Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

Ramona Caponegro, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Amanda Allen, Ph.D.


girl’s first menstrual cycle is often considered the first step of the seemingly ritualistic passage into womanhood. However, most girls within the United States who experience menarche fail to view it as a rite of passage, and instead see it as an event they must endure rather than celebrate. Menstruation is a mystifying process for young girls, and the mystification is intensified through the lack of open conversations between pre- and post-menarcheal females. While pedagogical strategies in period education have evolved over time, the one constant within menstrual education is silence. This thesis aims to write into the silence surrounding menstruation by examining the complex nature of menstrual education—the cyclical history of shame, the implementation of puberty self-help guides as surrogates for conversations, and new media approaches to menstruation—in an effort to understand and justify the fears and concerns young girls have towards their own impending menarche.