YTread Logo
YTread Logo

Pre-Tampon vs Post Tampon World: The Dark History of Menstruation

Mar 11, 2022
(upbeat music) - Hi guys, I hope you're having a wonderful day today. How are you? How are you? My name is Bailey Sarian and I'd like to welcome you to the Dark History library. (Bailey laughs) No, it's okay. This is a safe space for all the curious cats out there thinking, "Hey, is

history

really as boring as it seemed in school?" Oh no no This is where we can learn together about all the

dark

, mysterious, and dramatic stories that our teachers may not have taught us in school. Maybe they didn't want us to learn it. I dont know.
pre tampon vs post tampon world the dark history of menstruation
We didn't learn interesting subjects in school, let's be honest, everything was crap. Okay whatever. Today's topic is a bit funny. It's fun. It's awkward, but it's fun. And the inspiration came because lately there has been a lot of talk about women's bodies in the news. Not even lately, just forever. I mean, from pop culture to politics. The ladies and our reproductive parts are always in the headlines. Our bodies are always ready to talk, very strange, isn't it? And the headlines, they really aren't that good. But they made me think that no one likes to talk about periods and maybe

menstruation

.
pre tampon vs post tampon world the dark history of menstruation

More Interesting Facts About,

pre tampon vs post tampon world the dark history of menstruation...

Oh yes, I said it,

menstruation

. Or if someone talks about menstruation or periods, people always say something like, "Oh, it's that time of the month" or "She's on the rag." I don't think anyone says that anymore. But it was definitely a thing. I call it changing my oil. I think it's fun. It's cute. I'm lovin 'it. They changed my oil. It makes sense. It's just a disgusting way to avoid talking about women going through something that is completely normal and human. I mean, how dare we bleed? How dare we And it's funny because I don't know about you, but I get really, really bad cramps.
pre tampon vs post tampon world the dark history of menstruation
It feels like someone is ripping my insides out. It's not nice. It's not fun. I do not like it. I give it like one out of five stars. But I would pay top dollar for all men to one day experience really bad cramps. I'll just want just one day so you can understand that, can I have the day off? Can't I do anything today? It's okay? Cramps, hormonal acne, mood swings, stress, bloating, it's no fun, no one wants to do this. We did not choose this. On top of all this, it made me realize that I really don't know much about periods throughout

history

.
pre tampon vs post tampon world the dark history of menstruation
Like I'm really curious about how women handled their period or menstruation over time. What is it like in different cultures? It is shameful? Is he praised? How does it look? And what did people wear before

tampon

s? Or what did they wear before the pads? Can you imagine being in the 19th century? What were they doing? They had all these layers of clothing. It's probably hot, it stinks. You're bleeding. Look, we're a little spoiled, I don't mean spoiled, but we're lucky we're not in that situation. But then again, I also know that in different cultures, it's not the same.
So today, we're going to be talking about menstruation. So buckle up and prepare to be uncomfortable, because we're going to learn, it's normal. This is what happens. So look, I started to do some research. And I immediately found out that, on average, women spend about seven years of their lives menstruating. Oh, little side note here, if you want to play a game, every time I say period, period, period, if I say period or period, have a drink. But if you die, is that a liability? Okay, well, it could be fun. We spend seven years of our lives menstruating anyway, which is just a waste of time if you ask me, but whatever.
I mean, that's how long it takes for people to become a doctor. And it's like, wow. And even in our advanced society, quote unquote, menstruation still feels awkward and embarrassing to talk about sometimes. So yeah, we're going to talk about that and I'm going to get those answers to all my burning questions. That's true baby. This was all my idea. I want to do the

dark

history of menstruation. Let's start fully. There's a chapter in my book about that. Well, I opened my book here to the chapter on menstruation. It should be fun, right? Go. Menstruation.
Menstruation. Okay, so look, a lot of these times with these stories they like to go back to the beginning. But this one is a bit different because what is the beginning? What is step one? I dont know. Because women have menstruated since human beings have walked the earth, right? Well, at least, yes. Not only has it been around forever, but it affects half the population

