Many women think immediately of pain when they think of menstruation. Something sickening, a nuisance, a pain, something that makes you anxious. But girls who have not yet had their first menstruation may feel a little different. They might think of becoming a woman, an adult, of expectations and celebration. Over the last decade attitudes towards menstruation have begun changing, with some people even celebrating the beginning with Period Parties. We agree that it’s time to shake off the fearful and mysterious image of menstruation, and get back to that excitement and sense of support. It’s good to have something like a ritual to positively accept what is a natural function of many peoples bodies. It doesn’t just have to be for menarche. Why not hold a fun and entertaining Period Party for someone that you love?!
You might Hate your Period, but Everyone Loves a Party
‘This is something almost all women experience, so why do I feel so awkward and ashamed?’ A lot of people blame themselves like this. Some of us live as strong and proud 21st Century women, then feel bitter as we think about how we can’t even say the word menstruation in front of other people. However, these worries and irritations are perfectly natural. It hasn't been long since our society began to accept menstruation as “normal”.
Youtube creator Park Makrye, born in ‘47, shares her first and last. She says she never talked about menstruation with her mother. And this 'tradition of silence' was passed on to her daughter. In the video released on December 3, 2020, the grandmother surprised viewers by saying that she still doesn't know if her daughter, who is over 40, has started menstruation.
Grandmother Makrye's handmade menstrual pad resembles ‘Gaejim’, a menstrual product from the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. It was made by folding or sewing cotton or hemp cloth, which was commonly called "Sedap". Sedap means "washing" and is also a symbolic folk product that demonstrates the atmosphere of times when mentioning menstruation was taboo.
Women in the Joseon Dynasty, who had to hide their bodies natural functions, were responsible for dealing with this privately by "washing". Do the laundry by the stream early in the morning, and even when drying it, secretly finding a place to hide. Grandmother Makrye said she also spread paper on the floor and dried her menstrual pads in her room. Not a woman in the museum from the Joseon Dynasty, but a YouTuber grandmother lived in such a time, and we live in the same world. Even if the dynasty collapsed and the rivers and mountains changed, the shadows of secrets and shame over menstruation have been slow to fade.
Congratulations on your menstruation!
These days if you don’t throw a party, your a tacky parent. Like what grandma Makrye said, the perceptions around menstruation have changed rapidly recently. More and more kids are hearing “congratulations!” instead of “Oh no”. TV sitcoms show a father preparing a cake and bouquet of flowers for his daughters first period. Even within the stuffy traditional world featuring large families gathering around a huge table for a formal dinner, it became ‘cool’ to celebrate the start of menstruation. It’s not for the individual, it’s not for women, it’s for the whole family. It has become a topic for loved ones to talk about together.
Period parties are also valid for celebrating past events. Because the important thing in period parties is not the menstruation, but the party. It’s not that menstruation itself is a great thing, or something with significant worth to deserve a celebration. Those who hold a Period Party do it to show care for the person experiencing menstruation. To pay attention and love to the mind and bodily changes of someone they love and care about. That’s why we also have parties to celebrate menopause.
Experts also say that these simple parties can help us accept these parts of our lives positively. Therapist Brittany Freeman Jean-Louis says “It is important for young ladies to know that they are supported, validated, and affirmed. This will increase self-esteem and self-worth which is hugely important around this time of change and transition.”
Adult Period Party
Even if it’s not the start of your menstruation, or the end, or any other special time. If you want to celebrate you can have a party. You can even plan a party for yourself. Because we’re adults. You can eat that cake on your own, and enjoy a drink or two. You deserve to celebrate yourself, and your body. Because menstruating is hard, and sometimes not menstruating is hard, and sometimes you just need some comfort and attention and that’s totally human.
- The important thing in a period party is not the period, but the party
- Let’s care for what a woman’s body does and can do, even if it’s not the first or last time
- Period parties are a great way to express love for family and friends