Discussion

Should periods be mentioned more in YA?

discussion

I was at a book launch last week and I got to spend a few hours with some of my bookish friends and we got on the topic of what makes a book YA and what makes it middle grade. Which then led us on to what books can mention in this specific age categories.

First of all I was shocked to hear that some people in publishing think a books should be categorised as adult or older YA purely because it mentions a girl starting her period. Yes her period! It took me a while to process this. I mean they do realise that girls can start their period before they even hit their teens. I was 12 when I start mine and it may have gone a lot of hell smoother if I was able to read about it in all the books I was reading. An adult is not going to need to read about protagonists starting their periods. Trust me it a part of monthly life for them but young girls need to know that it is normal and isn’t a taboo to speak about it.

Working in a school allowed me to observe girls worrying and being embarrassed about their periods. I saw them try to shyly ask to go to the loo even though one of our rules is no one can go during lessons without a medical reason. To try and ask to go to change without broadcasting it to the class can be humiliating. Mostly because we are brought up to believe that it should be something we keep to ourselves. Purely because we can’t hurt the sensitive disposition of the men around us. They can talk about sex and pretty much all body functions without a care in the world. But mention the word period and they start acting like ladies in those classic literature books that faint at the mention of blood.

It is utterly ridiculous! Women should not be afraid to talk about periods and the publishing world should definitely not be afraid to mention it in YA books. If anything periods are an important part of growing up and girls have the right to be able to read about them.

So what do you think? Do you agree or have I gone a complete unfounded ramble? I would love to hear our thoughts on the matter.

amy

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6 thoughts on “Should periods be mentioned more in YA?

  1. Categorizing a book as adult or for older teens because it mentions periods is ridiculous to me. I started mine when I was eleven, so it was a reality before I was even a teenager. I know my friends and I talked about them, especially once mine started (I was the first of my friends). We all knew what they were. It’s not like we would have been shocked to read about them in a book.

    I remember that, after I started, some girls in class who I wasn’t particularly close to knew I had started and came to me asking questions about what it was like. Girls deserve to know about and understand periods before they start their own. I’m glad that I knew what was going on because, otherwise, who knows how terribly I would have panicked when I found blood in my underwear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t agree more! I was 12 and barely knew anything about periods. They weren’t mentioned in school and since none of my friends had started no one was talking about it yet.

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  2. Not just the lack of mentioning periods in books, have you noticed how rare it is to have a book where they specifically mention characters using the restroom. Apparently in books everyone is superhuman and their bladders never need emptying.

    I think having periods mentioned in YA on a more regular basis would be a good thing. Why is it okay for YA novels to have cussing and even discuss sex, but periods are a taboo topic? Seems ridiculous to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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