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Does your daughter need a Camp Gyno?

Posted by Dr. Claire McCarthy  August 7, 2013 02:04 PM

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Does your daughter need a Camp Gyno? If so, it's time to get talking.

If you're unfamiliar with the viral video, it's an ad for a service called Hello Flo that sends period supplies to women every month (along with candy)--and offers a Period Starter Pack for girls too. In the video, a really charismatic and funny girl gets her period at camp and decides that being the camp go-to person for period information and supplies could be her route to popularity. So she sets up shop, does demonstrations (involving fluid shooting out of a Dora doll), gives out tampons and shouts instructions, sometimes via bullhorn. Then parents start using Hello Flo, and she's out of business.

The thing is, you could almost see it happening. Lots of parents don't like talking about periods, and no matter how successful this ad campaign is, I doubt that Hello Flo is going to fill the void--especially when all they do is send supplies and sweets. Health class at school isn't enough, either. Parents need to do the talking.

I can almost hear the collective Gulp! from parents of girls. As a colleague of mine said after watching the video, "Add this to the list of reasons why I'm glad I have boys."

I cringed myself watching the video, I have to say. There was something about the way she threw around those tampons and talked about vaginas. And I'm somebody who is all about giving children information and using anatomically correct terms. But talking about periods, well, it's one of those things that makes us squeamish. There's something about bodily fluids and sticking things places, not to mention subjects that have to do with sex and babies...but we need to get over ourselves and get talking.

Because if we don't, we leave the talking to the Camp Gyno types. I don't know about you, but that's not how I would have wanted to get information about periods--or how I'd want my daughters to get it. 

Even more, we set a bad example when we show our squeamishness. If we send the message that periods are gross, that's what our daughters will think. But periods aren't gross. Well, aspects of them are or can be gross. But they are totally normal, natural parts of being a woman and of childbearing. If periods didn't exist, our children wouldn't either.

And if we send the message that we don't like to talk about them, then our daughters will go elsewhere for information--not just about periods but about sex and their bodies in general. Maybe they will get good information, but maybe they won't.

Check out the video--it's worth watching, if only to get you thinking. And get talking with your daughter. If you want some tips on talking to girls about periods, check out the post I wrote about when (and how) to do it.

Is there something you'd like me to write about? Leave me a message on my Facebook page--and "like" the page for links to all my MD Mama blogs as well as my blogs on Thriving and Huffington Post. 
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About MD Mama

Claire McCarthy, M.D., is a pediatrician and Medical Communications Editor at Boston Children's Hospital . An assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a senior editor for Harvard More »

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