From rags to rituals : an ethnography of menstruation among New Zealand pakeha women
This thesis examines menstruation among New Zealand Pakeha women from. an anthropological perspective. It takes its theoretical direction from feminist discourse that seeks to give visibility to women's issues and acknowledges the importance of recognising the differences between women. The thesis attempts to be a vehicle through which women's experiences can be heard, so to expose details about menstruation that have been overlooked, ignored or not conceived. In doing so, it challenges universal assumptions that overshadow considerations of difference. Discussion builds from the personal reality of being a menstruator, to managing menstruation in the public environment, to the meaning women give to their own experience. The thesis also provides rare insight into the sensitive issues of sexual violation converging with menstruation. Findings suggest that the experience of each woman who menstruates is shaped by more than physiological processes and cultural influences. The research employed ethnographic methods requiring two and a half years of field work in a South Island community of 6000 people. This time involved collecting observations and conducting in-depth interviews with seventy-five women between the ages of ten and eighty-one.
Advisor: Leckie, Jacqui
Degree Name: Doctor of Philosophy
Degree Discipline: Anthropology
Research Type: Thesis