Our Lips are Sealed: a Social Constructionist Approach to Understanding Menstrual Concealment at Menarche
Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Sociology and University Honors
Menarche -- Social aspects -- United States, Teenage girls -- Psychology, Menstruation -- United States, Shame, Secrecy, Social constructionism
At menarche, menstruators receive messages from various sources that urge them to conceal evidence of their menstruation. Concealment refers to the notion that menstruation is to be hidden, especially from men. This belief is often exploited and/or expressed in interactions between menstruators, mothers, and peers, in advertisements, educational materials, day-to-day conversation, and personal disciplinary actions. Themes of concealment are analyzed within a social constructionist framework to understand how narratives develop over time to guide human behavior and maintain social order. This paper argues that the menstrual concealment taboo is a social construction that has been institutionalized into the fabric of American society and mediates experiences of menstruation to promote body shame.
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Agrusa, Olivia S., "Our Lips are Sealed: a Social Constructionist Approach to Understanding Menstrual Concealment at Menarche" (2019). University Honors Theses. Paper 732.