Menstruation – A cultural history

IB Teacher Workshops

June 24, 2010

Click on the link below to go to the CBC radio 1 programme on

Seeing Red

A cultural history of menstruation

I find it a tad strange that I am adding it as a blog. However the mix of the physiology and culture compelled me to do so. It would make for an interesting discussion and incorporate the related syllabus points in a rather novel way.

Ask your students to listen at home, upload to their iPod or simply allow you to introduce the topic with an interesting ‘hook’?

(Excerpt from site)

Through culture and time..it always begins with the blood. The French speak of periods as “cardinals” or “tomatoes”. Or, “la femme fraise des bois” – literally the strawberry woman. More commonly, menstruation was called “mes regles” or “my rules”. In 1940’s street slang, menstruating women in America might be referred to as “the chick is Communist, “dirty red” or “her cherry is in the sherry”. More commonly we’ve heard the word, “period”, and of course, “the curse’. The Chinese wince at this. They call menstruation “heavenly waters” – believing it to be a powerful sign of the “female body in harmony”. Much maligned and misunderstood, often hated by the powers-that-be and sometimes by women themselves, menstruation remains the most dramatic biological marker of woman-hood.

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PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.