Honors Program

[Honors-in-Discipline (Choose below)], Honors in Communication Studies

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

C. Wesley Buerkle

Thesis Professor Department


Thesis Reader(s)

Kelly A. Dorgan


Much research about advertisements for menstrual products reveals the ways in which such advertising perpetuates shame and reinforces unrealistic ideals of femininity and womanhood. This study aims to examine the content of Instagram posts by four different menstrual product brands in hopes of understanding how these functions may or may not be carried out by social media posts by these brands as well. Building on the body of research about menstrual shame and advertising, I specifically ask: How do the Instagram pages for four menstrual product brands dissuade individuality; how do they prescribe femininity; and how do these functions differ across brands? From a liberal feminist perspective, the examined media exhibits some signs of progress—such as better racial representation—but overall maintains the status quo as to who should be using which products, what womanhood means, and what menstruation entails. These findings indicate that within menstrual product advertising, harmful gender, ability, race, class, and wealth stereotypes continue. Further research of a broader scope is needed to investigate changes on a larger scale, such as within advertising on other platforms and by more brands.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.