Proposal Title

The Bloody Tampon and Other Menstrual Moments in Popularized Media

Start Date

June 2022

End Date

June 2022

Abstract

In the season 3, episode 1 opener of You, a popular Netflix show about a serial killer named Joe Goldberg, his wife finds his murder box. Inside it contains a pair of underwear, a coffee sleeve, and a used, bloody tampon, strategically placed in a Ziplock bag, the string wound neatly around it. While in passing this is just a scene of shock and blood, it is also indicative of how popularized media dedicates space to destigmatizing menstruation and menstrual products. This scene and other menstrual instances ask the question: how often do women bleed onto the page or screen? In 2021, there are numerous instances of menstruation and menarche in the media, and my paper analyzes how the use of blood and menstrual symptoms both empowers and further stigmatizes young girls. I specifically look at scenes of menarche, and argue these scenes are inciting incidents that shift protagonists from a passive to active participant. I show that authorial treatments of young female protagonists predominantly reinforce contemporary, Westernized cultural desires to demonize and silence the female’s pubescent journey. Thus, menstrual moments in literature and media (whether subtle or visceral) create opportunities to dissect the pervasive patriarchal victimization of “femaleness” in society and the problematized use of terms like "premenstrual symptoms" and "hysteria."

Bio

Amanda "AJ" Campbell is a full-time Instructor at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Her teaching interests include digital pedagogy, critical thinking, and gender and sexuality studies. She is also a doctoral candidate at IUP, working on her dissertation that analyzes how menstruation is utilized in both 20th/21st century coming-of-age literature and media.

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Jun 23rd, 10:00 AM Jun 23rd, 11:30 AM

The Bloody Tampon and Other Menstrual Moments in Popularized Media

In the season 3, episode 1 opener of You, a popular Netflix show about a serial killer named Joe Goldberg, his wife finds his murder box. Inside it contains a pair of underwear, a coffee sleeve, and a used, bloody tampon, strategically placed in a Ziplock bag, the string wound neatly around it. While in passing this is just a scene of shock and blood, it is also indicative of how popularized media dedicates space to destigmatizing menstruation and menstrual products. This scene and other menstrual instances ask the question: how often do women bleed onto the page or screen? In 2021, there are numerous instances of menstruation and menarche in the media, and my paper analyzes how the use of blood and menstrual symptoms both empowers and further stigmatizes young girls. I specifically look at scenes of menarche, and argue these scenes are inciting incidents that shift protagonists from a passive to active participant. I show that authorial treatments of young female protagonists predominantly reinforce contemporary, Westernized cultural desires to demonize and silence the female’s pubescent journey. Thus, menstrual moments in literature and media (whether subtle or visceral) create opportunities to dissect the pervasive patriarchal victimization of “femaleness” in society and the problematized use of terms like "premenstrual symptoms" and "hysteria."