See how women wore a belt (and in a Swedish
ad). See a modern belt
for a washable pad and a page from the 1946-47 Sears catalog showing a great variety.
Actual belts in
Hickory menstrual pad belts (U.S.A., March 1925)
Women in America generally wore belts or special
underpants to hold menstrual pads in place until about the early 1970s,
when pads that adhered to the crotch of underpants
The ad shows the size of one of these belts, large, although small compared
to corsets that women also could wear.
What an elegant ad! It elevates lowly menstruation - at least in most
viewers' minds - by the woman's dressing area. The Japanese kimono (note
the cranes in the enlargement, below the uppermost picture), open and showing
the lady's chemise (this was the time before bras as we know them, with
varying cup sizes), shows the influence of Japanese art, which really started
to influence Western taste in the late 19th century (see the ricocheting
European-Japanese influence in designs for Japanese
According to some of my secret sources, belts were a pain in the - -
-, if you get what I mean. The pad sagged and twisted and got loose. It's
nice to be a man (oh, no, the e-mail I will get for saying that!).
Parts of the ad are enlarged, below.
I'm always suspicious of women's "real" names in menstrual
advertising - Mrs. Ruth Stone, above - because the general disrepute of
the subject should force people behind pseudonyms.
She lowers her eyes modestly. Look at the open box on the table, which
probably contained the belt; it looks as if it had been wrapped, just as
menstrual products boxes often were (the children of druggists who visited
the physical museum told me they helped their parents wrap in plain paper
Kotex and Modess boxes). A doll stands at left; as a guy with no sisters
and no wife, I can't interpret it. To me, it's part of the mystery of women's
culture which led to the founding of this museum.
© 1999 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute work
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