Puberty can be an awkward time in a teenager’s life. Proper sex education is vital to helping kids understand the changes they’re going through, but in many countries, such a curriculum doesn’t exist in schools.
Stacey Wei, a self-taught Chinese-American artist, recognizes the importance of sex education during adolescence. She recalls the confusion and apprehension that she experienced when going through puberty. “I’m not sure I knew what was going on,” Wei says. “And my parents and teachers never really addressed it.” To help girls today avoid what she went through, she decided to create educational content that can offer guidance during this tumultuous period of bodily change.
Working with translator Yunqian Wang, Wei published Big Auntie is Coming, a Chinese-language booklet that tackles the subject of female puberty and menstruation with a lighthearted touch. The title is based on a common Chinese euphemism for menstruation, and it begins with Wei sharing a few more of her favorite euphemisms from other countries, such as France’s, les anglais ont débarqué (meaning “The English have landed,” a reference to the British Army’s red uniforms of the past), and Portugal’s sinal vermelho (meaning “red traffic light”).
韦思莹与译者 Yunqian Wang 合作，出版了中文画册《大姨妈要来了》，以轻松诙谐的风格讲解女性青春期和月经的问题。书名取自中国对月经的委婉表达， 韦思莹分享了她所知道的一些其他国家关于月经的委婉说法，例如在法国是“les anglais ont débarqué”（意思是“英语人已登陆”，因为过去英国军队穿的是红色的制服），在葡萄牙则是“sinal vermelho”（意为“红色交通灯”）。
As readers make their way deeper into the pages, the book stays on course with its silliness, a way of appeasing to the pre-teen readership that the book is meant for. To this end, Wei also opted for easy-to-understand language, a playful style of illustration, and a roster of zany characters who help push the story along: the menstrual cycle first appears personified as a superwoman dressed in pink, a bra-wearing toy poodle offers words of encouragement about breast-size insecurities, and girls striking Rosie-the-riveter pose reassure readers that leakage is common.
The result is that Big Auntie is Coming almost reads like a children’s picture book, though the content is meant for a slightly older audience. This approach gives the book a whimsical charm that makes the educational material fun and entertaining. “The book is a way of introducing menstruation in a less awkward way,” Wei explains. “It can hopefully alleviate some of the stigmas of talking about it so that a more in-depth conversation can be had.”
This book is only the beginning for Wei. Seeing the positive reception to Big Auntie Is Coming has motivated her to publish more educational content that covers a breadth of health-related topics, including hygiene, male puberty, and mental health.
Auntie is Coming is now available in the Neocha Shop.
《大姨妈要来了》现于 Neocha 商店发售。