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A Bloody Good Read: Five Books That Cover Menstruation

A background with icons of tampons, menstrual pads and cups along with various book cover of books that focus on menstruation
Menstruation is a natural bodily function and yet continues to be stigmatized. Illustrations by (c) Reset Fest Inc, Canada

Self-Care

A Bloody Good Read: Five Books That Cover Menstruation

Your must-read list for all things period.

Even though nearly half of the world menstruates, it continues to remain a taboo subject and shrouded in secrecy, affecting people socially, physically, mentally, and economically.

To help you further explore menstruation whether through fiction or commentary and the stigma associated with it, here is a list of books you can check out.

“Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation” by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim 

A red background with icons of tampons, menstrual pads, and menstrual cups with the cover of the book "Flow"

From the pill and cramps to the history of underflow, this book talks about all things period. Photo courtesy: Macmillan Publishers

Written humorously and unapologetically, Stein and Kim’s book urges us to recognize our bodies, break down stereotypes and myths about periods. It does a great job of calling out advertisements that romanticize menstruation while also talking about the primitive ideas around the topic from the past.  

“Period” by Emma Barnett

A background with icons of tampons, menstrual pads and cups along with the cover of "Period" by Emma Barnett.

Barnett serves facts with a side of humour in this book. Photo courtesy: Harper Collins

Barnett’s book is a social commentary on period education, workplace initiatives, period poverty and periods in transgender men. She explores the political and social attitudes towards periods and women’s health. “Period” is an attempt to start a conversation about menstruation for all people, not just women. 

“Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity” by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf

A background with icons of tampons, menstrual pads and cups along with the cover of "Periods Gone Public" by Jennifer Weiss-Wolf.

This book highlights the political cause of menstrual equity and looks at the affordability and availability of menstrual products. Photo courtesy: Arcade Publishing

Keeping with the current political dialogue about menstrual equity, Weiss-Wolf’s book dives into how the social standing of the person affects their period, with an emphasis on poverty and the prison system. In this narrative, she throws light on leaders that fight for better access to menstrual health and hygiene, and the measures that can be taken globally to make way toward period equity. 

“Vagina Problems” by Lara Parker 

A background with icons of tampons, menstrual pads and cups along with the cover of "Vagina Problems" by Lara Parker.

An autobiographical narration of Parker’s struggles with menstruation and her sexual health. Photo courtesy: Macmillan Publishers

Deputy editorial director at Buzzfeed, Lara Parker opens up in the “Vagina Problems” about living with endometriosis and the challenges that it brings with it. The candid memoir reveals her experience of being misdiagnosed repeatedly and dating without penetrative sex. The book encapsulates her journey of dealing with the chronic pain of endometriosis that occasionally leads to seizures and how it affects her mental and sexual health.

“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume

A background with icons of tampons, menstrual pads and cups along with the cover of "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume.

A story of young Margaret becoming a teenager and dealing with her ‘firsts,’ be it a bra, her period or a crush. Photo courtesy: Macmillan Publishers

A coming-of-age story set in the early 1970s, this book is a light read about Margaret who moves from New York to neighbouring New Jersey. It takes us along as she navigates boys, getting her period, bras, making new friends and coming into her own as a teenager.


Also Read: Eight Indian Books on Mental Health You Need to Read


 

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