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That Time Of The Month

I saw my grandma yesterday (B. 1929) and I asked her about periods back then. This is what she said (paraphrased):

Me: So what happened when you first got your period?
GM: I was 12 and I had no idea what it was! My mother saw the blood in my panties and handed me a pad and a belt. It was then that she told me about periods.

Me: What about tampons?
GM: I never even heard of them until the 50s. They weren't really widely used until then.

Me: Were pads "hidden" behind the counter or were they out in the open like today?
GM: They were out on the shelves just like today, but I used to be so embarassed to buy them! I would get my mom to do it (she says while laughing!)

And to make this post even more of a spectacle, here are some period ads from the 30s to the 60s and some douche ads thrown in for fun.

1931:

1932:
Need help talking to your 12 year old daughter?

1933:
CRINGE

1934:

1937:

1937:
If "men were men" in the "Golden Era" I surly hope these ads are full of shit and that husbands were MAN ENOUGH to tell their wives their vajayjay's were smelly :/

1937:
Menstrual Cup

1939:

1939:

1940:

1940:

1944:

1945:

1945:

1945:

1946:

1947:

1950:

1954:

1961:
Special period panties!! She didn't even miss a day of work because it didn't leak all over! Amazing!

1962:


Also, according to my grandmother and her world there was never any type of social stigma attached with getting your period or buying feminine products. They WEREN'T behind the counter in brown paper bags -- at least not where she grew up. And Mom-Mom grew up in the most rural and remote of places you can imagine. Still lives there to this day!

Comments

  1. oh wow, how fascinating. That one about how personal odour ruined a marriage = wtf??!!!

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  2. LOVE this! :) Especially the add with the jitterbug dancers. Thanks for bringing some reality to our ideas about the past!

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  3. AD! I meant ad. Not add.

    Maybe I have ADD.

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  4. LOL Beth! I work at an advertising place and I CONSTANTLY get letters from people wanting to know about their "Adds." I'm immune to it!

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  5. My fav ad is the Kotex one from 1944. Because when I think of my period, I think of War Bonds. Have you asked Grandma about the urban legend of Lysol douche being used as a birth control?

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  6. My favorite is the "Tass-ette" advert. Who'da thunk it that reusable menstrual cups have been around for 75 years! I only heard about them for the first time ~10 years ago. This is WAY cool. At least as cool as menstruation can be...

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  7. Some of these ads are so interesting from a history standpoint! I love that you asked your grandmother about what it was like "back then"--I've always wondered. The thing I've heard from a lot of ladies of that era is that their mothers rarely told them until the poor girls started. So thankful for living in an age where it's talked about a bit more, or at least a girl can go find information on her own. ;)

    - Casey

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  8. Wow! I didn't know menstrual cups were THAT old. I heard from somewhere they were invented in the 70's. That 30's ad surely busts that information.
    Very interesting post. I just keep thinking that isn't it a tad exaggerating to end the marriage just because bad odor? Hopefully nowadays people have learned to talk a bit more to eachother in the relationship :D

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  9. I didn't realize menstrual cups were that old either. I cannot even imagine douching with Lysol! OMG!

    Timely post though! It's my "time of the month"!

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  10. What the fek is a menstrual cup?!!!! I had no idea tampons were being used in the 1940s - my mum (born 1925) wouldn't even let me use them in 1982 coz she was raised to think they were for "dirty girls". Honestly, what a load of bullshit. I'm glad your grandmother had a far more balanced and humourous attitudes to periods.

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  11. Wow. I had no idea menstrual cups had been around for so long! My mum thought she was dying and her mother didn't tell her anything about it at all!
    -Andi x

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  12. Your best post ever!! I linked it from fbook and it's causing quite a stir. Seriously had no idea the menstrual cup was so old, or the idea of tampons causing TSS.

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  13. The lysol ad isn't about vaginal odor. "Feminine hygiene" was a euphemism for birth control in the 1930s.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2005/is_n3_v29/ai_18498205/

    Menstrual cups are awesome -- so cool that they had them back then! (And thank heaven the belts went away.)

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  14. Excellent post and a great perspective on yesteryear! The Tass-ette was invented by a woman and I love the frankness of that ad. Got me looking up more about the issue: http://www.keeper-cup.com/menstrual_cup_history.html

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  15. I'm with everyone else - I had no idea menstrual cups were that old! Best invention EVER. I'm so glad someone came in to our high school all those years ago to teach us about alternatives to the regular off-the-shelf pads and tampons.

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  16. Menstrual cups are great! I have one as I hate using bleached cotton tampons.

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