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read the first and third A Note from Germany - read the German version of this note - see an American Midol pain ad from 1938

A Note from Germany 2 (1997)
Petra Habiger

I came across this ad while leafing through an German women's magazine from 1971 and I think it is typical for that time when topics like menstruation (although it was right after the sexual revolution) were strictly taboo.


Many husbands suffer from menstrual pain.

Because their wives do. And because their wives' nervousness and edginess adversely affect their partners and family.

Fortunately most men try to be especially considerate during this time, but, nevertheless, pain cannot be eliminated by caress and understanding. And especially not by simple headache tablets.

The reason for practical menstrual discomfort are cramps. Cramps in the abdomen originate in a strong contraction of the uterus when ejecting the mucous membrane.

There is only one remedy that eliminates cramps as well as attendant symptoms like headache, pain in the abdomen and back at the same time. That's Agevis.

This special pill contains a patented antispasmodic substance, combined with a pain-killing and bracing active substance.

The pills can be taken easily and inconspicuously. They don't make you sleepy, are stomached well and most important: they help quickly and completely. And help not only women who had to suffer from menstrual pain heretofore, but also their plagued husbands.

Agevis is available in 16 and 8 pill packs at your drugstore.  

Whereas nowadays an ad for menstrual pain-killers would aim at just helping women get rid of their pain and feel as comfortable as on all other days, this one deals with menstrual pain as if it was a sickness, not to say a disease. Menstruation is subliminally treated as something evil, not only affecting a woman's life itself but even jeopardizing her partnership.

But fortunately most men strive to be especially considerate during this time. Thank God!

The ad implies that menstrual pain has an organic origin only. And because of this, of course, only a drug can help. You see this in the sentence ". . . women, who had to suffer from menstrual pain heretofore." That implies that pain vanishes right after taking the tablets.

The fact that especially a woman's unwitting inward disapproving attitude against her own menstruation can also be an important reason for such pain is completely concealed. This a reflection of the menstrual taboo. But pain is something that cannot only be solved by taking pills.

Another indication of the taboo nature of menstruation is the fact that the tablets are so small that they can be "taken . . . inconspicuously." It's just the same with menstrual hygiene itself: Nobody should be aware of when a woman is menstruating.

Menstruation is a disadvantage, something people don't talk about and women have to be ashamed of, disowning their own body.

Although times have changed, menstruation is still a subject that is to be avoided.

But menstruation is something necessary, something that distinguishes women from men and makes women something unique because they can give birth to a child.

Well, taking tablets is by far not the only way to eliminate menstrual pain. There are many more!

Please tell me your own experience with other methods!

And if you have any questions on alternative pain-killers or menstrual hygiene and menstruation in general, I am at your service to answer your email.

Petra also sent this cartoon from a German publication:

The translation goes:

first panel: (Doctor) How long has she been acting like that? (Mother) Since this morning. (Daughter, in bed) So free . . .

second panel: (Daughter) I feel so free . . . so carefree . . . so safe . . . I can do anything! Simply anything! Everything! So free . . .

third panel: (Mother) You can tell me, Doc: She's taking drugs! (Doctor) No, no. (Daughter) So safe. (Doctor) She using the new Always Ultra!

Petra Habiger introduces herself here.

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read the first A Note from Germany - see an American Midol pain ad from 1938

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