world

wide. So it's safe to say there's a lot to discuss here. And there's a lot we have in common, but obviously we won't be able to cover it all. But today, I just want to scratch the surface, learn some fun facts, talk about it.
I'm going to start the story where I started my research. When did menstruation start to get a bad rap? You know, when people use it against you, are you on your period? You're like, shut the fuck up, Brad. In any case, before the year 3000 a. C., a lot of tribes and human communities were matriarchies. Matriarchies were where women were front and center, women were the head of the family, held a position of power, and people mostly worshiped goddesses. In these communities, women made their own decisions and had full control over their bodies. Now, because of all that, this era was considered the golden age of being a woman, a lady.
But then human society turned upside down and as if everything changed. Tribes and human communities went from being women in charge, this flip flop, to men in charge. I guess the men just decided they wanted to take control, they claim their space like they do, and they did, which is a bummer. It's a bummer for us. Because everything seemed to be going well. Well it seems. The women in these societies were raising families and interacting with community members on a daily basis, while the men were hunting wild animals and foraging for food and yes. However, although the goddesses remained important to some cultures for thousands of years after this, they also ceased to be a focal point, and an increasing number of warrior figures and male gods began to be worshiped in their place.
So the men had the power now. And one way they were able to hold on to it was by taking women down. I mean, that's how they keep the top. And her main strategy for that was to tell women that menstruation, something that, again, occurs naturally, was gross, disgusting, and a point of shame. And this is when shame enters the picture. If someone is constantly told that there is something wrong with their body, as we are experiencing today, of course, your head will go off the rails and you will believe it. Hey, I'm different. this is weird And you start to feel ashamed, you get it, we get it, we've been there.
Now, to be completely fair, having men in charge by definition isn't bad, but the way it's been set up over the centuries, it's really bad. As time went on, a whole bunch of different cultures continued to thrive. And since women all over the

world

and all kinds of cultures get their period, we're going to see a lot of those cultures, and how, in their own way, they weaponize menstruation and use it to control women. So, let's start with ancient civilizations. Now, when it comes to ancient times, there are not many sources that talk about menstruation, why?
Most of the historical accounts of ancient history were written by men. Therefore, it is not very easy to find much about how women and menstruation looked. And even the accounts we have are a bit skewed. Let's start with one of the most studied ancient civilizations, the Greeks. Robe party. Now, they were a society full of philosophers who questioned everything, questioned life. What is this? Why are we here? What are we doing? What happens? What's for dinner? They were a bunch of amazing female philosophers, but only men are household names, like Aristotle, I'm sure you might be familiar, who said and I quote, "As to the sexes, the male is by nature superior and the female inferior." ".
Big. We like that. Anyway, with all those philosophers around, they started to wonder why women menstruate, which is a great question. Your answer. Some Greeks thought that women menstruated because their skin is soft and spongy, therefore you bleed, but this made me wonder if the ancient Romans had it better. Thus, during the time of the ancient Romans, menstruating women were linked to mystery, magic and sorcery. Oh yeah, that sounds a lot more fun. We are like magicians. - You're a wizard Harry. - In the year 77 AD, a Roman author named Pliny the Elder wrote an encyclopedia called "The Natural History".
In this encyclopedia, he explained a theory, and this is so funny, that a naked menstruating woman could prevent hail storms and lightning from happening. Oh yeah. Not only this, she could protect crops from insects. Oh yeah. So next time there's a storm, let's get naked and go out and do our wizard shit. Who's with me? I don't know if this is creepy or rude. Either way, I like that I'm a magician. I'm not sure. But Pliny was not the only one who thought about the woman's body. It happened all over the world at the same time.
I mean, let's be honest here, who isn't thinking about women's bodies? So let's head over to the Americas for a hot minute and see what was going on there. So, just like the Greeks and Romans, the ancient Mayan civilization had its own mythology. And this included a moon goddess. Oh yeah. Now this moon baby represented femininity, sexuality and fertility, which sounds great. While the Mayans believed that menstruation was the result of the moon goddess being cheeky. The story goes that after she slept with the sun god, her menstrual blood was stored in a bunch of jars.
And then she magically turned herself into snakes, poison and diseases. The blood that is They could have like I said, hey, it turns into cupcakes and lollipops, but they didn't. They were like, look, death, murder, snakes, it was a choice, a decision was made. So we begin to see in ancient civilizations, how religion influenced society's view of menstruation. And this definitely carried over to some more modern religions. And we see that this really started when a book came out that people really liked. It was a bestseller long before "The New York Times" lists existed. I'm talking about the Bible.
Hey, the Bible, bitch. Whoops, let's pause for a really quick ad break, hold on, BRB. No matter what your business is, whether it is selling a product, providing a service, running a blog, you really need a website to stand out and showcase your business to your existing and new customers. Squarespace is the all-in-one platform to build your brand and grow your business online. I know many of my listeners are business owners, which is very inspiring to see so many of you turn your passions into your career. Now, Squarespace is the perfect platform to incorporate into any business.
Squarespace makes it easy for creators to monetize their content and experience in a way that fits their brand. With member areas, you can unlock a new source of income for your business and free up time in your schedule by selling access to private content, such as videos, online courses, or newsletters. Stand out in any inbox with Squarespace email campaigns, collect email subscribers and convert them into loyal customers, you can simply start with an email template and customize it however you like, applying your branding ingredients like colors and the logo of the site, and the integrated analysis. measure the impact of every penny so you can analyze the performance of each email.
You can also display

