I love Disney films, yes I know, I know. But the Lion King? Who’d have thought you’d get me to love Shakespeare, add in a load of animals singing Elton John works….amazing. Ever wondered what would happen if Disney did a film about menstruation? I would imagine it would be very much like the earlier films with singing birds helping the young maiden with the housework, but I was very wrong.
So, in honour or our sex ed days, if you can remember back to your school days, probably with an internal cringe. Maybe they were called something such as “Growing and Changing Lessons” or “Christian Life” lessons but either way, I’m sure you know what I am talking about.
Have you every wondered what previous generations were subjected to?
Well, if so, you are in for a treat. I recently came across this Disney video which has been restored on “The Story of Menstruation” which was created with the Kimberly-Clarke company (as they were in 1946).
This video had some parts which amazed me, the science was good. However, there were some awful moments that make me happy not to be alive in 1946. Check it out below (please note that this is restored and not a perfect film).
00:35 acknowledging that both mother nature and mothers do a lot of work.
00:55 that glands are controlling a lot of our processes (not 100% accurate but for children I think this is appropriate).
01:08 the science behind the pituitary, is good.
01:39 talking about different body types, short, tall, heavy, slight etc (although shame all the pictures are all Caucasian, but again 1946, I suppose). Great that there is some body positivity here.
01:48 age of puberty and how hormones start menstruation.
04:52 explaining that the time in between periods maybe shorter or longer than 28 days. This is great, because it does vary. However, I think that the phrasing is incorrect with “the time in between periods”, which should be the length of the entire menstrual cycle.
04:55 periods may last 3-7 days, yes.
05:09 more about how we are all different heights, great and how menstruation varies from woman to woman. Also, after the first year, the period should start regulating.
05:50 period cramps and headaches are not normal, seek help from your doctor. Yes this is absolutely true, however, these days a lot of doctors have normalised cramps and other symptoms and the go to answer seems to be putting women on the pill, despite the fact that this just stops the reproductive system, which doesn’t fix the issue, just hides it. Furthermore, it can cause health problems down the line.
06:00 tracking your cycle! Yes, yes, yes!
06:33 busts the taboo about bathing during your period, yes you can.
07:02 busts the taboo about exercise on your period. Yes, you can exercise, however, I urge caution against heavy lifting and impact sports such as running on a hard surface if you have period problems and recommend other exercise types such as yoga, pilates and swimming. This is to prevent stress on your ligaments.
07:25 talking about PMS related signs are not right. This is true, however, we might get occasional light pain, discomfort or a twinge, which is normal.
08:00 you can do what you want on your period and keep up normal activity. Yes, if you want to. However, if you are feeling tired and less energetic that is ok too. The important thing is to pay attention to the signals your body is sending and honour them.
08:13 exercises can help with period cramps. This can be true for some women and worth trying. Common yoga poses are the cat/cow, going back and forth between the two is reported to be helpful for a number of my clients.
08:22 mentioning posture and period link. Your posture can affect the way your pelvic organs sit and cause congestion, less that optimal womb position and this can lead to pain and fertility issues in some women. However, I hated the delivery. It is not just slouching that is problematic, but also being seated for long time periods, or carrying a weight such as a child on your hip for long periods of time.
08:38 constipation can be an issue, but more because of hormonal issues than structural, in my opinion. For example, not going to the toilet regularly can mean that used up oestrogen metabolites in the faeces ready to be excreted get reabsorbed into the body and cause oestrogen dominance. The general food recommendations here are good too. I would question egg for relieving constipation, although it is a good source of protein and cholesterol. I like all the fibre recommendations, although, cereal back then compared to what we have for cereal now is very different. I would not recommend most of the regular breakfast cereals today as they are very high in sugar, which can cause a whole load of other hormonal issues.
09:21 getting plenty of fresh air, sunshine, rest and sleep. Funnily enough, since we have restricted these, studies have been done on the benefit of spending time outside such as forest bathing and getting sleep. Also, healthy living every day can ensure that “those days” are better implying less period symptoms, that is also true.
09:37 there is nothing strange or mysterious about menstruation, all life it built on it. Hell, to the yes. I am fed up with the taboo.
01:28 girls playing with blocks, dolls and books. Toys are not and shouldn’t be gendered (grrr).
01:36 does she really need a short skirt and visible panties?
05:45 Try not to throw yourself off schedule by getting tired or having a cold. I don’t know many people who can control having a cold and let’s be honest, in today’s world, we are all sleep deprived just trying to catch up with the demands placed on us. Also, again at 06:55, do we really need to be told that very hot or very cold showers can shock our systems and again, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to catch a cold.
07:37 don’t let symptoms get you down, keep smiling and keep evenly tempted. You have to live with people and yourself. This is absolutely not true. If you have symptoms, that is a sign that something is going on and you need to get help to deal with the root cause, you do NOT have to suffer in silence. (Slowly saying to myself under my breath, “remember this was made in 1946”).
08:22 criticising the slouch. Doesn’t feel very warm to me and said in a very autocratic way. That said, slouching can cause issues with your period. There are many things that can affect this though, not just slouching.
09:10 “it’s smart to keep looking smart” which according to this is powdering your nose.
01:00 Creepy doll head!!! Seriously, Disney, why include a creepy doll head unless they weren’t that creepy in 1946. (If this freaks you out wait until the mention of the pituitary 8 seconds later).
03:14 If you didn’t like creepy doll face look away again, as it is now creepy mannequin for 4 seconds. Again at 05:08 for another 3 seconds.
Summarising My Thoughts
I love that the science is pretty accurate, and explained in a pretty age appropriate way. Very simple, but nothing inherently wrong, just simplified. I might add a bit more in myself if having a talk with a child but overall pretty good. There are also a lot of progressive things such as charting your cycle, body positivity and sticking to eating real foods, exercising and resting can have a positive effect on your menstrual cycle. I love this.
Also, the notes that we are all different, grow differently and our cycles may all be different is wonderful too. I like the fact that anything above a mild discomfort is tagged as “not normal” unlike in today’s world. In all honesty, it sounds like back then they were more aware that pain and symptoms were not normal, whereas many people today tell me that they are told by their primary care practitioner that these symptoms are completely normal and the only way to get rid fo them is by taking the pill/implant/coil/[insert doctor’s preferred family planning device here].
However, there were parts that made me cringe such as posture, poise, and putting on a face to the world which reflects the 1946 attitudes towards ladies at the time. As such, I am not going to get too upset, I think if you are aware of the fact it was produce nearly 80 years ago, you can see and dismiss those attitudes, although I am sure it is an interesting source for sociologists. We know better now (I hope). Although you may hear me chanting to myself “it was made in 1946” to myself if you see me watching this.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised, once I stripped out the cultural issues from 1946 about this film and would love to know what you think. Also, if you have any other films you’d like me to review, feel free to e-mail the link to me.