Monday, February 20, 2017

Babble From a Book Nerd: The Periods Have Run Away

Seriously, where did they go? If you didn't know I'm talking about periods, menstrual cycles, that time of the month, and yet they are never in YA? Women have periods, and a lot of YA books feature female characters who are old enough to have a period. So, why aren't they in the books?

Well, I feel like people don't really make big deal about them. They've become a way of life, and no one really talks about them. Because no one talks about them, they don't show up in books. I have read three books where there was any mention of the MC's period/period supplies. I know that some people have light periods that are super easy, but what about the people with really heavy periods, that bloat, and that have cramps. Because this is real life! So why don't we see it in more books?

And yes, I know that the books that I read are fiction, and aren't always supposed to be "realistic." But I feel like this should be talked about more. Because you know what? Periods are normal! So why don't the characters in books ever talk about them, and experience them? I bet that Kelsey from the The Tiger Saga had a period while she was in India! She was hiking through forests, fighting dragons, and I'm not joking, walking through a fucking fairy land. Four books, and no mention of a period. Either she got extremely lucky, she plans well, or the author didn't even think about it. So I say, lets start thinking about it.

I feel like there is a lot of new topics being added into YA books, and books in general, so why not have periods in more books? Because periods are disgusting, but women have them. So why not talk about them more?
      

22 comments:

  1. I've wondered a lot about this too. I agree that periods need to be mentioned more often; ignoring them completely is frustrating and just plain unrealistic. I mean seriously, they're a natural and inevitable thing to happen, so why let YA girls go unaffected?!

    Great post :)

    Amy @ A Magical World Of Words

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  2. Hi Anna! Funny you should mention this! I just deleted an entire scene during my book 3 edits in my NA series (Sheridan Hall) where the girls all have their periods and they are hanging out in the lounge and the guys get involved blah blah. Honestly, I deleted it because I felt like everyone's so sensitive to things today that I didn't want my character to seem like she was acting hormonally or something, nor did I want to stereotype how women feel/act during their periods? I don't know... it's hard as an author. You want to try to be "real" but not too real, I guess? My main character DOES have her period though in Book 3, and she has PMS and gets a giant zit, so it's addressed but I tried to keep it a little lighter. I hope you'll read the ARC for me when it's available and I'd love to discuss this more (unless that's weird haha). Thanks for the post!

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    1. I would love too! I agree, I don't think that books should always play into the stereotypical version, but it's always nice to see it mentioned. Even if it's just a quick moment. :)

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  3. Wow, you're right! I also wonder about how periods are dealt with when bad guys are holding women in captivity.

    Pregnancies definitely show up in books...and then you have to wonder if anyone has "safe sex"?

    Now you have started a thought process...lOl.

    Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

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    1. Ya, like...do they provide tampons?

      "Evil List of Things to Buy:

      -Eggs
      -Bullets
      -Tampons for the girl in my basement" ;)

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  4. haha! that's right. We don't really talk about it. The last book I remember ever mentioning it was "Life as we Knew it". That book is awesome precisely because it thinks of this kind of details. Great post!

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  5. Hm... Thing is - I suffered with terrible period pains all my life and if diving into my escapist fiction, I was then confronted with all that stuff, the book would have gone flying across the room. Not that is necessarily any excuse - but it was just my gut reaction. Charles Stross mentions it in his Merchant Princes series when his female protagonist goes back in time and she bemoans the lack of towels and tampons, btw...

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    1. Oh no! I totally understand why you don't want to read about them.

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  6. I am perfectly fine with it not being mentioned, I have read one book where it was mentioned and it was kind of done in a gross manner which has just put me off having anything like that in my read.

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    1. Oh, that must have been pretty gross!

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  7. I think periods could be mentioned - at least once - in a book with a female protagonist who is the right age to have her period. I mean, even a discussion about menstrual cups vs tampons could be fun in a book, no? I'm all for having some realism sprinkled into my fiction, because it makes everything I read seem more realistic in many ways.
    I'm lucky enough to not have my period anymore, and I can't say I miss the darned thing!!
    Great topic, Anna :)
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. Ya, at lest mention them! Or say that women don't get them if they go a certain place. Things like that.

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  8. I actually wondered this once or twice. It's like going to the bathroom- characters just never seem to do that. and then when they do sometimes it's shocking! Well, maybe not shocking but maybe surprising? I remember reading A Dance with Dragons by George RR MArtin and he was rather descriptive with Tyrion, um, urinating, and I'm like thank you George but I, uh, got it okay? lol but I do generally like it when an author says so-and-so went off into the woods to answer the call of nature or whatever they want to cal it, because it DOES seem more realistic. I mean everybody does it, right?

    I know this wasn't exactly your topic but I couldn't help but think other things like that that often get sidelined.

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    1. YES! I've never thought about that! Wow, now I need to search for that. :)

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  9. I can actually see both sides of the argument for this. On the one hand, they are a normal part of life, and so it is strange that they're never mentioned, like they're taboo or something, which is stupid. But on the other hand, I don't think anything should be included in a book that doesn't actually add to the plot or character development or world-building, and there's just not usually a reason to talk about period. Like, I don't need to know about it every time a character uses the bathroom even though that's a natural part of life too, unless it actually has an impact on something in the story.

    I do wonder though what the women are doing in post-apoc and dystopian books? Like, that's a time when it might actually make sense to make some sort of mention of it because, seriously, if the world fell apart and we couldn't just go to the store to buy what we need, periods would be a legit issue! And I'm dying at your response to the other comment about the girl in the basement, haha.

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    1. I agree, I wouldn't want it mentioned (like in a book that takes place over a year) all the time, but even a character talking about cramps, or needing pads, or anything like that would normalize periods. Because you're right, I do feel like they are a taboo subject (which they shouldn't be).

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  10. Ahh you've just made me think about it. I never thought of it. It is a small thing that people seem to ignore. If I'm not mistaken, very few books talked about this topic. :-D

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    1. Ya, and it sort of frustrates me that they are rarely mentioned.

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  11. I remember reading another post about this as well---I had never thought of it before that, but you're absolutely right. Especially with these epic journey types of books, a period should be a major obstacle!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. Yep, it's hard to hike through a jungle for months at a time without tampons pads, or anything else.

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