiences with, menstruation. Respondents were 18–69 years-old; most were Caucasian and in an intimate relationship, and they varied considerably in terms of educational attainment. Thematic analysis yielded four themes: (a) managing the stigma of menstruation, (b) talking menstruation today—open and closed communication, (c) menstruation is part of relationships, and (d) menstruation and social commentary. These findings shed light on how boys learn about menstruation and how men’s role in menstruation is constructed, emphasizing the educational, relational, and socio-political contexts in which these attitudes are created. Researchers, health care providers, and educators could use our findings to create more effective reproductive health education programs. Improving communication between parents and children may encourage a more balanced view towards menstruation, working towards reducing the stigma commonly experienced by girls and women.
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Chris Bobel Because I study feminist activism, I think a lot about HOW we generate awareness about issues, a necessary first time to mobilizing for change. Borrowing from Cynthia Enloe, it is our job to " take [the lives of the marginalized] seriously. " 1 The methods we deploy to generate this awareness run the gamut, of course. For example, an ethnographer explores the lives of their " informants " through participant observation of people in situ. An Investigative journalist conducts interview upon interview with the people at the heart of the story. A creative writer publishes a poem that helps us 'see' a problem in a new way. Each approach, striving toward social justice, aims to capture the voices and " lived realities " of those disadvantaged (though that is often too mild a word) by social inequality, calling attention to the experiences dominant culture often ignores, trivializes or distorts. As antidote to cold detachment, these cultural productions enable a glimpse into the life of someone else, typically someone cast as 'other.' When we imagine, even feel, the life of those oppressed, we cultivate empathy. And this feeling state can stretch us outside ourselves, setting the stage for outrage and then, hopefully, action. For the last 10 years, my area of interest has been menstrual health and politics, so when I heard about British/Japanese designer and artist Sputniko's " Menstruation Machine " , I sat up. " Menstraution Machine " is a curious metal device equipped with a blood-­‐dispensing system and electrodes that stimulate the lower abdomen, thus replicating the pain and bleeding of a five-­‐day menstrual period.
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ABSTRACT This essay explores the various associations, conflicts, and resolutions that converge in consumer research to produce an advertising campaign for a feminine hygiene product. Ethnographic research identified a correspondence in beliefs and values among women who discuss menstruation as a natural process of rhythms and flow in their changing bodies. Building off the work of gender discourses in advertising, this paper claims women’s “natural” discourse located in research differs from “protection” discourse in advertising, which holds a binary view of menstruation and associates menstruation socially with shame and secrecy. The research reveals that while women adopt a “natural” discourse of menstruation, discourses of “protection” still dominate marketing. Paradoxically, women incorporate both discourses in assemblages of constructing “feminine identities.” This research proposes a correspondence model that regards the consumption of consumer personal-care products in terms of embodiment rather than binary categories as a way to interpret such paradoxes.
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Almost 20 years ago, in a paper introducing the text mining (TM) technique to my fellow statisticians, I expressed the fear that: “it would be unfortunate that this technique, because it is apparently so easy to use, would be abused by incompetent analysts” (Lahlou, 1994, my translation). And therefore I urged expert statisticians to engage in this issue and circumscribe abuses.
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This article traces the history of free association in psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology, and social psychology and builds on these traditions to develop a novel research method for eliciting how people think and feel about social and personal issues. These range from climate change to pandemics, from earthquakes to urban living. The method, termed the grid elaboration method (GEM), is distinctive in tapping the naturalistic thoughts and feelings that people hold in relation to such issues. It provides an instrument that elicits ecologically valid material that minimizes the interference of the investigator's perspective. A further aspect of the method is that it taps chains of association that are often emotive and implicit in nature, in keeping with current trends in psychological research. These facets are elaborated in this article, with reference to an exploration of the history of free association methodologies in psychology. The efficacy of the method is demonstrated using examples drawn from recent empirical work utilizing the GEM in a variety of domains. The method is evaluated, with areas for future exploration elucidated.
