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Friday essay: I looked at 100 ads for menstrual products spanning 100 years — shame and secrecy prevailed

By Dr Jane Connory, Lecturer in Communication Design, Swinburne University of Technology
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I analysed 100 magazine advertisements for menstrual products published between 1920 and 2020 to see how they have contributed to feelings of shame and secrecy around women’s periods. I found the period taboo has been promoted by advertisers in Australian woman’s magazines for much of the past 100 years.

Periods are a healthy sign your body’s reproductive system is ready to procreate. Yet “pad ads” from 1920 until the 1940’s played on the idea that period products were a treatment for a medical problem. Rather…

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