One topic we cover in my sociology classes is the way the nature vs. nurture debate treats those two categories as though they are completely separate entities: “nature” is this fixed biological reality and “nurture” is all the social stuff we use to tinker around with nature as best we can. I point out to students that biology isn’t as fixed as we often think it is, and that seemingly “natural” processes are in fact often highly influenced by social factors.
One good example of this is the age at which girls have their first periods (menarche). In the U.S. today, the average age at menarche is a little over 12 years, and that seems normal to us. But historically, this is odd; until quite recently, girls did not begin menstruating until well into their teens. Because girls have to develop a certain amount of body fat in order to menstruate, access to food affects age at menarche. And access to food is generally an indicator of all types of social factors, including societal wealth and the distribution of wealth within groups. In general, economic development increases access to sufficient levels of food, and thus reduces average age at menarche.
This graph of average age at menarche in France from 1840-2000 shows a clear decline, starting at over 15 years and now standing at under 13:
Below is a bar graph showing average age at menarche for a number of countries (age at menarche is the grey bar); we see the oldest average age is 13 and a half years, in Germany. Note that the data are not all from the same year, and while most report mean age at menarche, some report median age, so though they show a general trend, they are not strictly comparable:
However, these average ages obscure the fact that access to resources is not equal within nations, and as we would expect, though average age at menarche has fallen for most nations over the past century, we continue to see differences in average age among groups within nations that seem to mirror differences in wealth. For instance, this graph shows differences in average age at menarche between urban and rural areas in several countries:
The example of the quite dramatic fall in average age at menarche, as well as continued differences within societies, is a very helpful example for getting across the idea that biology is not fixed. I explain to my students that though we have many biological processes (i.e., the ability to menstruate), social factors such as economic development and social inequality affect how many of those processes are expressed (i.e., how early girls being to menstruate, on average).
For other examples of how social factors affect biology, see this post on average lifespan and this post on increases in height over time.
Living in a developed country- it’s easy to take advantage of easy access to menstrual care supplies. Kate, founder of A Future and a Hope saw the need for safe, reusable menstrual care options in her area and reached out to Lunette for help. Now, their latest project is building a barn that will serve as a rudimentary house for their orphanage.
I just started my period and I'm 11. I just had my first period like 2 weeks ago. When will I start it again?
There is no way that I can tell you precisely when you’re next period will happen again. BUT I can tell you, to be patient. Every body is different. And it’s pretty typical for your period to be irregular when you first start menstruating. By the way, The menstrual cycle begins on the first day of the period and ends on the first day of the following period. The cycle lasts an average of 28 days but can range from 21 to 45 days. Again, every body is different and wherever you may fall within the range is normal for you. :)
My earliest memories of anything remotely related to menstruation are the vague TV commercials that talked frequently about absorbing and leaking and protecting. All of seven or eight then, I assumed it as some sort of a diaper for women,&
What are you waiting for? Try a healthier alternative for handling your period that will not limit you or compromise the environment. Go out there and live your life to the fullest all month every month!
Hook yourself up with a Lunette menstrual cup! Check out the BLACK FRIDAY SALE! Use promo code #CyberSale at Be Prepared Period! And don’t forget their SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY SALE with promo code #ShopSmall.
How do you feel about other menstrual cup brands? I've seen some menstrual cup makers put other brands down.
We’re a legit business. So of course, WE think OUR menstrual cups are the best. However, everyone’s vagina is unique- and menstrual cups come in different shapes and sizes. Access also plays an important role. For some people it’s simply convenient to pick up a menstrual cup at Whole Foods rather than wait a few days for your perfect cup to arrive. Also, there may seem like there lots of menstrual cup brands out there- but it’s important to note that there only a few that are FDA approved. It’s important to know what your putting inside of your body. Especially a medical device that’s so close to delicate tissue and membranes.
Hello! I was wondering if you have any advice for dancers deal in woth their period? Tampons are great for working-out, stretching and modeling but I've learned recently that doing a split and being lifted up by your crotch is awful w/ a tampon in.
I think you should consider trying a menstrual cup. They’re made of soft silicone that moves with your body and you can’t feel it any way you move(I’ve done some weird yoga with mine in and never had a problem). Plus they have a much higher capacity than tampons and are way better for you.
In honor of the remake of Carrie, we bring you a bloody good roundup of menses in the movies. Menarche in the MoviesFrom tampon trouble to genuine terror, these young ladies just weren’t ready for their first flow.1. My Girl (1991) - Eleven-year-old hypochondriac Vada assumes she&rsqu
haha yes sorry I am new😂 and wait so no leaking? can you sleep with one in? and go swimming? isn't that bad that you re use them? how big are they?
They usually don’t leak if you use them correctly and dump them every 5 to 8 hours. You can sleep, swim, and basically do anything with one in. They’re so much better for you than disposable products. Here are some comparisons in size to a regular tampon, I’ve got more info on my FAQ page too :)
Good news, ladies! Society has discovered another new thing that’s wrong with you, which means another opportunity for you to make yourself more attractive for your man. Score! Turns out, the color of your vagina is gross and everyone hates it. So bleach that motherfucker. Bleach it right now!
This particular giveaway is provided by a third party- so it’s their choice in regards to where they open their giveaway too. I assume that it has to do with shipping costs. Follow Lunette on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Lunettecup) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/Lunettecup)- we post our International giveaways there first!