When I was eight or nine, my older (but still prepubescent) sister brought home a booklet from school about “becoming a woman”. The booklet was all pastel colours and lovely 70s-style young girls (well, it *was* the 70s). I don’t see it in the list of booklets on the Museum of Menstruation site. It, like others of the time, was a precursor to the Procter & Gamble “Have a happy period” marketing plan. I’m guessing it was created by Kimberly-Clark or Tampax. No, boys will never know you have your period. And, no, you’re not ill so you don’t have to stay in bed for a couple of days. And, yes, you can wear your white pants and hang out with your friends at the beach. No one will ever know.
My mother took that opportunity to teach both of us about the intricacies of “that time of the month” and the various options available to us. She never shared the true horrors to come, which was both blessing and curse. You’re never truly prepared but a little reality check would have lessened the absolutely shocking grossness of the ordeal when it finally did arrive. (I like to horrify my nieces when they hit puberty by telling them that, however disgusting and painful and gross it is now, just wait until you’re older. It gets worse and worse until you hit menopause or die. Mwahahahahaha!) Continue reading “A history of feminine protection”