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Menstruation is an important function of the female body, yet it has rarely been included in research on body image. As women's attitudes toward menstruation are so often negative, this study was designed to examine whether women with positive body image would have more positive attitudes toward menstruation. Seventy-two American women, ages 18-45 years, were recruited online to complete the Body Appreciation Scale (Avalos et al., 2005) and the Beliefs about and Attitudes toward Menstruation Scale (Marván et al., 2006) and to answer some questions about their interest in menstrual suppression. Linear regressions showed that higher scores on body appreciation predicted more positive attitudes toward and beliefs about menstruation, but were not related to interest in menstrual suppression. Our findings may be useful in designing interventions to increase women's comfort with their bodies and bodily functions. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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In this article, we draw from a body of research in the last 20 years, our own included, to suggest a framework for thinking about how attitudes toward and experience with menstruation contribute to girls' and women's notions of whatitmeans to be female, to be awoman. Building on the current relational framing of psychotherapy, that a client's conception of herself is tied to her efforts to connect with others, we argue that negative attitudes toward menstruation can cause females to be “disconnected” from one another. Taking a life span perspective, we discuss how adolescent girls receive mixed messages about menstruation, how college women reflect negative attitudes about menstruation, and how adult women's differing experiences with menstruation can lead to disconnection between women. Specifically, we find that negative attitudes toward menstruation can result in mother-daughter disconnection and put women at odds with one another with regard to how to manage menstrual distress, PMS, and menopause. We suggest that a biopsychosocial exploration of menstruation in feminist therapy is warranted and that mental health professionals can benefit from using such a framework as they seek to understand the presenting difficulties of female clients.
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The menstrual cycle is often conceptualized in the biomedical literature as a unidimensional, biological, and pathological aspect of women’s bodies and health. Feminist social science scholars recognize that the biological event of menstruation is experienced and perceived within a broader sociocultural context. The authors of articles in this special issue address the myriad ways menstruation is positioned within this social context, and the consequences for women’s well-being, cognitive functioning, health, sexuality, and social status. Authors examine menstruation as a social stigma, the positioning of menstruation in popular culture, contextual factors relevant to menstruation across the lifespan, the ways women negotiate menstruation in their lives, and the role of women’s social location in shaping their attitudes toward and experiences with menstruation. Implications for future research, education, activism, and clinical intervention are considered.
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Some aspects of the ontogenesis of social representations are discusssed through a considera- tion of specific issues raised by empirical research on the development of representations of gender through children's first year of schooling. A comparison with Vygotsky's general law of cultural development emphasises the importance of considering social identities as structures mediating between the interpsychological and the intrapsychological in individual development. The relationship of social identities to social representations is further explored, in particular through the introduction of a notion of positioning. A second theme is the examination of the figurative nucleus of children's representations of gender, in which the metaphor of sexual reproduction provides the central image. A key proposition of genetic theories is the notion that to understand something one needs to know how it is constructed. In considering social representations from this point of view I want to focus on their ontogenesis, that is the process through which children's thinking, acting and feeling come to be structured in terms of the social representations of their community. In short, how the child becomes a competent social actor. The child, of course, is born into a world already structured by social representations. Indeed, in so far as the objectification of social representations constitutes realities, these are the realities of the human world into which the child is born. Yet, the circulation of represen- tations around the child does not lead to them being either simply impressed upon the child, or simply appropriated by the child. Rather, their acquisition is the outcome of a process of development, and a focus on this process can in turn illustrate something about the structure of social representations themselves. In my own work with Barbara Lloyd (Lloyd and Duveen, 1992) I have been concerned with the development of social representations of gender, and I shall take this as my example. In doing so I am limiting the generality of the argument in an important way. For social representations of gender carry with them an imperative obligation that individuals construct a corresponding social identity (Duveen and Lloyd, 1990). We must all develop gender identities as we grow up if we are to become competent social actors -this does not mean, as we shall see, that we all need to construct the same identities, only that there is an obligation to construct an identity. In this gender is distinct from other social representations, where the identity structure is not imperative, but contractual. There is no imperative obliging us to become psychoanalysts, for example, but if we choose to do so then we must contract into a particular representational field (from this point of view the disputes occasioned by Jeffrey Masson's writings can be viewed as contractual disputes).
