Personally, my period is something that I talk about frequently. I mean, how could I not? It happens so often. And while I absolutely wished it was something that occurred less often (ugh cramps are the worst), I wish it was a topic YA discussed MORE often. Because it’s a part of life. Even those that do not menstruate are affected or influenced – they are sure to know someone who does, whether that’s their parent, friend, or significant other.
So then why is it such a taboo topic in YA?
From my own experience, online and offline, periods are finally becoming a topic that more and more people feel comfortable discussing. But the topic is still halted when it comes to YA books. I can’t even think of more than 5 books I’ve read that discuss menstruation in any form. That’s ridiculous.
On one hand, it does make sense to focus on the action and adventure in certain genres that involve heroic characters that defy what would be natural or possible in the real world, like the Hunger Games. But Katniss is still a young female character that would, most likely, have experienced menstruation. That, of course, would have put a damper on things considering all the terrible situations she is put in.
But even in contemporary YA books there is a horrible lack of mention or discussion of periods. Of course, I don’t want to read JUST books about periods and nothing else. Life isn’t JUST about periods and nothing else. But life also does have the occasional (or more than occasional) mention of periods. In fact, for many people who menstruate, their periods can totally interrupt their normal lives because of various reasons (excruciating cramps, unbearable amounts of bleeding, and other complications).
Periods should be a frequent topic in YA books because it’s a frequent aspect of life. And for those that experience it, it’s a pretty significant aspect. YA, especially, should mention it because the young people that read YA are just beginning to experience menstruation. It needs to be something that is talked about.
When I first began menstruating, I was horrified. I had no idea what was happening. But the worst part was feeling like I couldn’t talk about it to anyone. So many young people experience this because periods are just so awkward to talk about. Sense the sarcasm? Periods are not scary, but they can be if no one discusses it. The conversation about periods is slowly becoming less taboo in life. Why can’t it become less taboo is YA, too?
If you want to see what some other people think about menstruation in YA, check out the links below: