Marymount Manhattan College, NYC, June 6-8, 2013, Thursday, June 6th
Scroll through the program below, or download a SMCR 2013 – MMM Program.
5:00-6:30 Opening Reception and Poster Presentations
Out of the Menstrual Closet: Perceptions of Women Who Leak Menstrual Blood
Angela Barney, SUNY-Fredonia and Ingrid Johnston-Robledo, Castleton College
The purpose of this study was to examine how women evaluate those who leak menstrual blood and psychosocial correlates of the view of menstruation as a stigmatized condition. Our hypothesis that the target women in the mortifying menstrual condition would be more stigmatized than the other target women was partially supported. Implications for women’s well-being and social status are considered.
Keeping Ethiopian Girls in School a Pad at a Time
Mary B. Moran, Columbia University and Karen S. Desjardins, Columbia University
Girls2Women is a grass roots organization developed in 2009 to keep Ethiopian girls from missing school secondary to inadequate protection during menses. The author developed a culturally sensitive, reliably absorbent, comfortable and reusable pad that can be hand sewn by the girls. The poster presentation tells the story.
I Wanna Do Bad Things With You: Menstruation in True Blood
Diana Alvarez, Florida Atlantic University
Rather than the synthetic True Blood of the show, menstrual blood could be used in vampire fiction to serve as the truest blood vampires could consume. True Blood depicts what I believe to essentially be menstrual sex in an eroticized and empowering way. “I want to drink your blood.”
The Red River: I Bleed Thereflow I am: Artistic Expressions of Menstruation and the Self
Diana Alvarez, Florida Atlantic University
Menstruation is socially constructed as a taboo experience. I demonstrate women’s counter production to this negative narrative through the use of visual art, photography, crafts, and poetry. The art is a contribution by women from ages 11 to 61 which depicts their personal relationship with menstruation. There will be blood.
Femininity, Body Appreciation, and Attitudes Toward Menstruation
Joan C. Chrisler, Connecticut College, Maria Luisa Marván, Universidad Veracruzana, Jennifer Gorman, Connecticut College, and Meghan K. Rossini, Connecticut College
Mexican and American women’s scores on a body appreciation measure and a measure of feminine norms were correlated with their beliefs about and attitudes toward menstruation. Although more Americans than Mexicans have used oral contraceptives, most women from both countries said that they would like to menstruate less often than monthly.
Mindfulness, Self Care, and the Experience of PMS
Joan Chrisler, Connecticut College, Maria Luisa Marván, Universidad Veracruzana, Jennifer Gorman, Connecticut College, and Julia H. Cristofano, Connecticut College
American women (ages 30-45) completed the MDQ, answered questions about their experience of PMS, and completed measures of their experience of pleasure and their self-compassion. Aspects of self-compassion predict high scores on negative affect and concentration problems during the premenstrual phase.
Early Pubertal Timing in Girls and Changes in Parent-Child Communication in Early Adolescence
Laura DeRose, Aldelphi University and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University
The study investigated how early pubertal timing is associated with longitudinal change in parent-child communication in observed interactions between both girls and their mothers and girls and their fathers. Awareness of how early pubertal timing is associated with parent-child communication can inform parental guidance programs for mothers and fathers of adolescent girls.
Graduate Psychology Training Recommendations for Women’s Reproductive Health
Lisa C.Hoyman, Palo Alto University, Palo Alto University, Marisa Keller, Palo Alto University and Rami Tabbarah
This presentation aims to outline a proposal for a one-day women’s reproductive health seminar in which graduate psychology students learn about the stigma of discussing the menstrual cycle with clients, receive an overview of women’s reproductive health, and learn about the clinical value of training in this area.
Reactions to Menarche and Attitudes Toward Menstruation Among Mexican Adolescents with Early Menarche
Maria Luisa Marván, Universidad Veracruzana and Yamilet Ehrenzweig, Universidad Veracruzana
Mexican adolescents with an early menarche (n=30) were more likely than their peers (n=30) to have felt ashamed, scared or worried and were less likely to have felt excited when they got their first period. Moreover, they were the most likely to show current negative and secretive attitudes toward menstruation.
Causal Attributions of Physical and Emotional Symptoms Associated with the Menstrual Cycle
Sandra Sigmon, University of Maine, Julia Craner, University of Maine, and Morgan McGillicuddy, University of Maine
In addition to symptom severity, researchers should investigate what causal attributions are made about menstrual symptoms. Psychological attributions about somatic symptoms are linked to greater reports of depression and anxiety. This study is the first to examine the relationship between causal attribution and symptom severity associated with the menstrual cycle.
Psychological Consequences of Early Menarche in Mexican Girls
Verónica Alcalá Herrera, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Mexican adolescents (13-15 of age) answered the Children’s Depression Scale, the Spence Children´s Anxiety Scale, and the Children’s Coping Scale. Early menarche was associated to an increased risk of having depressive and anxiety symptoms, which in turn predicted unproductive coping strategies when they have familiar, school, medical or social problems.
Bone Loss in Postmenopausal HIV Infected Women: A Systemic Review
Yamnia I. Cortes, Columbia University
Low bone mineral density (BMD) is a common complication of HIV infection. Given that bone demineralization accelerates following menopause, HIV-infected postmenopausal women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis and associated fractures. A systematic review was conducted to appraise the evidence on low BMD in HIV-infected postmenopausal women.
Sustainable Cycles: Sparking a Grassroots Movement Toward Sustainable Menstrual Products
Toni Craige, Sustainable Cycles and Sarah Konner, Sustainable Cycles
In 2011, Toni and Sarah rode their bikes down the West Coast, lived on $4 a day, and educated people about sustainable menstrual products. They led workshops, wrote articles, and gave away 275 menstrual cups. They continue to work to catalyze grassroots interest in sustainable menstrual products through Sustainable Cycles.
