Topic of the Week: February 2-5, 2010

Each generation has its taboo topics. Film and television have broken much of the visual boundaries, yet literature was peeling away at the social mores and proprieties long before radio waves and moving pictures. This week in LitChat we’re talking about topics we’re not supposed to talk about. Are there any left?

How about menstruation, that mysterious bodily function that unites women rich and poor around the globe? Our guest host this week is Elissa Stein, co-author with Susan Kim, of Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation.

Flow: the Cultural Story of Menstruation tells you where it’s at about menstruation: what it is, what we’ve been told and how we’ve been sold, and what we should definitely know. It’s the most natural of cycles with the most unnatural of histories.

It’s a funny, fascinating, and occasionally scary story of big business, advertising, feminism, gender roles, medicine, religion, world culture, and above all, good manners . . . in which every single female, young or old, will recognize her story.

Take a moment to view these hilarious teasers on Flow’s YouTube channel.

Elissa Stein is the author of 10 books. In addition to Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation, her most current publishing projects include NYC adventures with kids, interactive thank you notes, and labor support for parents-to-be, along with visual histories of iconic pop culture—two of which were featured in Entertainment Weekly’s Must Have list. In addition to writing, she runs her own graphic design business. To balance the above, she practices yoga, knits with enthusiasm, and shops for vintage coats on ebay. She lives in New York City with her husband Jon and their two children.

Follow Elissa Stein on twitter: @elissastein