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Am I the only one who felt awkward after watching the HelloFlo commercial? It did make me laugh but it also brought back a flood of
memories of my own "period party." Yes, I had a period party but it was not an
event I’d ever brag about.
I was 13 years old and in the 8th grade in the inner city in Miami, being creeped out by watching all the girls around me
announce the arrival of their periods by wearing black skirts to school. My time hadn’t come yet, but I wasn’t trying
to rush it — I had better things to do, like write for the school
magazine and host the morning announcements. What did I need a period for? Who
was I racing?
But lo and behold, one Saturday I afternoon I went to use
the restroom and noticed something wasn’t quite right. My heart sank. I called
out to my mama and showed her the tissue.
She walked away and came back with a maxi pad, handing it to
me with a mischievous look on her face. “Plug it up! Plug it up!” she sang out,
mocking me with the locker room chant from the 1976 horror movie "Carrie."
That wasn’t funny.
I went to my room and sat down at my desk, wondering what my
life had become. An hour later there was
a knock on the front door and I went to see who had come. It was my Aunt Linda and her children. Then another knock at the door announced the arrival of my Aunt Valorie
and her daughters. Then there were more: My Aunt Phyllis arrived, then the neighbors
from upstairs. I had no idea why everybody was coming over all of a sudden.
As I looked over at my mama, who was also smiling at me in silence, it hit me: she called everybody in the world and announced that I had my period.
They all gathered around staring and smiling at me like I
was a weird artifact. As I looked over at my mama, who was also smiling at me in silence, it hit me: She'd called everybody in the world and announced that I had my period. I shook my head. I swear, that lady …
As I watched the new HelloFlo commercial this week, where
the tween fakes getting her period so she can be a part of the in-crowd and her mom punishes her by having a fake
period party, I felt the shame so deeply
that it made me blush again, as if I were still 13.
Her mom playfully invites family members, co-workers and
friends to celebrate her new period during her aptly titled "First Moon Party," and we watch in astonishment as the little girl’s family members play games
like bobbing for ovaries and pin the pad on the period. This shaming forces the
little girl to confess and the mom hands her a period starter kit.
What? A period starter kit?
Who would buy a period starter kit? Maybe single dads
raising daughters alone would benefit from this announcement, or maybe pre-teens
in a rush to grow up. I don’t have daughters, so I’ll never have to deal with this
issue, but if I did, I’m not sure how would I handle preparing my daughter for
her first period.