11.12 Coming of Age: A History of Puberty

Her Half of History


Girls have always been reaching puberty, but what that meant for her has varied. In this episode we look at the age of menarche (when girls start their period) and whether that was cause for shame or celebration:

  • In ancient Greece, girls at puberty “acted the she-bear.”
  • In Rome they dedicated their dolls to Venus.
  • In many cultures girls entered a period of seclusion and fasting at menarche.
  • In 18th and 19th Western cultures, menarche meant the begining of concealment, discomfort, and danger.
  • But in several Native American tribes (Hupa and Mescalero Apache, for example), the whole community gathered to celebrate and welcome the girl into womanhood.


The poll for a Series 12 topic is open until January 9th. You can vote on Spotify, on Patreon (you don’t have to be a subscriber), or on the Discord server if you are an Into History subscriber. The options are:

  1. Women Take Flight (such as Sophie Blanchard, Amelia Earhart, and the Mercury 13 women)
  2. Last Queen of Her Country (such as Boudicca of the Iceni, Lili’uokalani of Hawaii, and Shlomtzion of Judea)
  3. Spiritual Leaders (such as Rabi’a the Muslim Sufi saint, Saint Clare of Assisi, and Anne Hutchinson)
  4. Other (get in touch with your suggestion)


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