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Hi! This is unrelated to today's thread but I wanted to shout out that Melanie Fields, who plays Jo in League of Their Own, was on Cameron Esposito's podcast Queery. She talks about advocating for her body as a fat actress and I loved the conversation. They start out talking about watching Rosie in the original and kind of tip toeing around weight... I was holding my breath about where we were going but Melanie rocked it and maybe she wants to come chat with Virginia too 🙂

gah, I just really hope we get another season of League! Thanks for indulging my side bar Butter. Happy Friday everyone

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My mom kept a copy of the original Our Bodies, Ourselves on the living room bookshelf and that was my primer - along with Seventeen, YM and Glamour magazines. She was a health teacher and I don’t remember big puberty talks but there was zero hidden information in our house which I greatly appreciated. I distinctly remember sitting on the living room floor looking at that book and of course, to my friends it was an absolute treasure trove.

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Just bought my 10 year old a copy of “Are You There God it’s me Margaret” in anticipation of taking her to opening weekend of the movie. I have a complex relationship with that book, because I read it before they updated it to take out the references to using a belt to hold up your pad, and I was SO CONFUSED. But apparently didn’t feel like I could ask about it? So I just stressed.

Hoping that reading it with my kid will be a reset!

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Mar 10, 2023·edited Mar 10, 2023

I too read the belted pads version of that book and was also confused. Then when I was in high school (early '90s) my friend ended up needing pads at band camp - the only store in the very small town nearby ONLY HAD BELTED PADS and of course I thought of Margaret.

In other Judy Blume reading adventures, I learned a LOT about boys and puberty in Then Again, Maybe I Won't.

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I also had the belt confusion experience! But I loved learning about menstruation from that book. It felt like secret knowledge being imparted just to me.

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I was going to say that I’m pretty sure Are You There God was my only introduction to getting my period way back in the day.

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I remember reading Deenie, but totally missed that her "special place" was a reference to masturbation. Relatedly, nobody ever told me about masturbation. Also, "Go Ask Alice" totally terrified me, which was probably the goal, and I loved the episodes of You're Wrong About that went through all of the weirdo things about that book. I don't think my mom ever talked to me about puberty, beyond putting a huge pack of pads in my camp trunk every summer (and then on the first day of camp when I was 13, I got my period for the first time, so I guess she gets points for that forward thinking.)

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I totally missed all the masturbation stuff in Judy Blume books, too!

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Anybody else in The Care and Keeping of You generation? I swear, I had that book memorized.

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My aunt gave The Care and Keeping of You to me and I read it cover to cover. My mom never talked to me about puberty, sex, or periods, but she did take this book from my bedside, read it, and return it without a word. Looking back with a critical eye, I can definitely remember some problematic language around eating disorders and fatness. Argh. But as a totally clueless kid, it was my only source of information about my own changing body and I cherished it. Later, the same aunt got me "The Period Book: A Girl's Guide to Growing Up," which was in my young eyes much juicier and "adult" (plus, cool graphic-novel-style illustrations!) and that was the book helped me feel a little bit of normalcy around some of the "weird" stuff. Again, I recall some problematic language. I'm so excited that kids and adolescents today have at least some options for inclusive, thoughtful puberty books!

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My mom didn't talk about any of this either! Looking back, I'm glad she allowed me to The Care and Keeping of You since she wouldn't talk to me about this stuff.

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LOVED that book when I was younger although I’m sure it doesn’t hold up. My sisters and I read it all the time. I remember trying to use the picture instructions in their for how to insert a tampon when I was a teenager but I couldn’t figure out how to use one without pain until I was in college, alas!

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Me! I would be so curious to see how it holds up, but my memories of it feel like it was very thorough --- I remember specifically it going through the stages of breast development and talking about bras for each stage.

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Me!!! I just made a comment about it re: the section on bras

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I got my education from the playground, a Kotex pamphlet from the 60s, bare minimum health class, and My Sweet Audrina. Would not recommend.

This is what I have for my pre-teen (or me depending on the book):

Jan von Holleben, Antje Helms - Does This Happen to Everyone? A Budding Adult's Guide to Puberty

Robie H. Harris - 2) It's Not the Stork! 2) It's So Amazing! 3) It's Perfectly Normal

Cory Silverberg - 1) What Makes a Baby 2) Sex is a Funny Word 3) You Know, Sex: Bodies, Gender, Puberty, and Other THings

Rachel Brian - Consent (for Kids!)

Heather Corinna - Wait, What? A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up

Melissa Pintor Carnagey - Sex Positive Talk sot Have With Kids (she runs workshops too!)

Sara Matilde Perry - Positive Sexuality: A Kid's Inclusive Guide to Being Body Aware

Erika Moen - Let's Talk About it: The Teen's Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human

I'm the house on the block with the books with naked people and I'm fine with it.

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When I was 8, on a drive home from Hebrew School, I turned to my father and asked, "Dad, what's sex?" He started on a whole delicate "when a man loves a woman..." spiel until I interrupted him with "Well, Stephanie says..." And Dad immediately realized he was in over his head and bought me It's Perfectly Normal. I don't remember how/if they addressed fatness, though I do know it didn't make me feel bad about my body, and I do remember they had illustrations of gay and lesbian couples which, for the mid-90s, was still pretty radical! It was a great book.