Helping Women with Difficult “Periods”–The Ablation Approach
Sara Martino, Richard Stockton College
New technology has created new options for women with difficult periods. It is no longer necessary that women suffer and eventually succumb to a hysterectomy. This research projects includes interviews from women who elected to have an ablation procedure and from an Ob-Gyn who outlines what options women have today. There has been a decrease in the shame around discussing difficult periods along with progress in treating them.
“Boys don’t have knowledge about menstruation; they think it is a bad thing” Knowledge and Beliefs about Menstruation among Adolescent Boys in Gicumbi District, Rwanda
Gauthami Penakalapati, Emory University, Bethany Caruso, Emory University, Sarah Yerian, Emory University, Karen Andes, Emory University, Albertine Umimana, UNICEF Rwanda, and Matthew C. Freeman, Emory University
This research aims to understand the knowledge and beliefs adolescent boys have about menstruation and if their understanding influences their behavior towards girls who are menstruating in Gicumbi District, Rwanda. Using systematic qualitative methods, data were collected in five schools with a sample of 31 adolescent boys aged 9 to 17.
Age at Menarche in Three Generations of TREMIN Families
Tanya C. Allawh, Pennsylvania State University, Phyllis Mansfield, Pennsylvania State University Jeanne Spicer, Pennsylvania State University and Melissa Hardy, Pennsylvania State University
Menstrual characteristics, specifically age at menarche, varies across birth cohorts within populations. Some research suggests that there exists a secular trend of decreasing age at menarche in the United States during the 20th century. Explanations for this secular trend draw mainly upon environmental factors; the role of genetics, however, is not well understood. The TREMIN Research Program on Women’s Health provides an opportunity to compare age at menarche across generations within families. Menstrual cycle data, including age at menarche, from 931 mother-daughter-granddaughter triads allow an initial assessment of heritability of this trait. The TREMIN Research Program is one of the world’s longest current Menstrual Cycle study, having collected data from participants between 1934 and 2007. We examine age at menarche in mothers (retrospectively recorded) and their daughters and granddaughters (prospectively recorded) across three major cohorts.
Pharmaceutical Messages about Menstrual Suppression: A Content Analysis of Oral Contraceptive Websites
Sasikala Nair, Wayne State University
Menstrual suppression using oral contraception continues to be the most important non-contraceptive health benefit of the pill. The messages of menstrual suppression conveyed by the bio-medical model often focuses on the negatives of menstruation such as the length of the blood flow, menstrual cramps, mood swings etc. Direct-to-consumer advertising of oral contraceptives online also provides negative messages about menstruation, thus encouraging women to take the pill for menstrual suppression. This poster looks at an ongoing study which is using a content analysis methodology to study the messages conveyed on pharmaceutical websites about the pill and how they advertise menstrual suppression.
Stains ™ Brand Identity Style Guide
Chella Quint, Adventures in Menstruating
The purpose of this poster is to spoof typical brand usage guidelines provided by real companies to ensure that their media impressions are on message. This will mimic a corporate branding communiqué, with all of the features typical of this type of document: corporate ethos, logo design and colour guides, mission statement and examples of correct and incorrect usage. Stains ™ is a fashion statement that really says something.
7:00-8:30 Making Menstruation Matter Award Presentation with Gloria Steinem
Friday June 7th
Promoting the Menstrual Cycle as a Key Component of Women’s Health: A Public Health Perspective
Panelists: Heather Guidone and Diana Karczmarczyk. Moderator: Evelina Sterling
Menstrual cycle disruptions are linked to serious long-term health consequences, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis,infertility,and mental health issues. However,the menstrual cycle is largely ignored by the public health community. This panel will include public health practitioners who are exploring ways to include the menstrual cycle within existing woman¹s health initiatives. By the end of
this session, participants will be able to explain how the menstrual cycle impacts overall women’s health and wellness, identify current challenges and barriers regarding focusing on the menstrual cycle, and utilize tools for overcoming these challenges and actively promoting the menstrual cycle as a key component of women’s health.
Heather Guidone has been the Center for Endometriosis Care’s (CEC) Surgical Program Director for nearly a decade. An award-winning women’s Health Educator with a focus on endometriosis and pelvic pain, she is a Medical Writer and nationally certified Clinical Wellness Coach (CWC), trained in application of the Transtheoretical Model to health education. For sixteen years, she has also been the Vice President and an Executive Board Member of the Endometriosis Research Center (ERC), a 501(c)3 non-profit foundation centered on the disease.
Diana Karczmarczyk is the Senior Analyst for Tobacco and Chronic Disease Prevention at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She holds an MPH degree in public health education and is currently pursuing her PhD in Education with a minor in public health education and a specialization in international education at George Mason University. She currently teaches Human Sexuality and will be teaching a brand new Men’s Health course at George Mason in the fall. She is the Chair of the Breastfeeding Promotion Committee in Alexandria, Virginia.
Evelina W. Sterling, PhD, MPH, MCHES is a master health education specialist, public health consultant, and author of several consumer health books addressing women¹s health, including Living with PCOS, Having Your Baby through Egg Donation, and Before Your Time: Living Well with Early Menopause.
10:15-10:30 Morning Break
10:30-11:45 Concurrent Session 1
I. WORKSHOP: Finding your FLO: Feeding the 4 Phases of the Menstrual Cycle for Optimal Health and Personal Power—Alisa Vitti, Functional Nutritionist
In this workshop, I will make the crucial case for partnering with your period. I will uncover what blocks the normal endocrine function that results in healthy periods, share case studies of clients who have reversed difficult menstrual issues using my protocol from a decade of practice, and outline how women can use food to leverage their cycle for optimal health and life management. A woman’s cycle science is her power tool for mastering her life as a woman.
II. PAPER SESSION: Adverts, Campaigns and Other Media Messages
Chair—Ciara Bush, University at Albany, SUNY
- 1. Problematizing the Assumptions in the Intercultural Technology Transfer of Menstrual Hygiene Products—Arpan Yagnik, Bowling Green State University
I problematize the technological transfer of menstrual hygiene products from West to East by critically evaluating the underlying assumptions to comprehend the cultural relevance of the transfer, justify the rate of adoption of transfer, identify the bottlenecks prohibiting the adoption, and suggest ideas for a successful transfer of technology.
- 2. Menstruation and/as Performance –Emily Graves, Louisiana State University
My aim is to think of speech as a way of doing menstruation. I analyze the menstrual language in a Tampax “Mother Nature” ad to see how language as a discursive practice might both maintain and intervene in menstrual secrecy.
- 3. Menstrual Erotics: Sex and the Period in Advertising—David Linton, Manhattan Marymount College
Though there are long standing cultural prohibitions against sexual contact during menstruation, the practices of consumer capitalism and the imperative to sell products, frequently through appeals to sexual desire, have served to challenge this ancient taboo. This presentation examines the use of sex appeal in magazine, television, and internet advertising to market menstrual products
- 4. A projection of “a new Argentina”: The first o.b. tampons campaign within the context of “Dirty War” in Argentina (1976-1983)– Eugenia Tarzibachi, University of Buenos Aires.
The anti-subversive campaign of Argentina´s “Dirty War” (1976-1983) pledged to contain an internal threat. Ironically, its rhetoric coincided with the country´s first ad campaign for “total feminine protection” through o.b. tampons (1978-1981) offering the new liberated woman the chance to contain and conceal a rather different internal leakage.
III. PAPER SESSION: Menstrual Resistance: Toward a New Politics of Reproductive Health
Chair—Nancy Reame, Columbia University
- 1. The Menstrual Countermovement in Europe—Josefin Persdotter, Gothenburg University
Using the method of autoethnography of online based activities/expression to study the menstrual countermovement on the European Continent, I explore how Europeans act out against the taboo of menstruation.
- 2. Out for Blood: Uniting Menstrual Activism and Feminist Pedagogy in the University Classroom—Breanne Fahs, Arizona State University
Drawing on emerging work about menstrual activism (Bobel, 2006; 2010), this paper showcases through photos and narratives the menstrual activist work of two semesters of “Psychology of Gender” students. Topics include: student tactics for resistance; the challenges of “assigning” activism; the impact of activism on students, the campus, and the broader community; and pedagogies of resistance.
- 3. Bleeding Green: Recapturing Feminist Ownership in the Age of Consumerism—Kimberly L Howell, Pacifica Graduate Institute
This paper provides a phenomenological and auto ethnographical view into the perceived notions of feminine beauty, ideals of the bodily aesthetic, and the consumerism of menstruation as demonstrated by commercial coercion and the maneuverability of media; all collapsing under the jurisdiction of semiotics.
- 4. Breaking the Cycle of “Break the Cycle”: Pulling the Plug on the Bio-Political Discourses Found within U by Kotex’s Social Media Campaign—Sophie Zivku, Wilfrid Laurier University
This paper exposes the way in which the disciplinary discourse of U by Kotex’s website regulates the menstruating body. The website’s discourse will be shown to act as a surveillance mechanism that reinforces a regulatory regime of post-feminist practice that perpetuates the present-day negative menstrual discourses it claims to reject.
IV. PAPER SESSION: Menstrual Knowledge Productions
Chair—Julie Sygiel, Founder/CEO, Dear Kate
- 1. Becoming CycleSmart: Developing an Innovative Tool to Help Girls Learn about and Manage their Menstruation—Melissa K. Adams, Georgetown University, Kimberly Aumack Yee, Independent Consultant and Elizabeth Salazar, Georgetown University
The CycleSmart Kit, created to help girls learn about and manage their menstruation, was developed and tested with youth-serving organizations in Rwanda, Guatemala and the United States. Findings indicate the Kit helps girls learn about menstruation and fertility; track and plan their cycles; and communicate with parents about pubertal changes.
- 2. Beyond the Leaking Body: Menarche and the Transition to Womanhood—Theresa E. Jackson, Clark University
This qualitative study investigates how societal discourses of menstruation converge with a participant’s particular societal location to inform her menarche experience and transition to womanhood. Manners in which meaning making around menarche, sexuality, and womanhood varied with a participant’s ‘race’ and social class position will be discussed.
- 3. Taking a Different Path: Menarche Without Mothers—Melanie Kalman, Upstate Medical University
Menarche is a significant event. Mothers are an important resource. Yet more adolescent girls are raised by single-father. This grounded theory study explored the menarcheal experience of girls living without mothers. Three categories evolved: information readiness, learning roles, and re-forming relationships. The basic social process was Taking a Different Path.
- 4. Lessons from Inside: Menstrual Pain and Body Awareness as Model for Insight—Aviva Rohde, Psychologist/Psychoanalyst
Using an empirical study that demonstrated the relationship between menstrual pain and body consciousness as a model for more generalized applications, this paper explores the implication that normative pain provides a pathway to healthy self-knowledge.
V. PAPER SESSION: Of Menstrual Discourses and Scripts
Chair—Mindy Erchull, University of Mary Washington
- 1. The Disruption of Couple’s Communication in the Context of Premenstrual Change: Partner Perspectives—Marlee King, University of Western Sydney
In-depth interviews were conducted with 12 men prior to, and following their participation in a couple-based intervention for PMS. Through the use of a thematic discourse analysis, disrupted couple communication was identified as a central theme. Results strengthen notions of premenstrual distress as a relational experience, with implications for couple-based interventions.
2. The Subtle Trauma: Premenstrual Syndrome Language and Subjectivity—Marie Hansen, Columbia University
This paper will look at pre-menstrual syndrome psychoanalytically, as the somatization of invisible and unacknowledged cultural pain. Drawing from Jacques Lacan, Simone de Beauvoir, Luce Irigary, and intergenerational trauma theory, I will discuss how language and gender discourse obstruct the development of women’s subjectivity and create within them an “unresolved space of suffering,” which may manifest as the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.
