Compare a French Modess ad, a German ad, and another French ad featuring just a man!
And see a Modess . . . . because pad dispenser from the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C. (U.S.A.).
See a prototype of the first Kotex ad.
See more Kotex items: Ad 1928 (Sears and Roebuck catalog) - Marjorie May's Twelfth Birthday (booklet for girls, 1928, Australian edition; there are many links here to Kotex items) - 1920s booklet in Spanish showing disposal method - box from about 1969 - Preparing for Womanhood (1920s, booklet for girls) - "Are you in the know?" ads (Kotex) (1949)(1953)(1964)(booklet, 1956) - See more ads on the Ads for Teenagers main page
Ads for the Kotex stick tampon (U.S.A., 1970s) - a Japanese stick tampon from the 1970s.
Early commercial tampons - Rely tampon - Meds tampon (Modess)
CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepageMUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets for girls (mostly) directory | contraception and religion | costumes | menstrual cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | facts-of-life booklets for girls | famous women in menstrual hygiene ads | FAQ | founder/director biography | gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux | humor | huts | links | masturbation | media coverage of MUM | menarche booklets for girls and parents | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | shame | slapping, menstrual | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour of the former museum (video) | underpants & panties directory | videos, films directory | Words and expressions about menstruation | Would you stop menstruating if you could? | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

Modess . . . . because ads, part 1 (parts 2, 3)

Modess sanitary napkins conducted a famous advertising campaign from 1948 to the 1970s in the U.S.A. Usually the only words were "Modess . . . . because." Advertising journals of the time occasionally made fun of the series; sometimes they praised it. In a sense, the unfinished phrase summed up the American public's feelings about menstruation: It's something it couldn't talk about! Read a Johnson & Johnson inside account of the origin of this campaign.

Nevertheless, these are probably the most elegant ads ever made for menstrual products.

Compare a French ad for Modess from probably the 1970s; a German one from 1990; and two ads for German o.b. tampons to see photos America would never dare show in advertising for menstrual hygiene. They show a more open French and German attitude toward the body; the body is NOT unspeakable!

I believe the woman in the October 1948 ad is the famous model Barbara Hutton.

According to The New Yorker magazine, Diane Arbus, the great photographer who committed suicide at 48 in 1971 by slashing her wrists, assisted her husband in taking some of the photos for this campaign. But she and her husband hated the fashion world. She probably had bipolar disorder and I suspect she also hated menstruation. Just a guess. A great loss.

But another prominent photographer lent his talent. Judith Thurmon writes that Cecil Beaton took many of these photos of gowns created by genius designer Charles James:

The Idea was "that any woman at a difficult moment can imagine herself a Duchess," although, at a difficult moment, you could never have squeezed a James gown into the stall of a ladies' room.

[from The New Yorker,  "Dressing Up," 5 May 2014]

 

 

1948

The donor of this ad said it came from the late 1940s and portrays the famous model Suzi Parker. The donor cut off the bottom part, which contained the words "Modess . . . . because." Note the selective fuzzing of the image, sometimes done by putting petroleum jelly on the parts of the camera lens.

   
 October 1948. This model is perhaps Barbara Hutton.
March 1949

 

 

1950 
1951

 

 

May 1952 
1953 
This does not follow exactly the format of the others, but it does have the because in the same style. The text reads:
New design Modess is wrapped in a whisper-soft fabric that's smooth, gentle . . . cannot chafe . . . stronger, more absorbent than gauze!
 
1954

Next (page 2)
Pages 2, 3 of Modess . . . . because ads

Compare a French Modess ad, a German ad, and another French ad featuring just a man!
And see a Modess . . . . because pad dispenser from the Smithsonian Institution.
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