‘Every time I had my period – and that has only happened three times – it feels like I’m carrying with me a sweet secret, in spite of all the pain, misery and dirt. And therefore, though I have only suffered from it, in a sense I am always delighted to look forward to the time I will feel the secret in me.’ – Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
In some American school libraries, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl is banned or censored. Not because of the horrors of the Holocaust. No. But because she writes bluntly about her menstruation. Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania discovered this when exploring the ongoing censorship of literature.
Banned Books Week
When it comes to menstruation, Anne Frank is not the only book on the list. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume has been censored for the same discussion. This book is, by some, considered ‘sexually offensive’, ‘immoral’ and ‘profane’. The issue of censorship is apparently ever-present even in a democracy like the United States. That’s why the American Library Association organizes the Banned Books Week, every last week of September. This annual event celebrates the freedom to read.
Remarkable: just because Anne Frank writes so openly about her periods, Japanese people use the phrase ‘Anne’s Day’ (Anne no hi) as a euphemism for menstruation. Ann was also the name for a Japanese brand of tampons and pads.