For the eight years that I have been menstruating, I have never thought of this process critically. One concept that Young discusses in her essay is the idea of menstruation as “failed production.” I found this to be interesting because it is presented as a negative aspect of menstruation for women. Personally, when I think of my own menstruation I think of the idea of “failed production,” as a good thing because I am not ready to have kids. Furthermore, I think birth control complicates this because women can often manage when they would like to produce, so this becomes more of a controlled aspect even though they must still menstruate.
Also, Young points out the role of consumerism in relation to menstruation. “Advertising campaigns by companies like Kotex replace the view of menstruation as debilitating with an understanding of menstruation as a healthy process that is nevertheless dirty, presenting a hygiene problem that needs managing with their products.” I found this to be compelling as well. I have never analyzed the idea of menstruation marketing because consuming these products is always a necessity, but I was not surprised to look at it as a tool for profit.
Both Young and Lee spoke of menstruation as a sign of the sexualization of girls to women after menarche. I cannot recall if this was something that I had thought about at the time, but I can remember the excitement of my friend when she was the first one to get her period. She had seemed so much more advanced than the rest of us. Lee also discusses that this sexualization is really heterosexualization, which requires girls to adhere to the norms that heterosexuality requires of them as women.
Lee and Young also discuss in depth the idea that menstruation is a source of anxiety for numerous reasons. Women who are menstruating are often viewed as unclean and must conceal it from anyone. After reading the other women’s accounts and remembering my own, I think most can agree that it is not always a pleasant experience for women. I thought Steinam’s piece was humorous in the way that it presented that if males had a period it would be a sign of dominance over women, whereas since women have it, it is viewed as a sort of defect