3. “The Bloody Verdict”: Simone de Beauvoir, Women’s Alienation and the Pubertal Girl—Karen Winkler, Hostos Community College/CUNY
Menstruation is key to Simone de Beauvoir’s brilliantly visceral yet critically neglected analysis of “the crisis of puberty” in The Second Sex. This paper explores Beauvoir’s theory that the practices of patriarchy cohere at puberty to etch alienation into girls’ experience of their bodies, and into women’s lives.
12:00-1:30 Luncheon and Keynote
The Madness of Women: Myth and Experience.
For centuries, expert explanations for women¹s reproductive distress have centered on the corporeal body, with the wandering womb, and more recently raging hormones or neurotransmitter imbalances, positioned as to blame. This has resulted in a reductionist bio-medical conceptualization of the causes and treatment of distress experienced in the premenstrual phase of the cycle, peri-natally, and during menopause. Feminist critics argue that this medicalizes women’s misery, legitimizes expert intervention, and negates the political, economic, and discursive aspects of reproductive health. However, the alternative model of social constructionism may appear to dismiss the ³real² of women¹s misery, and deny agency and resistance. Drawing on a series of mixed method research studies conducted across women¹s reproductive life cycle, this paper will argue that a material-discursive-intrapsychic (MDI) model acknowledges socio-cultural context, as well as intrapsychic, relational, and corporeal factors associated with women¹s reproductive distress.
Awarded a personal chair in Women’s Health Psychology in 2002, Jane Ussher has been working on research on gendered health, since she started her PhD in 1983. Her research focuses on examining gendered factors underlying mental health problems, subjectivity and identity in relation to the reproductive body and sexuality, and gendered issues in cancer caring. As a trained clinical psychologist, she has also made a contribution to the integration of research and clinical practice in women’s health, and has developed a women centred psychological treatment for PMS.
Jane is editor of the Routledge Women and Psychology book series, and author of a number of books, including The Psychology of the Female Body (Routlege 1989), Women’s Madness: Misogyny or Mental Illness? (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991), Fantasies of Femininity: Reframing the Boundaries of Sex (Pengin, 1997), Managing the Monstrous Feminine: Regulating the Reproductive Body (Routledge, 2007), and The Madness of Women: Myth and Experience (Routledge, 2011).
She has also edited a number of books: Gender Issues in Clinical Psychology (with Paula Nicolson; Routledge 1992); The Psychology of Women’s Health and Health Care (McMillan, 1992); Psychological Perspectives on Sexual Problems (Routledge, 1993); Bodytalk: The Material and Discursive Regulation of Madness, Sexuality and Reproduction (Routledge, 1997); and Women’s Health: Contemporary International Perspectives (Blackwell, 2000).
1:45-3:00 Concurrent Session 2
I. WORKSHOP: Alternative Products and Menstrual ‘Outing’: How to ‘Sell’ a New Menstrual Narrative –Jaqueline J Gonzalez, Arizona State University, Stephanie Robinson, Arizona State University and Breanne Fahs, Arizona State University
From the onset of menarche women are taught that their taboo, dirty leaky, viscous bodies are sites of contestation in need of management and containment. In this workshop we will deconstruct women’s menstrual shame by teaching other menstruation scholars, students, and activists how to promote alternative menstrual products, build a network of new menstrual activists, reduce others’ shame about menstruation, and engage in direct conversation with “newcomers” to the alternative menstrual product arena.
Chair—Chris Bobel, University of Massachusetts Boston
- 1. ENDOME—Holly Bittner, Moore College of Art and Design and Heather Ujiie, Moore College of Art and Design
This multimedia poetic performance is the testimony of one woman’s experience living with the disease endometriosis. Infusing medical records and surgery reports with memories, songs, and dreams, ENDOME treats the body’s symptoms as a call to personal transformation and spiritual discovery, at the same time undressing collective wounds of the feminine in Western culture.
III. PAPER SESSION: The Formal, Informal and Cultural: Menstrual Talk
Chair—Joan Chrisler, Connecticut College
- 1. Current Menstrual Education Resources: Still Room for Improvement—Peggy Stubbs, Chatham University
Given girls’ increased use of online information, marketing campaigns which focus on negative aspects of menstruation or its unimportance, and concerns about earlier puberty, which have prompted reconsideration about “normative” menstrual experience, how do current menstrual education resources for young girls measure up? Commentary including suggestions for improved content is offered considering previous research into how best to prepare girls for menstruation.
- 2. Educational Screen: Social Evolution of Menstrual Education—Saniya Lee Ghanoui, New York University
This study explores the social evolution of menstrual education films, how society initially wanted such films for school settings, the social discussion behind the films (particularly what and how to include specific menstrual and sexual information) and how, as technology progressed, film producers demanded for better quality and more interesting films.
- 3. Are we Suppressing Conscious Growth?—Karen Walters, Celebrating our Cycles
A presentation of Karen’s ‘Life Affirmation and Menstruation’ model for parents and caregivers of girls entering adolescence. It suggests how to support girls so their individual gifts can blossom and be shared with the world. Central to it are reasons why a woman needs to view menstruation positively.
- 4. Periods in Pop Culture —Lauren Rosewarne, University of Melbourne
In this paper, Lauren Rosewarne will discuss the findings presented in her book Periods in Pop Culture: Menstruation in Film and Television. Drawing on a vast collection of over 200 menstruation scenes from film and television, this study examines and categorizes representations to unearth what they reveal about society and about our culture’s continuingly fraught relationship with female biology. Written from a feminist perspective, menstrual representations are analyzed for what they reveal about sexual politics and society. Periods in Pop Culture highlights that the treatment of menstruation in the media remains an area of persistent gender inequality.
IV. PANEL: Menstruation through a Feminist Philosophy of the Body
Chair—Jennifer Scuro, College of New Rochelle
1. This is a small panel of students and their professor from the College of New Rochelle, NY. In Fall 2012. Through analysis, logical demonstration and poetry, our focus was to do something philosophically unique– examine the body as experienced by women while suspending and critiquing cultural and social misogyny.
