Saturday, May 7, 2011

Feminists, Historians, Mothers: Take Note

I found this booklet at an estate sale today.

It is a pamphlet developed by Modess Sanitary Napkins in 1953; a handy little guide for all those tough questions every girl has about puberty but is too embarrassed to ask her mother.

That's right, "Phooey".  The pamphlet goes into the social aspects of growing up, the biology of menstruation, and some helpful advice on how to cope with the changes in your body.  Here are my favorite pages:

It fascinates me how much womens' lives have changed in just 58 years.  I think it would be interesting to compare this pamphlet to a similar "what's happening to my body?" book published today.  The biology is all the same, only the perception of how we may use our bodies is different now.

I have the whole book scanned to a pdf document.  If you are interested in reading more of it, please let me know and I'll e-mail it to you.  It was clearly written by Modess because of the advertising in it, but there are no copyrights printed in it, so I assume it's ok to reproduce for academic purposes.


  1. My mother had a booklet similar to this little wisdom filled gem. LOL.

    I remember reading how a gal should refrain from taking too hot of a shower on one's heaviest days. I can't recall why, maybe we might bleed to death?

    But I'll say that the jitterbugging advice in this booklet is pretty spot on (oops, no pun intended).

  2. Of course they didn't have ibuprofen back then, but did they really believe all that stuff? Sounds like a holdover from Victorian thinking.

    (LOL, Lolly. Spot on! I'm still chuckling.)

    What's with the ice-skating one? Are they afraid someone might see something up her skirt? Horseback riding - that actually makes sense. They're so right about the jiggling. Cycling and off-roading also fall into this category (says the voice of painful experience).

    Still, I have to admit that the older I get the more sympathy I have with the Mosaic law which commanded women to stay in their tents while they were "unclean". Dang, I'd love to hunker down at home for those few days each month and just be left alone with my migraine. (O menopause, where art thou?)

    Thanks Lucy! This is great.

  3. I'd actually prefer going to the movies over jitterbugging any day of the month!

  4. What, no jitterbugging?! He he! That is an excellent find! Could you email me a copy? Thank you! xo

  5. hi Lucy
    could i have a copy of the book please, my girls will love it


  6. LOL! I think I've seen this pamphlet before! I believe it was passed out to the girls in my fourth-grade class so many years ago. How funny to see it here. Thank *goodness* things have changed! How confusing those years were!