An Instructional Video that Gets it Right

Okay, this instructional video that appears to be from the 1970s is the frankest, most direct instructional video on menstruation that I’ve ever seen. Clearly made for the differently-abled, it stars a very young girl with Down syndrome. Even though she hasn’t had her period yet–and seems to be around 7 or 8–her parents and sisters are forthright about explaining what happens in language simple enough for her to understand. They also repeat things over and over until they are sure she gets it.

Not only does Dad fail to blush and stammer when the girl asks him about periods as the family sits in the living room, but Sister takes the girl into the bathroom to show her how to replace a pad. Could this be the only video I’ve ever seen where they show a pad with actual–or at least visually close to actual–blood on it? Sister shows the girl how to wrap up the pad and replace it and then has the little girl practice by putting a pad in her own underpants.

A rare, rare thing: an instructional video that seems age-appropriate and actually answers the questions a young girl has about the mechanics of this whole operation. Plus–an aberrant phenomenon–this doesn’t appear to be sponsored by any menstrual products company.

A ‘Sanitized’ History of Product Ads

santowelsContrary to popular opinion–not, mind you, that this is the kind of opinionated debate you’ll see on Meet the Press┬áSunday mornings–advertising of menstrual products is not new. It’s been around along time. As long ago as 1908, Sears was advertising “Antiseptic Sanitary Towels” (see above). And if that didn’t work for you, never fear. You had options: Lister’s Towels, say, or Hartmann’s Hygienic Wood Wool Diapers which sounds, hmm, scratchy.