For many girls, getting one's period can cause anxiety or embarrassment. But when one 12-year-old got hers for the first time, her family threw her a full-on period party, the pictures of which soon went viral. The period party is hilarious, adorable, and super-helpful in reducing stigmatization all at the same time. Oh, and yes, of course there was a cake with red icing.
According to BuzzFeed News, Brooke Lee, from Jacksonville, Florida, had felt anxious about getting her period, so her mother, Shelly, organized a surprise period party to celebrate her. Shelly told BuzzFeed that she threw the party because she "wanted to make this event a little more fun!" While the party itself was a relatively small affair — cake and pizza, gifts of pads and tampons, and a few close friends and family members — the pictures of it quickly blew up after Brooke's cousin, Autumn Jenkins, posted them on Twitter. And while the party, and the positive response to it on social media, may simply seem fun and silly, there's a more important message behind it — reducing the very real stigma that surrounds menstruation.
Sure, plenty of girls can't wait to get their periods. (Just reread Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret! Seriously, do it. It's amazing.) But once Aunt Flo actually arrives, girls and women are taught that they're not supposed to talk about their periods too publicly. They learn to hide their tampons up their sleeves when they head to the bathroom, to feel embarrassed about buying pads at their local pharmacy.
The shame and stigmatization can continue into adulthood. Just think of President-elect Donald Trump trying to smear Megyn Kelly and her legitimate questioning of him by implying that she was on her period, or the continued misogynistic myth that women in power might not be able to do their jobs properly at that time of the month. (Too many lady emotions! Oh no!)
Of course, that's not even considering the horrible way girls around the world are sometimes treated when their bodies start performing the perfectly natural biological function necessary for the existence of humanity. Consider how, in some places, women are banished to menstrual huts for the duration of their period because they are "unclean" (and consider, too, the 15-year-old Nepalese girl who died of smoke inhalation in her menstrual hut while trying to keep warm).
So all of that is to say, bravo to Brooke and her family for getting a little silly. May we all start celebrating our periods so openly. And if anyone wants to bake me a cake with red icing around Jan. 28, it would be much appreciated.