Blood Stories focuses on menarche as a central aspect of body politics in contemporary US society, emphasizing that women are integrated into the social and sexual order through the body. Using oral and written narratives of 104 diverse women, the authors address the central question of how menarche as a bodily event signifying womanhood takes on cultural significance in a society that devalues women. Exploring issues of contamination and concealment and the sexualization of women's bodies that occurs at menarche, the authors emphasize how the politics of gender are negotiated on/through women's bodies.
Janet Lee is Associate Professor and Director of Women's Studies at Oregon State University. Jennifer Sasser Coen is a doctoral candidate and instructor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at Oregon State University.