Not your Mama’s Period

Girl's Guide to MenstruationGirls Guide to Menstruation

Actually this might be your Mom’s period book. First, I am trying to figure out what is with this cover. Is it modern art or looking up in a forest? Is it symbolic?  So, what does it all mean?  Second, do I really need to reiterate how health information needs to be updated? Still not convinced? Take a look at the old school sanitary napkins. Try to imagine handing this to a pre-teen in 2012. I also appreciate the advice of a hot shower and perfume for pre-menstrual “tension”.  Just try and feel pretty and all your problems will go away.

Just so everyone can put this in perspective, the intended audience in 1975 is probably heading into menopause in 2012.

MaryKnowing yourself

sanitary napkin and belt

premenstrual tension


  1. The photograph on the cover is a forest looking straight up. I’m not sure it means anything; I think by 1975 they had already decided on blue as the color of body fluids, not green.

  2. Ahhh, green negates red, as in surgical garb. If it’s a Rorschach, I’d describe it as an “accident.”

  3. Shouldn’t it be Girls’ not Girls ? I gues this book pre-dates grammar check.

  4. Thank you! I’m almost 30 and when I read “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret”, I was baffled by the belt thing.

  5. I started with the sanitary napkin and belt. It was such a relief when the self-stick napkin came out. Trust me, the belt was every bit the pain in the ass that it appears to be.

  6. By 1975 (the year I graduated high school) we were no longer using belts with pads. The oh-so-wonderful self-stick kind had been invented before that! I remember beginning my period with only the belt available (young women did NOT use tampons). Also, after the birth of my son in the 80s that is what the hospital provided.

    This should have been out of circulation by 1975, not published.

    1. I completely disagree. It’s very difficult for me to keep a stick-on pad oriented so that it stays close enough to my body to prevent leaking, plus I don’t find the adhesive that effective (forget about the “wings”; they’re useless for me). A belt allows the wearer to adjust the pad’s snugness–no play between vulva and pad. In addition, given that VPL is anathema to me, I don’t actually like to wear panties; I don’t have to with a belt (ever try using a stick-on pad with a thong??). I’m really sorry belts and pads have all but disappeared as an option because stick-on pads just don’t work as well for some of us, especially if one has a heavy flow. I guess we live in “one option suits all” times.

  7. I’m guessing the green trees are supposed to invoke feelings of “this is all-natural”, Mother Earth and all that. 🙂

  8. If only someone had told me to take a shower, put on a touch of perfume and look into the mirror, my periods would have been much more enjoyable!!!

  9. We got our “You Are a Woman” now talk in the 70s, and they showed us those belts. It was a useless talk, those things were not in use even then. Most girls used tampons, in my experience.

  10. Hot showers do work. Not to boost optimism, but to ease cramps. A relative told me it was the only thing that soothed her labor pains. I figured if it worked for labor, it should work for cramps, and it does.

    At least the book doesn’t peddle that old “PMS is all in your head” garbage that we had to listen to. And as long ago as that was, it was still after the Belt Era!

  11. When the girls in my 5th grade class got “the talk” from the school nurse in 1975, we got a handout kit, compliments of the folks at Modess. That was the first and last sanitary belt I’ve ever owned. When I started a few months later, I went straight to Stayfree with the adhesive backs. As Lisa noted, young women (NICE young women) simply didn’t use tampons.

  12. I remember my grandmother talking about the belts. Mom hit puberty in the 80s after the belts.

  13. Those belt pads always remind me of the old movie”The Fortune.” Stockard Channing was the “mouse bed” heiress who Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson plot to murder for her inheritance. I don’t remember anything else from the movie, but the mouse bed image has stuck for more than 35 years.

  14. Ha! Mouse bed! If only I could think of pads as cute! My mom’s approach to “the talk” was to hand me the free booklet from Kotex and tell me to read. No wonder I became an information seeker! Anyway, the cover was MUCH friendlier, though unrealistically cheerful: very 60’s preppy girl in pearls and plaid, enjoying the great outdoors with her dog.

  15. “Some doctors call women witches”? Really?! How…unprofessional.

    When I was in 6th grade (about a decade ago) and they gave us that lecture, my teachers told us how lucky we were to not have to use those belt things. I guess they were probably about 50 at the time, so they would all have had to deal with them.

    It’s sort of interesting that they mention birth control pills, though. This would’ve been right around when unmarried women could use those, wouldn’t it? So that’s something.

  16. This is so interesting…I’ve wondered what they did “back then” when they got their period.

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