post

s from your social profiles on your website, automatically send website content to your favorite social media channels, so your followers can share it with their followers too. Visit squarespace.com/darkhistory for a free trial. And when you're ready to launch, use code DarkHistory to save 10% on your first website or domain purchase. Before I get into the matter, I want to say that I do not come from a religion in any way, shape or form. I don't care who you pray to, if you find support, comfort and happiness in religion, great, as long as you are a good person, kind to others, what you do is none of my business. .
All this said, religion seems to be a bit, shall we say, obsessed with us. They are obsessed with women. So I wasn't surprised to find that menstruation and reproduction have been intertwined with religion forever. I mean literally. For the Hebrews, it all goes back to the Garden of Eden. If you don't know, this is where the Biblical story of Adam and Eve took place, not the sex store, the real Adam and Eve. In this story, God was saying, I would like to create someone in my image and likeness. So God created Adam and put him in this cute little garden.
So of course, because Adamsalone, he got bored. It's like, this is boring. Then God took one of Adam's ribs and used it to make him a mate, her name was Eve. Pretty. Adam and Eve were just walking around the garden, bare-bottomed, just vibrating, and when Eve grabbed, well, look, I'm giving a summary here, so don't come after me. But Eve grabbed some fruits from the trees. She takes a bite. Now she was not supposed to take a bite of this fruit, but sometimes we are hungry. Okay, look, whatever. And this poor girl just wanted a snack.
But little did she know that this changed everything. Because Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge. Oh shit, Eve. And after Eve's naughty snack, God drove the humans out of the garden. Evil crept into the world and things turned ugly. It is even written in the first book of the Bible that God said to Eve's quote: "I will greatly increase your labor pains with pain." Sorry I'm laughing because that's so rude. "With pain you will give birth to children, your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." End quote.
To this day, everyone blames Eve for all the world's problems, even though Adam did cut a bit of that forbidden fruit, too. But whatever. And the ancient Hebrews use the story to maintain control over women. It also didn't help that in her religion, childbirth and menstruation were considered unclean. Not like ew, that's messy, but impure like impure or morally wrong. It's like a sign that Eve ate the fruit. It's like a reminder of that. We are being punished. It's weird because they're telling women to be fruitful and multiply. But the natural process to allow that to happen is frowned upon.
It's like making up your fucking minds, guys, my God. Later in the Bible, it says that every time a woman menstruates, she is unclean for seven days, and anyone who touches her is unclean, and anything she sits on or lies on is also unclean. This would eventually become known as menstrual contamination. Yes, we are contaminating everything. And it is an insane belief that has been around for many centuries. And that misinformation appears in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Speaking of Islam, I wonder what they would have to say about menstruation. What are your thoughts? Let's find out.
Did you know that 1.9 billion people practice Islam? That's literally 25% of the Earth, and people who practice Islam are called Muslims. Within Islam, there is a holy month of fasting called Ramadan. This is the holiest time of the year in Islam. And during Ramadan, people do not eat or drink anything from sunrise to sunset, everyone must follow this command. But there are some exceptions. One of these exceptions is women and girls who are on their period. But I found out that it's actually not that simple. Menstruating women do not have to be a part of prayer or fasting rituals because they are considered, unquote, less pure.
And they also have to make up the missed fasting days. Now, on top of this, it puts these women in an awkward position. Because if they eat in public, they will be ashamed of not fasting. In short, if a Muslim woman is menstruating during Ramadan, she does not have to fast. But if they eat, they are ashamed for not following the rules of the fast. Talk about confusing. But they are not supposed to follow the rules, because they are menstruating. And of course, they don't feel comfortable telling everyone that because they've been told it's impure. It's just a lose-lose situation.
And bitch, I'm hungry. (Bailey laughs) Just kidding. And since it's a very important holy month, I'm sorry, for making a joke about it. This makes some Muslim women feel dirty or ashamed about which, again, I've said it a couple of times, is totally natural. And even though their bodies were doing what they were supposed to do, this is exactly what it does. The woman couldn't help but feel left out. And now let's pause for an ad break. Has she ever had an acne breakout at the worst possible time? I mean, maybe you have important photos, a date.
I don't know, maybe you just live your life and all of a sudden your face pops out. I know that I always know when I have something important to do, my face knows it and it explodes, it drives me crazy. I mean, we've all had problems with our skin. And that's why I'm always excited to partner with A

