Walt Disney’s The Story of Menstruation is an informative video sponsored by Kotex discussing periods to school age girls. It was made in 1946, a time between the first and second wave of feminism.Despite the good progress it does for reproductive education The Story of Menstruation is very patriarchal in nature. It it uses stereotypical images of women, features derogatory comments toward young girls, and sugar coats the process of menstruation.
Throughout the video, the girls shown are all fair skinned, wear lacy dresses and skirts, act air headed,and have makeup on. The film does not consider women of color, and does not let the characters speak for themselves. Real women of the time had much more brains and not all looked like housewives or innocent. Women have more personality than portrayed in the film.
The video also features a seemingly nice narrator, who makes comments toward the viewer that would not be acceptable now. At 7:36, the narrator says ”After all no matter how you feel, you have to live with people; You have to live with yourself too.And once you stop feeling sorry for yourself and take those days in your stride, you’ll find it’s easier to keep smiling and even tempered.” The narrator has failed to explain the reality of menstrual pain, minimizing it to something women feel sorry for themselves about.
Periods are made to sound like no big deal. For example, the video has a soft art style and ballroom type elegant music in the background playing. The narrator is also very motherly sounding. By putting on a sweet spirit to menstruation, the creators can make girls feel as though they should not complain or take menstruation as something to be too concerned about.
This work is shrouded with patriarchal images, and expects to seed sugar coated sexism into young girls in the seemingly innocent disguise of an educational video. Do not be fooled, this Disney film reeks of sexism.