Drawing on ethnographic work on menstruation and gynecological examinations and surgeries in Salvador, Brazil, this article explores the way that bodily boundaries are constituted through medical practices. Focusing on the re-enactment of the boundary between the inside and the outside of bodies, it analyzes that which is detached from bodies and, by falling away from them, contributes to their constitution. It then considers how the gynecological examination and vaginal plastic surgery can be used to speak of the problematic and contingent act of delimiting bodies from the inside out.
Menstrual Management and Gynecological Practice in Brazil
Challenges for the Female Body in Education
Girls' reproductive health matters are an important factor in their equal participation in educational settings. However, many girls worldwide still face challenges to participating fully in education because of the lack of supportive structures for their health needs. This paper uses autoethnographic writing to highlight some of the challenges that girls meet in school because of menstruation. It also discusses how a teacher's lived experiences of girlhood can change how she practises her teacher-hood in relation to girls' reproductive health. I argue that teachers' lived experiences are an invaluable resource in curricula- and policy-making procedures that are formulated to better recognize the particular concerns of girls and young women.
Beinggirl.com and the Commodification of Puberty
Sharon R. Mazzarella
Puberty and her first period are among the most important rites of passage in a girl's life. Cashing in on this, transnational corporate giant Proctor & Gamble created the website beinggirl.com in 2000, to provide “a forum for girls to explore their collective interests and receive guidance in choosing the right feminine protection products provided by Tampax and Always at the very start of their cycles.” Featuring podcasts, polls, quizzes, an advice column, games, downloads, and a discussion board, beinggirl.com looks like many other commercially-created online spaces for girls. Employing an “experiential analysis” methodology, this article deconstructs beinggirl.com as a site that has both a corporate imperative as well as the self-proclaimed intention of providing a space for girls.
In the call for articles for this special issue on girls’ health, we highlighted that “[g]irls’ health is an ongoing and evolving issue with ties that go beyond medical analyses to include a wide array of social, educational, political, and environmental discourses (among others!).” Th at a number of different perspectives might contribute to or strengthen the interdisciplinary focus of an issue as crucial as girls’ health was important to me as guest editor. Th is issue demonstrates that the relationship of girlhood to health—sexual health, in particular—is of critical concern to us all. It is an area full of challenges and barriers, most of them, as is evident in this issue, understood and often expressed by girls themselves. The articles presented here point to the many perspectives from which to approach this topic. Girls’ sexual health is linked to an array of intersecting issues including the pedagogical influences of popular romance literature; the ways in which girls use blogs to construct counter narratives about their sexual identity; how girls’ increased inclusion in citizenship discourses can increase their capacity to address sexual objectification; what girls do to negotiate power within their heterosexual relationships; how barriers to water access in Africa can lead to the awareness of the risks—which range from being perceived to be promiscuous to being raped—that young women face; as well as how the (mis)management of menstruation can affect girls’ education. This issue points to the global and local specifics of sexual health, and to health more generally. Th e concerns discussed here are geographically wide-ranging: Cameroon, Lesotho, Australia, the United States, and Canada provide the settings—some urban and others rural. Th e authors present a wide range of methodologies from which they explore girls’ health: literary analysis; autoethnography; and participatory methods such as digital storytelling, mediamaking, listening to what young people have to say in various research paradigms, blogging, and photovoice.
Mike Classon Frangos
. Considered shocking for its images of menstruating women, the installation prompted the Sweden Democrats, a right-wing populist party, to call for the replacement of Strömquist's publically funded menstrual art by twentieth-century Swedish landscape paintings
Demystification and Disruption
Laurence Grove, Anne Magnussen, and Ann Miller
Julie Doucet, who repeatedly and exuberantly depicted menstrual bleeding. Strömquist evokes the possibility of male menstruation, which would, by definition, not be taboo but rather a subject of boasting and rivalry, and also envisages a matriarchal
target adults), and investigation into how girls are constructed in transactional texts written for girls about girlhood, like the Puberty Books that deal primarily with girls’ experiences of bodily change and menstruation, and other guides and manuals
Fatima Khan, Claudia Mitchell, and Marni Sommer
emergencies, the challenges facing women teachers, and the menstruation-related needs of school-going girls, as well as a grasp of the importance of visual images in understanding the realm of girls’ education. She brought to her work an attention to critical
Ideals, Dreams, and Nightmares
Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild
cruelty, failure to provide for proper hygiene, no provisions for menstruation or pregnancy, and the forcible removal of newborns from their mothers, among many other horrors. The trauma of these experiences is long lasting, and the fear of reimprisonment
Cultural Expectations of Pregnant Women in Qatar
Susie Kilshaw, Daniel Miller, Halima Al Tamimi, Faten El-Taher, Mona Mohsen, Nadia Omar, Stella Major, and Kristina Sole
( lepidium sativum ). This porridge is made for women following giving birth or at the end of menstruation. It ‘cleanses the uterus and cause[s] bleeding’ and thus clears the uterus of blood and tissues. The dish may also be used to relieve heavy periods or