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An experiment tested the hypothesis that reminders of a woman's menstrual status lead to more negative reactions to her and increased objectification of women in general. Participants interacted with a female confederate who ostensibly accidentally dropped either a tampon or hair clip out of her handbag. Dropping the tampon led to lower evaluations of the confederate's competence, decreased liking for her, and a marginal tendency to avoid sitting close to her. Furthermore, gender schematic participants responded to the reminder of menstruation with increased objectification of women in general, an effect we view as an effort to “protect” culturally sanitized views of the feminine. These findings are discussed from the perspective of feminist theory and a terror management perspective on the role of ambivalence about the human body in the objectification of women.
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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.
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Our study aims at understanding multigenerational communication among grandmothers, mothers, and daughters experiencing reproductive health transitions from menarche to menopause. Thirty women, 10 triads of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters, participated in narrative interviews to recount their menarche and menopause experiences. Analysis was read using a multilayered approach to interpret discourse positioned from self, reflexive others, and those stories informed by societal meanings. Four dialectical themes informed by generational discursive shifts in talk included (1) covert versus overt talk, (2) recollection of versus indifference to menarche, (3) bound to versus freedom from menstruation, and (4) controlling versus managing bodily changes. The theoretical significance of this piece indicates a slight, transformative change in how messages about menarche and menstruation are communicated or passed down from one generation to the next.
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The study was designed to examine expressions for menstruation (e.g., shark week) in English and Swedish from a linguistic perspective, and thus provide linguistic insight into how people think of, perceive, and talk about menstruation. This article presents a systematic examination of expressions using linguistic analytical frameworks, such as semantic domains, euphemisms and dysphemisms, and conceptual metaphors to identify how menstruation is categorized and construed. It shows that the forms of menstrual linguistic expressions perpetuate dominant discourses of shame and negativity, but also that the creativity and humor displayed by expressions are used as a part of menstrual activism to challenge negative discourse.
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American monetary policy is formulated by the Federal Reserve and overseen by Congress. Both policy making and oversight are deliberative processes, although the effect of this deliberation has been difficult to quantify. In this book, Cheryl Schonhardt-Bailey provides a systematic examination of deliberation on monetary policy from 1976 to 2008 by the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) and House and Senate banking committees. Her innovative account employs automated textual analysis software to study the verbatim transcripts of FOMC meetings and congressional hearings; these empirical data are supplemented and supported by in-depth interviews with participants in these deliberations. The automated textual analysis measures the characteristic words, phrases, and arguments of committee members; the interviews offer a way to gauge the extent to which the empirical findings accord with the participants’ personal experiences. Analyzing why and under what conditions deliberation matters for monetary policy, the author identifies several strategies of persuasion used by FOMC members, including Paul Volcker’s emphasis on policy credibility and efforts to influence economic expectations. Members of Congress, however, constrained by political considerations, show a relative passivity on the details of monetary policy. .
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The main objective of this study is to develop a feminist theoretical understanding of menstruation. I use the perspectives of three leading male theorists-Erving Goffman, Karl Marx, and Michel Foucault- to understand this phenomenon, while keeping a feminist focus on how their works illuminate this profoundly female predicament. I first use Goffman's concept of stigma in order to establish the micro-level, social psychological aspects of negative portrayals of menstruation and their internalization by women. I next use Foucault's theory on discourses to understand how stigmas are social constructions that change over historical time, and I compare premodern and modern discourses on menstruation. Here I contend that menstrual discourses shift from premodern superstitious and religious understandings, to the medicalization of menstruation and a focus on hygiene, with the rise of modern sciences in the late nineteenth century. Third, I use Marx's understanding of capitalism to discuss how the emergence of the personal care industry utilized new medical discourses for their own commercial interests by tracing the industrialization and commoditization of feminine hygiene products. Finally, I explore how feminists today are mobilizing to resist all three of these sociohistorical developments-the stigmatization of menstruation, the medicalization of menstrual discourses surrounding this stigma, and the commercialization of menstruation. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. All rights reserved.
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In this paper, I examine newspaper coverage of Uta Pippig’s 1996 Boston Marathon. Pippig won the Boston Marathon for the third time in a row, in spite of being slowed by menstrual cramps, heavy menstrual flow, and diarrhea. These obstacles and Pippig’s victory over them, as well as her competitors, received disparate treatment in newspaper coverage of the marathon. This coverage provides a rare look at how menstruation is constructed, and erased, in sports journalism.
