Monthly subscription period providers Hello Flo have done it again, creating yet another provocative and hilarious video about menarche, the sequel to last summer's hit "Camp Gyno".
For all of its gumption and hilarious one-liners, the new video also made me a bit sad. Maybe it's because I'm still coming down from an incredible high with the successful launch of G Day on April 28th. While not explicitly a "First Moon Party", G Day was definitely a rite of passage celebration for adolescent girls, inspired by my desire to have the specialness of menarche honoured in my own life back in the day. It was so amazing to see 250 girls together celebrating this uniquely magical time of life: watching them revel in it was one of the highlights of my life.
The Hello Flo video troubled me not so much for its problematic portrayal of mother-daughter relations, as NPR commentator Laurel Dalrymple explores in her poignant article, Meanstruation: HelloFlo's Mother-Daughter War is Funny, and Sad (although I can absolutely see where she is coming from on that front). At the root of this, for me at least, is some resentment that the idea of a menarche celebration is being mocked, making yet another hefty contribution to the period-as-joke trope. Jokes can lead to shame, and shame is the last thing that any of us, particularly girls, need: they're getting enough BS messages about their bodies as it is. The subtext of the video seems to be: what could be more dreadful than your Mom organizing some form of celebration of the onset of your period?
I get that it's supposed to be funny and all (I admit that I laughed aloud at times), however I can't tell you how many conversations I've had with Moms who want to feel close to and supportive of their daughters at this time in life, while respecting their boundaries. When we started spreading the word about G Day, it was amazing how often we heard "I wish that there was something like this when I was a girl."
I have to wonder what the Mom would have done if the period had been real: would she have celebrated her daughter's new phase of life in a respectful manner? Given her a HelloFlo subscription and let it go at that?
Considering how pro-period Camp Gyno was, I'm surprised at how negative and mean spirited the tone of First Moon Party is. For a powerful antidote, check out "The Period Poem", an incredible spoken word piece by Dominique Christina, artist and Mother of a 13-year-old who happened across a hideously anti-period tweet. In case we need any reminders of why periods and fertility cycled should be honoured, not shamed, check it out and stand tall.
What do y'all think? Did you have a "First Moon Party", or wish that you did? Would you consider having a respectful celebration for a girl in your life?