Past vs Present: Dealing with My Period
Updated: Jan 16
Having a period today is a definite improvement over the past!
When someone says that a lot has changed over the past 50 years, technological examples are what generally come to mind. We have cell phones, laptop computers, and streaming videos today, but there are many other societal changes that have occurred over the last half century, and many of them have been in the areas of gender equality and women's health.
In fact, since the 60s and 70s, women's health and wellness has gone from being something that had only recently become acceptable to talk about to creating entirely new industries. The number and variety of birth control pills has exploded in that time, women's issues like breast and cervical cancer are part of the national health conversation, and the types of feminine hygiene products available have increased and improved tremendously. In half a century, we've gone from being silenced and offered few options, to being able to speak up and demand (or create) exactly what we need.
In the past, there was little more than a single option for dealing with menstruation: the menstrual belt. This awkward, highly-visible device was necessary because adhesive-backed pads had not yet been invented, and period panties had not even been thought of (and wouldn't be until the 21st century). If women preferred not to wear the belt, they had the option of tampons (of which the public was highly suspicious for the first couple of decades), but even in the 60s and 70s, tampons were mere blueprints for the modern versions we have today.
There are other ways that women's health and menstruation has improved over time, including the ability to simply talk about it. It wasn't until the 80s that TV commercials for sanitary pads (featuring blue liquid and avoiding any mention of blood) first aired. Before that, talking about pads, tampons, or anything else related to menstruation was still something no refined woman would ever speak of in mixed company.
Nowadays, not only can we talk about periods, we can do so in highly public ways. Nowhere is this more evident than in the open discussion of period panties – and in the mere fact that period panties exist. A pair of underwear designed for a woman's or girl's comfort during her period? Advertised on public media? It would have been unimaginable just 50 years ago. But these days, the feminine hygiene mystique is fading, and as it disappears, women's health and comfort is coming in to take its place.
So, to sum up:
awkward menstrual belts have been replaced with comfortable period panties
sanitary pads are no longer a carefully guarded secret among the women-folk
feminine hygiene products not just visible, but constantly improving in respond to women's demands
the period is quickly losing its stigma and “gross” factor
It's definitely true that we still have farther to go, especially in making these new developments available for women everywhere. But it's important, every now and then, to take a step back and look at just how far we've come. And it's clear that dealing with periods today is much better than it was just a few decades in the past.
Want to learn more about issues currently affecting women and teen girls, or how to empower yourself with products like period underwear? Check out hundreds of articles on our blog or shop our wide selection of period-proof apparel today!