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An exploration of mothers' attitudes towards their daughters' menarche

Bennett, Clare ORCID: and Harden, Jane ORCID: 2014. An exploration of mothers' attitudes towards their daughters' menarche. Sex Education 14 (4) , pp. 457-470. 10.1080/14681811.2014.922862

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Menarche is a significant milestone for young women, representing an important juncture between girlhood and maturation. The limited literature that exists suggests that a mother's reaction to her daughter's first periods can shape her experiences and perceptions of menstruation which, in turn, may impact on her self-image and, consequently, sexual risk taking. However, very little is known about UK mothers' attitudes towards their daughters' menarche. This paper aims to add to the body of knowledge by applying a postmodern critique, a Derridian deconstructive analysis, to a discussion thread found on – a UK parenting website. The thread is concerned with a mother's response to her daughter's menarche to which other mothers respond. The deconstruction revealed a number of meta-narratives and themes within the text: secrecy, sorrow, a lack of competency and knowledge, power, gender and motherhood. Unwittingly, the women appear to be socialising their daughters to comply with and perpetuate the menstrual taboo that they endured themselves, thus repeating the cycles of shame associated with menstruation. The findings of this critique suggest that menstrual education is an area that requires more attention, particularly in the context of perceived menstrual shame and its impact on sexual decision-making.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1468-1811
Date of Acceptance: 7 May 2014
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2023 02:18

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