- a. A Summary of Anne Fausto-Sterling’s “ Menopause: the Storm Before the Calm” –Pauline Guina, College of New Rochelle
- b. The Beastly Metaphors of Menstruation—Jennifer Scuro, College of New Rochelle
- c. Poem: “A Different Bleed” –Shaun Gay, College of New Rochelle
2. The Menstrual Body as a Feminist Political Body: Ethnography About the Resignifications of Menstruation Among Young Women — Miren Guillo-Arakistain, University of the Basque Country
This paper proposal, -which is part of my PhD research- observes how young Basque women are trying to understand and rethink the menstrual cycle from an alternative way to the biomedical-scientific and cultural hegemonic model, through different discourses and practices, regarding both the management of menstrual blood and the various artistic and cultural initiatives.
V. WORKSHOP: Making Menstruation Matter at Wikipedia—Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, Eastern Washington University
In this workshop, you will learn the basics of editing and contributing to Wikipedia so that SMCR can deploy the power of Wikipedia to represent the menstrual cycle as fully and accurately as possible to a wide, general audience. No previous experience editing Wikipedia needed.
3:00-3:15 Afternoon Break
3:15-4:30 Concurrent Session 3
I. WORKSHOP: Loving the Body Fiercely: The Coloredgirl Coochie Performance Politics of Transgression, Transformation, Periods, Poetry and Power—Sharon L. Powell, Artist, Educator and Consultant
Loving the Body Fiercely is an interactive experiment combining paper presentation, performance, and workshop. It is an attempt to do public praxis with menstruation as the site for troublemaking, using the arts and spirituality practice to explore, think and act. The experiment ends with a participant led ritual/performance/action.
II. WORKSHOP: Policy and Practice: Learning from the Experiences of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) from Around the World—Facilitators—Therese Mahon, WaterAid and Marni Sommer, Columbia University with Bethany Caruso, Emory University, Archana Patkar, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), CeCeCamaho, Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) and Megan White Mukuria, ZanaAfrica
The challenges faced by adolescent girls and women in managing their monthly menstrual flow with safety, dignity and comfort have been insufficiently addressed in low resource settings around the world. In recent years, increasing attention has focused on the specific challenges of menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in such contexts, and particularly on the barriers faced by adolescent schoolgirls. These range from insufficient water and sanitation facilities and materials, to inadequate menstrual hygiene guidance and unaffordable sanitary products, to unsupportive school environments. The proposed workshop brings together MHM experts in research, policy, and practice in an effort to provide a foundation of understanding on: the specific barriers faced by girls and women around the world; the spectrum of research and interventions underway; and, identified gaps and suggested avenues of action for the future. The aim of the workshop is to inform, train, and ultimately have the workshop leaders gain insights from attendees’ participation.
III. PANEL: Issues of Menstruation in Literature
Chair—Colleen Lutz Clemens, Kutztown University
This panel will investigate the different ways that menstruation is depicted in texts from around the world. With a focus on literature geared toward young adults or literature that depicts coming into adulthood, this panel will ask participants to consider the implications of reading and teaching such texts.
- 1. A Nauseating Business: Menstruation and Colonizing the Black Body—Jenny Lapekas, Kutztown University
- 2. Menancing Menarche: Menstruation (or its lack) in Postcolonial Bildungsroman—Colleen Lutz Clemens, Kutztown University
- 3. From Blume to “Blooming”: Menstruation’s Journey through Young Adult Literature—Riley Wilkins, West Chester University
- 4. The Censoring of Menstruation in Adolescent Literature: A “Growing” Problem—Carissa Pokorny-Golden, Kutztown University
IV. PAPER SESSION: Reproductive Aging: New Paradigms, Fresh Perspectives
Chair—Saniya Lee Ghanoui, New York University
- 1. The last ones and the memory of them: Construction, representations and experiences of the last periods before menopause– Cécile Charlap, University of Strasbourg
The last years of menstrual cycle are subject to a pervasive social discourse and object of women’s “unspeakable” experience. Over and above the social representations that construct these last periods as disturbed and dangerous, women’s experiences appear to be varied, as is the memory of the last periods, which can be extremely lively
- 2. The experience of flow in menopause—Maureen McHugh, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Flow refers to full engagement in a task or activity, resulting in fulfillment, peak performance and creativity. Other research documents the positive impact of creativity on health in the aged. In this paper I examine the experience of flow in older women, and address the question of women’s experience and expression of creativity post menopause.
- 3. Tracking Menopause Blogs for the Impact of Cultural Discourse –Heather Dillaway, Wayne State University and Victoria Velding, Wayne State University
The idea that menopause represents negative bodily change is cemented within cultural discourse. Nonetheless many women may see menopause as a positive or neutral transition. In this presentation we analyze the text of 20 ‘menopausal’ blogs from 2011 to 2013, to track the impact of negative cultural discourse and possible growth of more positive perspectives.
V.PAPER SESSION: Making Menstruation Matter ONLINE
Chair– Janette Perz, University of Western Sydney
- 1. Reliable Sources? Girlhood and Online Menstrual Education by Corporations—Ciara Bush, University at Albany, SUNY
As digital natives, many girls go to the Internet when looking for answers to personal questions. But what are they finding online? As far as menstrual education, large menstrual product corporations dominate the field. This paper looks at what messages girls are receiving if these are their sources for menstrual education, and what sorts of consequences this may present.
- 2. Metaformia Journal : Publishing An Alternative View of Menstruation
While menstrual roots of a shared herstory remain, menstruation experiences a current media veil of secrecy, shame and purported uselessness. Metaformia: A Journal of Menstruation & Culture (www.metaformia.org) is an online resource of articles, commentaries, and artwork, which serves to offer another perspective to menstruation.