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"In Into Our Own Hands, Sandra Morgen shows us, not just how the women's health movement started, but how it weathered adversity. This book is important reading for everyone who cares about the future of women's health as defined by women themselves." --Cynthia A. Pearson, executive director, National Women's Health Network "This is an analytically sophisticated and engaging contribution to our understanding of the feminist health movement."--Karen Brodkin, professor of anthropology and women's studies, UCLA Recent history has witnessed a revolution in women's health care. Beginning in the late 1960s, women in communities across the United States challenged medical and male control over women's health. Few people today realize the extent to which these grassroots efforts shifted power and responsibility from the medical establishment into women's own hands as health care consumers, providers, and advocates. Into Our Own Hands traces the women's health care movement in the United States. Richly documented, this study is based on more than a decade of research, including interviews with leading activists; documentary material from feminist health clinics and advocacy organizations; a survey of women's health movement organizations in the early 1990s; and ethnographic fieldwork. Sandra Morgen focuses on the clinics born from this movement, as well as how the movement's encounters with organized medicine, the state, and ascendant neoconservative and neoliberal political forces in the 1970s to the 1980s shaped the confrontations and accomplishments in women's health care. The book also explores the impact of political struggles over race and class within the movement organizations.
Book
Serge Moscovici first introduced the concept of social representations into contemporary social psychology nearly forty years ago. Since then the theory has become one of the predominant approaches in social psychology, not only in continental Europe, but increasingly in the Anglo-Saxon world as well. While Moscovici's work has spread broadly across the discipline, notably through his contributions to the study of minority influences and of the psychology of crowds, the study of social representations has continued to provide the central focus for one of the most distinctive and original voices in social psychology today. This volume brings together some of Moscovici's classic statements of the theory of social representations, as well as elaborations of the distinctive features of this perspective in social psychology. In addition the book includes some recent essays in which he re-examines the intellectual history of social representations, exploring the diverse ways in which this theory has responded to a tradition of thought in the social sciences which encompasses not only the contributions of Durkheim and Piaget, but also those of Lévy-Bruhl and Vygotsky. The final chapter of the book consists of a long interview with Ivana Marková, in which Moscovici not only reviews his own intellectual itinerary but also gives his views on some of the key questions facing social psychology today. The publication of this volume provides an essential source for the study of social representations and for an assessment of the work of a social psychologist who has consistently sought to re-establish the discipline as a vital element of the social sciences.
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To explore the beliefs and attitudes towards menstruation of Chinese undergraduates in Hong Kong and to compare those of (1) male and female undergraduates with those of (2) undergraduates studying health-related vs. nonhealth-related programmes. Menstruation is typically viewed as a forbidden topic or a troublesome experience. These negative beliefs and attitudes result from existing myths and taboos associated with cultural factors and health education levels. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in all universities in Hong Kong. Undergraduates were invited through convenience sampling to complete a questionnaire assessing their attitudes and beliefs towards menstruation. A questionnaire on 'beliefs about and attitudes towards menstruation' was adopted. Questionnaires were self-administered by the respondents. A total of 450 questionnaires were distributed, and a response rate of 96·6% was obtained; 416 completed questionnaires were collected and analysed. Many Chinese undergraduates agreed that menstruation is annoying, causes disability, involves prescription and proscription and is not pleasant. When comparing the beliefs and attitudes towards menstruation of Chinese male undergraduates with those of female undergraduates, females tended to disagree that menstruation should be maintained secret, but tended to agree that it was annoying. When comparing the beliefs and attitudes towards menstruation of Chinese undergraduates studying health-related programmes with those under nonhealth-related programmes, the latter group exhibited a higher level of belief in prescription and proscription for menstruation than the former group. Chinese undergraduates in Hong Kong were influenced by the traditional Chinese culture and social environment, resulting in negative attitudes towards menstruation. This study recommends that sex education, especially reproductive health education, be extended to tertiary education. This study provides relevant information on planning the content of sex education or reproductive health education for Chinese undergraduates.
