Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2013

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Degree Program

Sociology

Department

Sociology

Major Professor

Dr. Susan Mann

Second Advisor

Dr. Rachel Luft

Third Advisor

Dr. Gilda Reed

Abstract

The main objective of this study is to develop a feminist theoretical understanding of menstruation. I first explore Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist existentialist concept of woman as Other to establish a baseline from which all other sociocultural discourses on menstruation flow. I next expand Erving Goffman’s symbolic interactionist theory on stigma to discuss the social-psychological internalization process that girls encounter as they become enculturated into menstruation as a stigmatic condition. I then use a macro-discursive, Foucauldian analysis on power and discourse to understand how menstruation has been socially constructed from premodern superstitions, to the rise of modern medicine in the late 19th century. I follow this with a Marxian, macro-materialist understanding of capitalism to discuss how the femcare industry emerged and commodified feminine hygiene products. Finally, I investigate how second and third wave feminists have mobilized to resist patriarchal ideologies which devalue, subordinate, and subjugate menstruating bodies.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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