Traditionally, menstruation is a topic that has been stigmatized, overlooked, and surrounded by misinformation. The menstrual movement, which has become increasingly visible on social media across the globe since 2015, has long strived to change this status quo. Today, the movement uses social media to normalize open conversations about menstruation as well as raise awareness of related health and social issues, including endometriosis, period poverty, and the environmental impact of plastic products. Drawing on focus groups with 77 teenagers and interviews with 32 activists across the United Kingdom, this talk explores the impact of the menstrual movement and the media on young people's knowledge and perceptions of menstruation. The findings that are presented in this talk are from Maria Tomlinson's Leverhulme project which is the first significant piece of research to explore the impact of social media on societal attitudes towards menstruation.
Maria Tomlinson is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Sheffield with expertise in digital media, sociology, gender studies, and feminism. She is the author of From Menstruation to the Menopause: The Female Fertility Cycle in Contemporary Women's Writing in French (2021, Liverpool University Press) and is working on her second book The Menstrual Movement in the Media: Reducing Stigma and Tackling Social Inequalities (Palgrave Macmillan). She is also the editor of Queer(y)ing Bodily Norms in Francophone Culture and has published in journals such as Feminist Media Studies, L'Esprit Créateur and Social Semiotics.
Originally published at romancelanguages.nd.edu.