Caught an interesting item on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour today, about girls’ first periods. In some cultures, this pivotal moment is really celebrated – a woman from Mumbai remembered that their doorstep was specially decorated, and she was allowed to have a ‘bindi’ red dot on her forehead for the first time. I’m sure I would rather have died than announce the great event to the neighbours via our doorstep. But that was then. We are all a lot more open about most things now, and thank goodness – for the most part.
Of course, in India, one of the reasons to advertise a first period is that a girl is then considered ready for marriage. A horrifying thought, especially when you hear about girls sometimes starting their periods at 8 or 9. And, with all the stuff swirling about at the moment about the loathsome Jimmy Savile, rogue teachers and men who prey on tiny girls, maybe the less said the better about teenagers’ developing bodies. I am torn between the two extremes. With my own girls, I remember trying to be upbeat and positive, even though I actually felt really sorry that their days of carefree innocence, and lack of PMT, were over. So, while I didn’t pretend it wasn’t happening, I didn’t throw a party either. And I definitely didn’t give them this card: