As women, we are lucky to be living in times when there are so many options when it comes to taking care of what happens during that time of the month. Things weren’t always that simple, however, and women lived with this problem for millennia before science came up with some kind of a solution. Today we are looking at what it was like to have your period over the past 100 years.
The first disposable sanitary napkin was developed in 1888. However, in those puritanical days it was still considered improper to talk about periods so the word about the new medical wonder didn’t spread and the product was soon taken off the market.
In the 1920’s, women were wearing the sanitary belt which was basically a belt you would attach linen to and wore it during PMS.
The 1930’s brought the very first applicator tampon, and women would have rejoiced, if it only wasn’t for the urban myths that tampons tampered with virginity. Thus, this revolutionary product was sadly only marketed to married women.
Not long after the applicator tampons graced the stores, their non-applicator cousins followed. During World War II women worked all male jobs while men fought on the battlefields and there was a surge in the popularity of tampons due to their convenience.
In the 1950’s, sanitary belts were back in vogue. It was also the beginning of ads showing women grinning from ear to ear during their periods, which might be the greatest marketing misrepresentation ever.
With the dawn of the eco-warrior movement along came the cloth sanitary pad. It was their eco-friendly nature that initially made reusable cloth products so popular after which women have been using them for decades.
The seventies brought the adhesive sanitary pad which finally resigned uncomfortable looking belts to history. At the same time, the United States lifted the advertising ban that was placed on sanitary products.
The 80’s were not only a time of erratic haircuts, (mostly) diabolical movies and strange makeup, but also the decade when the first plastic applicators for tampons came along. It was also the first time the word ‘period’ was used to describe the menstrual cycle.
We must have been less squeamish in the 90’s than we had been in previous decades because we saw the first advertisements for sanitary products that used blood.
The new sanitary products taking over the world are menstrual cups. Although they have been around as long as the tampon, they are only really coming into their own in the popularity stakes in the last few years!