Many of us have an impression that the days before the 1960’s were completely dark for women. Certainly popular culture was rife with sexism and misunderstanding about the female body, but I ran across The Story of Menstruation, commissioned by feminine product manufacturer Kotex and created by Disney, to educate women about how their own bodies work. It’s remarkably factual, sensible, and affirming regarding the reproductive system. It is a little dated; all of the girls are in skirts, but that was the norm in those days. There’s also only one brief and visual implying that marriage happens before babymaking, but seeing as that’s still the most common order things happen in, it’s hard to nit pick. This film is believed to be the first to use the word “vagina” on a screenplay, and was seen by over 100 million American students when it was released.
Among the filmstrip’s highlights:
- A simple and scientifically accurate description of the menstrual cycle
- An explanation that girls get their periods at different ages, and that is perfectly okay
- An explanation that girls come in all shapes and sizes, and that is normal
- The shattering of myths that women shouldn’t shower or exercise during menstruation
- Sensible advice on exercise, sleep, and nutrition throughout everyday life
- Advice on dealing with the negative side effects of the menstrual cycle, such as feeling bluesy or having digestive difficulty
- An affirmation of a woman’s importance in perpetuating life.
If not for the caustic smiles it would surely draw from the Facebook generation, I’d recommend this video to remain in use today. I salute you, Kotex, for not only making reliable products that promote women’s health, but also for being brave enough to tell the truth in an era of misinformation.