Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Introduction to Aunt Flo

"For perhaps the first time in your active, tom-boy life, you must accept the fact that you are a girl. ... You're a girl and you are getting ready for the special role of childbearing. ... You may think you were intended to be a Hollywood star, or a scientist, or a great writer. But your body ignores all this ... When you know the happiness of childbirth - you will be acting the role you were created for." -- On Becoming A Woman (1958)

Yes, that's 1958, folks. Women can't be scientists or writers in Eisenhower's America. Gotta get with the procreation.

I'm reading Stein and Kim's FLOW: The Cultural Story of Menstruation and so far it has made me really, really angry. I want to go back in time and bitch-slap the two women who wrote On Becoming A Woman (yes, women authors) for trying to make a generation of girls feel they were the sum of their genital parts.

But as a militant feminist I suppose I should cut the authors some slack as brain-washed puppets of the oppressive male hierarchy. Reminds me of The Handmaid's Tale where the wife enjoyed the power she had while getting her husband installed as leader, only to realize afterward that their ultra-conservative views restricting women included her too.

Here's another thing that sent the anger meter spinning: the adverts for "feminine hygiene" douches. Want to know one of the products advertising its ability to provide women with "appealing daintiness"?


Yes, really. Lysol. As recent as the 1950s. "For complete Feminine Hygiene rely on Lysol. A Concentrated Germ Killer."

Scrub out the toilet and your vaginal canal! So economical!

There was also Zonite - "For newer feminine hygiene". Wanna know what Zonite was? Tough, I'm going to tell you anyway.


Apparently internal scalding was fine with the FDA, as long as not too many women die.

I tell you, I'm going to hit someone before this book is finished.


  1. yes, that would definitely cause me some burning sensation...great review!

  2. I am against burning books - then again, on a second thought this one might be a candidate!!!