So, in true blog post reader reaction form, here is my comment to Dr. Rankin's blog post:
First, let me say that I love your site and book (which I look forward to getting). Second, I am glad to read such a positive post encouraging open communication with girls about their bodies and especially around their periods. However, the one thing that I would personally and professionally like to add to the conversation of menses with girls, is the message that getting your period is not only about having babies, but also keeping your body healthy and in balance.
Often, I hear the conversation with girls around getting their periods connected to the process of "having babies," as you too suggested. The problem is, while this is true - socially, culturally, and at times biologically not every girl can or will want to have a baby. Sending a message to girls at a very young age that their bodies are absolutely and inextricably connected to making babies, only seems to perpetuate the pitfalls of socially constructed gender roles. This message that we often unknowingly and without ill-intent send to our girls through conversations around periods, does not leave much room for choice around what they will and will not do with their bodies when they are older.
I agree with you that you can not start too early having age appropriate conversations with girls and boys about their bodies, especially giving them language with which they can speak of and make sense of their bodies. I do however, think that it is also our duty as parents and professionals (doctors, social workers, teachers, etc.) to give them the full picture and be conscious of how seemingly simple messages we send have more profound meanings. This is a topic that I write frequently about on my organization’s website and blog – www.womenscollaborativecircle.org and would love for you and your readers to check out! Thanks!
Just when you think you can let your guard down and breathe easy for a moment... alas, you can not! ;)
Despite this snafu in a grander conversation we often have with our girls around their bodies and was reinforced by Dr. Rankin, this post here "15 Crazy Things About Vaginas" may totally have made up for it! Thanks, Dr. Rankin!