The censoring of menstruation in adolescent literature: a growing problem

The Censoring of Menstruation in Adolescent Literature: A Growing Problem, an article published in Women’s Reproductive Health, discusses the importance of “shedding the shame and secrecy” of menstruation in adolescent literature. While other “sensitive” topics of the past aren’t being censored in schools today, menstruation still is in many cases.

Author Carissa Pokorny-Golden states, ”Despite the recent popularity of adolescent literature amongst readers of all ages and the fact that adolescent literature continues to cover (or uncover) topics like rape, abuse, and addiction for young people, it repeatedly fails to cover menstruation. The reason why? Censorship.”

Pokorny-Golden looks at the themes of menstruation and censorship in classics such as Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, which she states is often censored, not for its descriptions of the Holocaust but because of the author’s discussion of menstruation, and Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. She also examines menstruation’s mention in more recent pieces of adolescent/crossover literature, Megan McCafferty’s Sloppy Firsts and Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s Lovingly Alice. The essay brings to light examples of adolescent literature that, instead of being censored, should be applauded for presenting the description and discussion of menstruation in positive and realistic ways.