Why Tyra Banks’ Mom Threw Her a Period Party
The first time Tyra Banks got her period at age 15, her mom threw her a period party (complete with menstruation-themed goodie bags!). The empowering idea behind the inspired fete? "[T]o illustrate that becoming a woman is wonderful, not shameful,” writes Carolyn London in the mother-daughter duo’s new book, Perfect is Boring: 10 Things My Crazy, Fierce Mama Taught Me About Beauty, Booty, and Being a Boss ($27, amazon.com).
In one hilarious chapter of the book, Banks and London take turns detailing the period party in full. London explains that she got the idea from a National Geographic program that showed ceremonies held in other cultures to mark the occasion of a girl's first period. The events were “[celebrations] of womanhood and an acknowledgment of passing into another realm,” she wrote.
As for what London's version of a period party entailed, picture a cake that read, “You’re a Woman Now”; goodie bags filled with feminine hygiene products; and “a complete breakdown” on periods by London herself, including a tutorial on how to insert a tampon. Because of course.
“Most of [the girls there] had never talked about their periods so openly before, and in between the 'yucks' and giggles, they asked questions about everything from whether using tampons takes away your virginity to wanting to know if other people can tell when you’re on your period,” London wrote.
How did her daughter feel about inviting friends over to celebrate her menstrual cycle? Initially, as you might imagine, she was embarrassed. But Banks says she ultimately understood her mother's intent behind the “odd, strange, weird, wacky but kinda-beautiful-in-its-own-way celebration." It was the message behind the period party that mattered most.
As Banks wrote in the book, “I appreciate that [my mother] never wanted me to be ashamed of anything, or to think that there was something bad or dirty about my body.”