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Abstract We extend objectification theory research to consider the relationship between self-objectification and attitudes toward an alternative menstrual product in a diverse sample of female undergraduates from the United States (N = 151). We use a survey design to investigate attitudes toward one's menstruation as a potential mechanism that may explain this relationship. Reactions to an alternative menstrual product were predominantly negative, supporting prior research on stigma and shame surrounding menstruation. Exploratory structural equation modeling revealed attitudes toward one's menstruation mediated the relationship between self-objectification and participants' reactions to an alternative menstrual product. Implications for women's health are discussed.
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The objective of the present study was to investigate the relationship between ambivalent sexism and beliefs and attitudes towards menstruation, and, in turn, to study the influence of these variables on menstrual cycle-related symptoms. One hundred and six Mexican women completed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, the Beliefs about and Attitudes toward Menstruation Questionnaire and the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire. The higher scores on benevolent sexism were associated with the most positive attitudes towards menstruation and also with the belief that a menstruating woman should or should not do some activities and that menstruation keeps women from their daily activities. The higher scores on hostile sexism were associated with rejection of menstruation as well as with feelings of embarrassment about it. Beliefs about and attitudes towards menstruation predicted menstrual cycle-related symptoms related to negative affect, impaired concentration and behavioural changes, but did not predict somatic symptoms. These results will be useful to health professionals and advocates who want to change the negative expectations and stereotypes of premenstrual and menstrual women and reduce the sexism and negative attitudes towards women that are evident in Mexican culture.
Article
While much research has addressed negativity surrounding women’s menstruation, surprisingly little research has interrogated the relationship between menstruation and sexuality. This study used inductive thematic analysis of qualitative interviews with 40 women across a range of age, race and sexual orientation backgrounds to examine women’s experiences with sex during menstruation. Results showed that, while 25 women described negative reactions — and two described neutral reactions — 13 women described positive reactions to menstrual sex. Negative responses cohered around four themes: women’s discomfort and physical labor to clean ‘messes’, overt partner discomfort, negative self-perception and emotional labor to manage partner’s disgust. Positive responses cohered around two themes: physical and emotional pleasure from sex while menstruating, and rebellion against anti-menstrual attitudes. Notable race and sexual identity differences appeared, as white women and bisexual or lesbian-identified women described positive feelings about menstrual sex more than women of color or heterosexual women. Bisexual women with male partners described more positive reactions to menstrual sex than did heterosexual women with male partners, implying that heterosexual identity related to negative menstrual sex attitudes more than heterosexual behavior. Those with positive menstrual sex attitudes also enjoyed masturbation more than others. Implications for sexual identity and racial identity informing body practices, partner choice affecting women’s body affirmation, and women’s resistance against common cultural ideas about women’s bodies as ‘disgusting’ were addressed.
Article
The purpose of this study was to examine differences in knowledge about menstruation, feelings of preparation for menarche, and menstrual attitudes of early adolescent girls from different ethnic groups and income levels. An interaction between ethnicity and income level was also investigated. Participants were 165 postmenarcheal adolescent girls’ (ages 11–15) from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, who were categorized into four groups: higher income European Americans, lower income European Americans, higher income African Americans, and lower income African Americans. It was predicted that African Americans, lower income participants, and lower income African Americans would score lower on a menstrual knowledge test, report feeling less prepared for menarche, and report more negative menstrual attitudes (i.e., fewer positive feelings about menstruation, more negative feelings about menstruation, and less openness toward menstruation) than European Americans, higher income participants, and any other income level and ethnicity grouping. Not all hypotheses were fully supported. Participants’ lacked accurate menstrual knowledge and felt unprepared for menarche, but menstrual attitudes were ambivalent. Ethnicity and income level alone did not play a substantial role in girls’ understanding of menarche and menstruation; however, they did interact. Overall, higher income European Americans fared better than the other participants. Theories and research regarding girls’ understanding of menarche and menstruation must take sociocultural factors into account.
Article
This article focuses on the narratives and discussion produced through a memory-work study about menstruation with a collective of eight Australian women. Unfolding to exhibit a complex and contradictory experience of the body and menstruation, the narratives show that the body of a menstruating woman has cultural meanings inscribed that function to ensure the embodied experience of a menstruating woman is unfavourably different from the embodied experience of a non-menstruating woman. These women’s reflections on and discussion about their experiences express differences in the symbolic ordering of menstrual fluid as clean or dirty. The complex relationship between the meanings ascribed to menstruation and the social consequences of menstruating, especially the changed subjectivity and associations to the body was identified.
