Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Teigha VanHester

Second Advisor

Natalie Carter


This honors thesis proposes a solution to the shame and stigmatization of menstruation in Western Society. I begin this conversation by describing the social position of the menstruating body in society, through the lens of somatophobia, described by Elizabeth Spelman’s article “Woman as Body: Ancient and Contemporary Views”. In response to the article, I propose two theoretical frameworks to address somoatophobic discourse. The first framework, embodied subjectivity, proposes a new way of viewing the body in society based on Hortense Spillers’ “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book” definitions of subjecthood. My second framework, menstrual liberation, rests upon the pillars of self-definition, liberation, and socialist ideology, presented by the Combahee River Collective Statement, and centers conversations about the body in society around menstruation. After defining these terms, I explain their potential through the lens of Menstruators’ Sense of Self, Menstrual Healthcare, and Mensuration in the Corporate World. In these sections, I provide readers with real-world embodiments of menstrual liberation.