Date of Award
Dr. Susan Mann
Dr. Rachel Luft
Dr. Gilda Reed
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.
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Patterson, Ashly S., "The Menstrual Body" (2013). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 1659.