- a. The Power of Menstrual Origin Stories, Judy Grahn, Sofia University
- b. The Men$trual Origins of Money, Polly Wood, www.radwoman.org
- c. Honoring the Power of the Womb; Her Menstrual Song of Awakening and Her Experiential Song of Becoming, Tara L. Kali, Sofia University
- d. As If Our Roots Were Common: A Theoretical Herstory of Alliance, Anya de Marie, Sofia University
5:00-6:15 Business Meeting
8:00-10:00 Poetry Slam
Saturday, June 8th
Using Social Media to Promote a Women’s Health Agenda
Panelists: Elizabeth Kissling, Josefin Persdotter, Leonore Tiefer and Laura Wershler
Through the use of examples of their own work and others, panelists will show how social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and various petition and fundraising sites can be used to promote awareness and build coalitions around women¹s health issues. Panelists will demonstrate some of the major social media networks and several tools and strategies for using these networks to promote coalition-building as well as their organization¹s mission and online materials.
Our panelist will show how social media can be used to build coalitions and promote awareness of women¹s health issues. Panelists will demonstrate some of the major social media networks and several tools and strategies for using these networks.
Elizabeth Arveda Kissling is a professor of women’s studies and of communication at Eastern Washington University. She is the author of Capitalizing on the Curse: The Business of Menstruation (2006, Lynne Rienner Publishers), and numerous scholarly articles. She is the founder and Executive Editor of re:Cycling, the blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. She has been participating in online communities since 1984.
Josefin Persdotter is a menstrual creator, scholar and activist based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Devoted to challenge the menstrual silence she does most of her work on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and through blogging. In her Masters Thesis at Gothenburg University she has also researched the online activities of the european menstrual countermovement.
Leonore Tiefer, PhD is an author, educator, researcher, therapist and feminist activist in sexology. In 2000 she initiated the Campaign for a New View of Women’s Sexual Problems [newviewcampaign.org] that challenges medicalization, Big Pharma, and female genital cosmetic surgery. She authored Sex Is Not a Natural Act and many other works.
Laura Wershler is a veteran sexual and reproductive health advocate, re: Cycling blogger, and women’s health columnist who uses social media to link friends and followers to her writing, as well as to share information about other women’s health issues. Laura says learning about Twitter is like following a trail of crumbs that leads to information about people, places, and ideas she might otherwise have missed.
10:30-10:45 Morning Break
10:45-12:00 Concurrent Session 4
I. WORKSHOP: Making Menstruation Matter in the Media: An Op Ed Workshop—Laura Wershler, Women’s Health Critic and Writer and Sexual and Reproductive Health Advocate
Want to write an Op-Ed, but don’t know where to start? Bring two or three topic ideas to this workshop and leave with a focus statement, a title, a first sentence, a source list, and tips on how to translate your research or expertise into an opinion piece that will grab an editor’s interest.
II. PAPER SESSION: Menstruation in the Context of our Sexual Lives
Chair—Lisa Leger, Justisse Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner
- 1. Period Porn: On/Scene and Off/Scene Bodily Fluids—Laura Helen Marks, Louisiana State University
This paper analyzes the obscenity of menstrual blood within pornographic film and discourse. While other bodily fluids are plentiful in pornography, menstrual blood remains the one taboo bodily fluid remaining in porn. Through an analysis of video, fan discourse, and behind-the-scenes footage, my paper illuminates the ways in which pornography renders menstrual blood obscene, and in turn genders and sexes the secretion and reception of specific bodily fluids.
- 2. Are Vampires Squeamish About Menstruation or Is It Just Humans? –Lisa Leger, Justisse Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner
Take a look at the latest volume from Trunk Books; “Blood”. This artistic and thoughtful anthology examines the cultural meaning of blood in history, mythology, and even recipes. Lisa Leger contributed the essay “Twilight Stories: Where’s the Blood” which explores the odd lack of menstrual blood in vampire stories.
- 3. Purity, Privacy and Procreation: Constructions and experiences of reproductive and sexual health in 3 culturally and linguistic diverse (CALD) communities living in Australia—Janette Perz, University of Western Sydney and Jane Ussher, University of Western Sydney
This paper presents the results of two related studies that examined the constructions and experiences of reproductive and sexual health in three culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities living in Australia. The constructions and experiences of these participants were closely tied to cultural, religious and gendered family values with implications for health care workers designing and offering sexual health services to non-English speaking or migrant communities.
III. PAPER SESSION: Menstrual Challenges and Embodied Diversity
Chair—Alice Dan, University of Illinois at Chicago
- 1. Menstruation Madness: Female Athletes—Shawna Held, San Diego State University
This paper examines the menstruation narratives of collegiate female athletes at a Southern California National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) University. Through surveys and focus groups, the researcher investigates the physical negotiations, communication techniques, and attitudes towards menstruation and outlines future opportunities for change at the collegiate level.
2. “Menstrually-Starved “ –Robin Percyz, Writer
“Menstrually Starved” is a cultural and political discussion of amenorrhea resulting from an eating disorder. In her essay, Robin offers an auto-biographical lens on how her amenorrhea has affected her views on womanhood and power, and how her boxing career helped “shed” light on the notion of “bleeding” in general.
3. “This is a natural process”: How Nepali Women Manage Menstrual Stigma—Mary Crawford, University of Connecticut, Michelle R. Kaufman, Johns Hopkins University, and Lauren M. Menger, Colorado State University
For women in Nepal, menstruation is strongly stigmatized due to religiously based pollution beliefs. Women participating in interviews and focus groups described their experiences of menarche, menstrual stigma, and stigma management strategies. This study provides a unique look at women’s responses to culturally based menstrual stigma in South Asia
IV. PAPER SESSION: Forging Menstrual Connections
Chair– Jane Ussher, University of Western Sydney
- 1. Bridging the Menstrual Cycle and Reproductive Justice Divide: A Personal Narrative about Body Literacy, Embodied Autonomy and Jung’s Concept of Individuation—Roxanne Partridge, Pacifica Graduate Institute
How does the divide between menstrual cycle awareness and reproductive justice confront our ways of imagining embodied autonomy? A personal narrative about a sexual encounter that risked reproductive choice and body literacy in a moment of disconnect explores the crucial challenges to practicing menstrual, embodied, individuation throughout a lifespan.
