Way back in 2008 Gwen wrote a great post using data showing the ways in which social context influences average age of menstruation.  The average age is, it turns out, different across countries, across different groups within countries, and has been changing throughout history.  In the U.S., it has been dropping and the average age (note: average, not earliest) is now about 12-years-old.

In response, Kotex has now introduced a website and a line of pads and panty liners for girls 8-years-old and up.  Leigh, from Wherapy, sent us a link.

Meant to appeal to tweens, the product is packaged with bright colors, stars, and hearts. It’s decidedly cute and girly:

And also a bit smaller than “regular” products:

I’m not exactly sure what to make of the whole thing.  The age of menarche (first menstruation) is going down.  And girls need (as we called it in my family) “personal products.”  And I’ll give it to Kotex that tweenifying the products with sparkles, stars, and hearts doesn’t just sell them, but may help girls feel better about getting their periods (on the assumption that some have mixed or negative feelings about it).

All that said.  This is a fascinating moment in U.S. history reflecting, simultaneously, capitalism, the social construction of youth, and the circular relationship between biology and society.

Via Jezebel.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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