Edited by Kate Farrell.
Twelve contributors discuss their personal experiences with and thoughts about menstruation. The essays frequently address the continued stigma attached to periods, as well as the strides being made to erase, as Farrell describes in an introduction, “the culture of secrecy and shame surrounding them.” The essays are unified in their focus on a topic that crosses social, economic, and cultural boundaries, but the contributors also broaden the content by integrating their own singular perspectives. Santina Muha writes about what it’s like to have her period “as a girl in a wheelchair,” while Ashley Reese reflects on how the statistical likelihood of black girls starting their periods earlier may help propagate negative stereotypes—many that she grappled with as a girl: “I’m struck by how I viewed my early period as a true curse, passed from mother to daughter. More specifically, black mother to black daughter.” With refreshing candor, humor, and eloquence, the authors address menstruation as it’s perceived, as it’s presented, and as it is behind it all. Ages 18–up.