- 2. The Heartbreak of Aunt Flow: [a period of mourning, grief, and failure—a vastly different emotional experience]—Julie Bindeman, Psychologist (presented by Jen Bindeman)
Menstruation’s role in an American woman’s life varies across her development. From eagerly awaiting menstruation’s initial arrival to hoping for a signal of a negative pregnancy status, there’s a monthly emotional relationship. With child-bearing, “Aunt Flow’s” arrival signals a period of mourning, grief, and failure—a vastly different emotional experience.
3. New Measurements of Organochlorine in Tampons
Alessandra Leri, Marymount Manhattan College and Christina Galifianakis, Marymount Manhattan College
Organochlorine in feminine hygiene products has been linked with endometriosis and other gynecological disorders. However, measurements of organochlorine in such products are lacking from the scientific literature. We have used a novel analytical technique to measure total organochlorine concentrations in vaginal tampons, identifying a potential risk to women’s health.
12:00-1:15 Luncheon Event
Adventures in Menstruating: This Time It’s Personal
In a world where skirts are white, blood is blue, and Mother Nature is a menace to society, one woman has made it her mission to deconstruct feminine hygiene advertising with wit, irony or by any means necessary. Join comedy wordsmith Chella Quint for Adventures in Menstruating: This time, it’s personal. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll menstruate.* Coming this June to an SMCR conference near you.**
*Unless you don’t. In which case, you won’t.
**It will be near you if you are in New York. Otherwise it will be very far away from you.
Chella Quint <http://www.chellaquint.com/> is a comedy writer, performer, artist, activist, zine editor, and health educator originally from Brooklyn, but now she lives in Sheffield, England. Sheffield is almost exactly like Brooklyn – she promises.
Chella has been writing and touring a comedy roadshow based on her adbusting zine, Adventures in Menstruating, since July 2005, which she has retrospectively declared the Summer of Blood. She’ll stop touring once femcare advertisers stop using shame to sell (check out her TEDx talk) <http://bit.ly/periodpositive> . From Stains ™ to Sesame Street, Chella’s enthusiastic and highly irreverent adventures have taken her to some fun and funny places, and she’d love for you to join in.
When she’s not taking apart euphemisms, she researches links between media literacy and menstrual attitudes in middle schoolers and challenges educators to be more Period Positive. Chella’s poem, “To the Leaking Girl”, appears in the Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal’s special Issue on Representations of the Menstrual Cycle (2011), her comic essay, “Getting Civilized”, appears in the book Here Come the Brides: Reflections on Lesbian Love and Marriage (Seal Press, March 2012), and last autumn she contributed a poem and stencil to Cathechism: Poems for Pussy Riot for English PEN.
1:15-2:30 Concurrent Session 5
I. PANEL: Menstrual Cycle and Psychopathology
Chair– Yael I. Nillni, National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System
Anxiety Sensitivity as a Moderator of the Association Between Premenstrual Symptoms and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptom Severity –Yael I. Nillni, National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Erin C Berenz, Virginia Commonwealth University, Suzanne Pineles, National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Brittany Stark, University of Maine, and Amber Martinson, University of Maine
High rates of comorbidity between PTSD and PMDD have been shown, yet the nature of this correlation is unclear. In a sample of trauma-exposed women, we found that experience of premenstrual symptoms predicts PTSD symptom severity, but only among individuals high in anxiety sensitivity, a cognitive risk factor for PTSD.
2. Gender-specific Stressors in Panic Disorder and Anxiety Sensitivity—Sandra T. Sigmon, University of Maine, Julia Crane, University of Maine, Morgan McGillicuddy, University of Maine, Brittany Stark, University of Maine and Amber Martinson, University of Maine
Women experience two possible gender-specific stressors (frequent sexist events and menstrual distress) that occur solely based on biological sex which may exacerbate symptoms of anxiety in panic disorder. Results indicated that as levels of anxiety increased (in groups from panic disorder to low levels of anxiety), premenstrual symptoms increased.
3. Hormone Therapy Use in Women Veterans Accessing VA Care: A National Cross-Sectional Study—Megan R Gerber, Women’s Health, VA Boston Healthcare System, Sandra Japuntich, National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Matthew Kind, National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, and Bevanne Bean-Mayberry, VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System
US estimates show persistent decline in HT use by women over 45 to 4.7% by 2009. Using national VA data, we found 157,195 women over 45; 10.3% had received HT. Adjusted odds of HT were depression (OR 1.5), osteoporosis (OR 1.4), bipolar disorder (OR 1.4) and PTSD (OR 1.3).
4. Impacts of Menstrual Cycle Phase on Fear Conditioning in Women with and without PTSD– Suzanne L. Pineles, Women’s Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Yael I. Nillni, National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Samantha Patton, National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, Patricia A. Resnick, National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System and Scott Porr, Massachusetts General Hospital
Fear conditioning may be implicated in the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders. The current study examines fear conditioning in women with and without PTSD in the early follicular and midluteal phases of the menstrual cycle. Conditioned fear acquisition is impaired for women with PTSD in the early follicular phase.
II. WORKSHOP: The Chrysalis and the Crone: A Conscious Menopause—Ashley Ross
Isn’t there more to peri/menopause than just figuring out how to manage our symptoms? This experiential workshop explores the journey of peri/menopause using mythology, imagery, visualization, music, movement and the body, as we access the sometimes uncertain but always juicy terrain of our inner experience. (For all ages and stages).
III. PAPER SESSION: Talking Back to Big Pharma
Chair– Megan White Mukuria, ZanaAfrica
- 1. Menstrual Suppression as Practice: Deciding Whether and When to Bleed—Katie Ann Hasson, University of Southern California
Using interviews with women to examine menstrual suppression as a practice, I highlight a variety of ways women use hormonal contraceptives to alter whether and when they do bleed, shifting the focus from menstrual suppression to embodied negotiations of “normal” and “natural” bleeding.
- 2. A Paradox of Contraceptive Freedom: User Perspectives on Depo-Provera and its Effect on Menstruation—Aline Gubrium, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Interviews were conducted with 30 women about experience with injectable contraception. Three sub-themes emerged about its menstrual effect: 1) an affirmative theme of freedom and related notions of efficiency; 2) a thematic shift to loss of control and negative embodied experiences; and 3) a shift to regaining control and freedom by discontinuing its use and/or having a tubal ligation.
- 3. Is Having a Period a Lifestyle Choice? A Look at Pharmaceutical Advertising of Birth Control—Amanda Jenkins, York University
Western culture shrouds menstruation with messages of shame and secrecy perpetuated through menstrual advertising. This study explored perceptions of women between the ages of 18 to 25 regarding contraceptive commercials that market menstrual normalcy. Interviews were conducted to understand how these commercials shaped perceptions around the normalcy of monthly periods.
IV. PAPER SESSION: When Families Talk About Periods
Chair– Sophie Zivku, Wilfrid Laurier University
- 1. Fathers’ Attitudes About and Role in Educating Their Children About Menstruation—Mindy J Erchull, University of Mary Washington and Kate Richmond, Muhlenberg College
We collected quantitative and qualitative data from fathers in order to examine how their attitudes influenced their beliefs about how boys and girls should learn about menstruation. We also looked at the extent to which adherence to traditional gender roles in parenting related to their beliefs.
- 2. Early Pubertal Timing in Girls and Changes in Parent-Child Communication—Laura DeRose, Aldephi University and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Columbia University
The study investigated how early pubertal timing is associated with longitudinal change in parent-child communication in observed interactions between both girls and their mothers and girls and their fathers. Awareness of how early pubertal timing is associated with parent-child communication can inform parental guidance programs for mothers and fathers of adolescent girls.
- 3. “We Compared Ourselves: Who Got Their Periods First, Second Who Wears a Bra”: Body Acceptance at Menarche—Mother-Daughter Dyads Across Cultures—Sheryl Mendlinger, Northeastern University
As women we often compare ourselves with our peers as we move through the life cycle. This paper presents a theoretical analysis of in-depth interviews with multicultural mother-daughter dyads and examines the menarche experience in relation to the age of onset, level of preparedness and body image at puberty.
- 4. Are You There Mom? –Joyce McFadden, Private Practitioner, Training and Research Institute for Self Psychology and the Women’s Mental Health Consortium of New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center
McFadden’s presentation, excerpted from her book Your Daughter’s Bedroom, examines sexism’s role in inhibiting mothers from giving daughters what they need. Based on her study of 450 women, it reveals daughters experience menstruation as an emblem of lifelong distance between themselves and their bodies, and between themselves and their mothers.
V: PAPER SESSION: The Menstrual Meets the Textual
Chair—Annie Smith, ZanaAfrica
- 1. Animalism and Bleeding Bible Passages: Subversion of the Menstrual Etiquette and the Niddah Laws in Judith Hendel’s Novella Small Change (1988) –Ilana Weissberg, Tel Aviv University
The novella “Small Change” is the story of Rutschen, an Israeli Jewish woman, who menstruates in a space in which she cannot obey the Menstrual Etiquette. She copes with this, madly, by using self Animalistic Dehumanization. Then, she subverts the Jewish Niddah laws, writing Biblical Passages in her menstrual blood.
- 2. “An Eve Within Us”: Plato, Plotinus, St. Augustine, and Menstruation as the Heart of Moral and Cultural Order—Jacqueline K. Thomas, The University of Texas at Austin
Discussing the Platonic/Gnostic/early Christian roots of the ancient (usually religious) association of menstruation with worldly evil, the speaker will argue that this notion (based on primitive Greek “science”)is perhaps inadvertently ratified by our positive presentation of menstruation as simply a health- and fertility-indicating natural process. She will advocate for a deeper look at scholarship that connects the prehistoric origins of culture with menstruation and recommend an added focus on the possible value of the monthly discomfort of menstruation, insofar as it offers opportunities for enhanced perception and understanding of others feelings and suffering.
- 3. The Shock and Dread of Carrie’s Bloody Existence— Saniya Lee Ghanoui, New York University
Through the aesthetic of the female body, notably through menstrual blood, Carrie director Brian DePalma plays with shock and spectacle to create a tale of uncontrollable revenge that ultimately horrifies the feminine. Two of the defining characteristics of horror films, shock and dread are outlined in relation to Carrie and their relationship to the concept of blood in the genre.
- 4. Red Riding Hood: A Menstruation Tale Comes of Age—Susanna Horng, New York University
This case study examines how the menstruation tale Red Riding Hood has come of age from post WWII to the present in popular culture, media, film and literary fiction. It celebrates how menstruation empowers the archetypal female characters, and how the tale’s archetypal path serves as a coming of age metaphor for 21st century women.
2:30-3:30 Closing: Awards (??)
Art On Display: Artists Statements
Jen Lewis “Beauty in Blood” www.beautyinblood.com
Beauty in Blood challenges the long-standing cultural taboo of women’s menstrual cycles by offering the viewer another perspective of period blood. There is an abstract artistic quality when blood meets water that warrants a closer look not only by women but also by society as a whole.
Sadie Mohler “Blood on Paper”
Through my artwork I aim to directly confront the culture of disposal that surrounds menstruation. I draw on Julia Kristeva’s theory of ‘abjection’ and use visual representation to evoke an affective response. Menstrual blood is abject as it is neither subject nor object; it cannot be singularly defined because menstruation exists both inside and outside of our bodies, occupying a beautifully liminal space. This ambiguous duality triggers discomfort, disgust and the desire for disposal; however, by painting with my menstrual blood, I challenge this desire to dispose and instead celebrate the complexity and fluidity that is inherent in our periods. I remove menstruation from the margins, and through art, center it to provoke a renegotiation of its existence.