The Walt Disney Company is known for making many types of animated movies. From princesses and fairies to more controversial fare — such as Song of the South and U.S. war propaganda cartoons that used racial stereotypes to portray African Americans, Germans and Japanese people — the library is incredibly vast. They even created a number of animated and live-action educational movies over the years.
But did you know they also produced “The Story of Menstruation”?
According to Film Threat, “World War II shut off the lucrative European theatrical market, which cut off a significant source of Disney’s revenues. At home, the ambitious feature Fantasia was a major commercial failure, draining more money from the company treasury.” This was the chief reason why Disney took on commissions from the government and outside corporations, including this gem that was sponsored by Kotex Products.
No, the Disney menstruation cartoon does not feature Uncle Walt narrating. That job is given to a calm, soft-spoken everyone-woman, whose soothing tones let you know that having a period is a natural part of life.
The short was played in health classes until the 1960s and accompanied by a handy booklet entitled “Very Personally Yours” — in case it was all too much to take in via the animated form — which you can read at the Museum of Menstruation. The short helpfully previews the content: “Among other things, the booklet explodes that old taboo against bathing during your period. Not only can you bathe, you should bathe.”
The illustrations are actually super cute (see below), and though it leans heavily on gender stereotypes of the day, you can see how this might help a young girl come to grips with her changing body. Check it out and let us know what you think.