Article
Powerful social taboos dictate that menstruation should not be discussed socially. Adolescent girls, however, frequently feel a need to talk about menstruation and to share information about it, but they are usually embarrassed to talk about menstruation. Their efforts to avoid and prevent this embarrassment while meeting their communication needs have led them to develop creative linguistic strategies such as slang terms, circumlocutions, pronouns, and euphemistic deixs. Based on extended interviews with adolescent girls (ages 12–16), this article discloses how these communication strategies allow girls to maintain norms of menstrual concealment as they simultaneously violate taboos against menstrual communication.
Chapter
Moscovici, S. (1984). The phenomenon of social representations. In R. Farr & S. Moscovici (Eds.), Social representations (pp. 3-69). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Article
Girls in the USA receive mixed messages about menarche: menarche is traumatic and upsetting-but act normal; menarche is an overt symbol of sexual maturity-but also a mysterious, secret event. Girls I interviewed reported another-dualism in their menstrual education. They perceive a clear distinction between two kinds of menstrual knowledge: scientific knowledge about the anatomy and physiological functioning, and what they termed `realistic', pragmatic knowledge about managing the lived experience of menstruation. Using methods of critical, feminist analysis, I examine social texts of menstrual socialization, including girls' conversation about their menstrual education; their mothers' discussions of the preparation for menstruation that girls received; and instructional materials presented in their health education classes, to discuss the communication and the silences of contemporary menstrual socialization, and to suggest possibilities for transformative language and action to teach girls about menstruation in ways that can help mend dualisms.
Article
Fifty female college students participated in a study of women's health. In a counterbalanced design, half of the participants completed the Menstrual Joy Questionnaire (MJQ) and the Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire (MAQ) in the first testing session. A week later they completed the Menstrual Distress Questionnaire (MDQ) and the Menstrual Attitude Questionnaire. The other participants completed the MDQ and MAQ in the first session and the MJQ and MAQ in the second. A multivariate analysis of variance revealed that those who received the MJQ first reported more positive cyclic changes on the MDQ and more positive attitudes on the MAQ. A follow-up study of 40 college students examined their responses to the MJQ. Participants reported that they were surprised or incredulous; most had not previously considered positive aspects of the menstrual cycle. Thirty percent reported that the MJQ had caused them to look at menstruation in a different way.
Article
In a study examining the effects of a social stigma on impression management concerns, 28 menstruating and 30 nonmenstruating women were interviewed by a male confederate who either was or was not aware of their menstrual condition. Relative to menstruating women who thought the interviewer was unaware of their menstrual condition, menstruating women who believed that the interviewer knew they were menstruating perceived that the interviewer liked them less, yet were less motivated to make an impression on him. Nonmenstruating women reported more self-presentational motivation and perceived that the interviewer viewed them more positively than he did the menstruating women. These results suggest that the interviewer's knowledge of their menstrual condition inhibited menstruating women's self-presentational motivation. Implications of this social stigma for interpersonal relationships are discussed.
Article
ALCESTE - A Methodology of Textual Data Analysis and an Application: Aurélia by Gérard de Nerval. Beginning with a cross-tabulation with different all sentence fragments in rows and a selected vocabulary in columns for a specific corpus, the author presents: the methodology, including principle concepts and objectives of this form of analysis; the technique, the ALCESTE computer program of automatic classification based on resemblance or dissimilarity: and an application, the analysis of Gérard de Nerval's text Aurélia. The analysis distinguishes three types of fragments which are described and analyzed further.
Article
This paper explores questions of fat embodiment and how tensions between and among biologically based descriptions of fatness and disability feature in the lives of women. In tracing the medicalization of fatness and disability and exploring important shared experiences of fat women and disabled people, this paper dislodges both fatness and disability from biological moorings and examines them within cultural and political contexts. In particular, the experiences of oppression and pathology are analyzed to expose the commonalities between what might initially appear to be disparate groups. By illustrating why medicalized rubrics cannot usefully account for the stigma associated with fat and/or disabled embodiments, this paper seeks to set the stage for a feminist disability studies that recognizes disability as a diverse social category and meaningfully incorporates fat embodiments.