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What a great dad, and that book really does sound progressive for that time.

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Interestingly, although I’ve always been closer to my mom, I usually went to my dad for this sort of thing? Maybe because, due to our emotional distance when I was growing up, I felt he could be more objective about it all? Though that might be giving too much credit to my 8yo self, ha.

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Anyone else get the Lynda Madras book What’s Happening to My Body Book For Girls? It was pretty nonjudgmental in my recollection, though I don’t remember how she talks about weight. She is really thorough in her explanation of sexuality though, which I appreciated as a kid in catholic school. Puberty education story: I went to catholic school but my parents are very progressive and both physicians and they CAME TO MY SCHOOL AND TAUGHT SEX ED. Mortifying. My father drew a penis and scrotum on the whiteboard. I will never recover. But in hindsight very cool of them and my school.

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I grew up in the 1970s and 80s in a fairly modest Catholic household and was given very little guidance on puberty. I was terrified to wear a bra because the boys at school would snap them on the playground. I held out until a friend told me I really needed to be wearing one.

When I got my period, I didn't know what it was. There seemed to be a lot of shame and secrecy around it.

The only book I recall reading about puberty was "Are You There God? It's Me Margaret" and I mostly remember the "I must, I must, I must increase my bust" exercise. It was a very confusing and isolating time and I would have benefitted tremendously from some good puberty books and open, informative conversations.

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Deal with It!: A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life as a Gurl

This was THE BOOK for me. I don't recall it dealing with weight, however I do remember it being like, "all boobs look different! There is no one way for labia to look!" With illustrations!

https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/deal-with-it-a-whole-new-approach-to-your-body-brain-and-life-as-a-gurl_rebecca-odes_heather-mcdonald/266520/#edition=2247026&idiq=1415239

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I had this book too! Such an early aughts zine aesthetic, very pre-tumblr vibes haha

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I have a care and keeping of you story! I was a thin kid who was teased for my lack of breasts, and I still remember obsessing over care and keeping’s insistence that breasts would stop growing five years after the start of one’s period (what??). I also started my period quite late, so this was something I was still thinking about this in my twenties.

Now as a small fat I constantly encounter clothes that fit in the chest but not in the stomach (and vice versa). More clothing (especially swimwear goodness) for people with tummies but virtually no cleavage please.

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What is that five years nonsense?! Tell that to the wildly different chest I have now versus at 5 years after my period started. Or even five years ago. Yeesh.

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Absolute nonsense!!!!!!!! And very much in the vein of like...”your body is supposed to stay the same way that it was as a teen” logic which I definitely believed for far too long.

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Our Bodies, Ourselves was the bible--my WASPY but liberal parents pretty much pushed it across the table and left it at that. Talk? About bodies? Egads. I also subscribed to this witchy girl power magazine called New Moon (does this stil exist?) The period content there was essential and also really empowering. I must have read that issue 1000 times.

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Oh my god New Moon! Sometimes I wonder if I dreamed up that magazine because I’ve never heard anyone else talk about it. I don’t remember the period content but considering the vibe I imagine it was good.

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It still exists, if it's the same one I subscribed to for my daughter -- it's called New Moon Girls and it's "by and about girls." A friend told me about it when my daughter (now 23) was probably 10 or so. Fantastic!

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This makes me so happy!!

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Me either! I will need to ask my mom where she found out about it. I can picture the covers so clearly.

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A strong aesthetic for sure

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Late to the party here but:

Highly recommend for tweens: "You Know, Sex" by Cory Silverberg. So much in there about CONSENT. Actually less about sex and more about power, consent, and communication.

I found a used copy of "Changing Bodies, Changing Lives" which I loved as a teen (teen version of Our Bodies, Ourselves". I looked at the chapter on eating disorders and weight and they handle it well for the 90s-- although some of it could be triggering as kids talk about their experiences in very real ways.

And I was just recommended S.E.X. by Heather Corrina for older kids-- probably 15 and up-- as it goes into female pleasure, which is really not covered in pretty much any puberty/sex book.

Finally, I let my 13 1/2 year old read Judy Blume's "Forever". I asked her what she thought and she said, "Mom, I know all that stuff." And then she said, "Ralph."

Am I a bad mom ;)?

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Speaking of puberty, I found this neat historical site on the history of feminine hygiene products!

Fascinating; sanitary aprons! who knew? ! https://menstrualcup.co/history-of-feminine-hygiene-products/

Otherwise our ny middle school had sex ed classes (circa 1971-1972 and they were by gender only, mainly anatomical. It was a no-info zone for lots of my teen years.....knowledge is power! Wish i had been given ANY book on the topic!

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I remember my mom hiding Our Bodies, Ourselves in her bedroom and I found it while I was snooping! I must have been a tween or something, I don't recall. Eventually she realized I had found it and like... just gave it to me. Asked if I had questions. We never had a really solid sex talk or anything - so I learned on my own via that book, the internet, friends, etc.

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