post

rophe, the sponsor of today's episode. Apostrophe is a prescription skin care company that offers science-backed topical and oral medications that are clinically proven to help clear up acne. Apostrophe connects you with a board-certified dermatologist who will create a personalized treatment plan that is perfectly tailored to your unique skin.
Just fill out Apostrophe's online questionnaire about your skin goals and also your medical history. Then you'll take some selfies and your dermatologist will create your personalized treatment plan. Apostrophe treats all types of acne, from hormonal acne to facial acne and even chesne, bacne and buttne. Look, there's nothing to be ashamed of. It's okay, sometimes I break my chest and back, and yes, it sucks. But don't worry, Apostrophe has you covered because they treat breakouts from head to toe. Whatever your skincare goals, perhaps trying to treat adult acne, reduce dark spots, improve skin texture, it's good to know that Apostrophe has a real dermatologist who creates a plan 100% tailored to your needs. personal skincare goals.
Today I have a special treat for my audience. Save $15 on your first visit with an Apostrophe provider at apostrophe.com/dark history, when you use the DarkHistory code, this code is only available to you, my listeners. To get started, simply go to apostrophe.com/darkhistory and click Start Tour. Then use the code DarkHistory when signing up. And you'll get your first visit for just $5. That's Apostrophe, A-P-O-S-T-R-O-P-H-E.com/darkhistory. And use that code, DarkHistory to get your dermatologist-designed treatment plan for $5. And I just want to say thank you to Apostrophe for partnering with me on today's episode.
So all this feeling of marginalization reminded me of a rumor I heard once. That in some cultures, women were sent away to stay in little houses until their bleeding stopped. But there's actually some historical accuracy behind this little cabin situation. And it's called menstrual seclusion. Now, not everything is bad. But unfortunately, there are some cultures where it becomes hideous and deadly. But let's start with the good first. Yes, that's different. Well. Well, there are plenty of examples of menstruation as a weapon to dominate women. And there are also some groups that saw it as a source of pride.
Being able to have a child is a form of power. No matter how the egg is fertilized, a woman's uterus creates the conditions to create life. It's an amazing thing. And menstruation is a sign of that power. So it makes sense to respect this power. Meet the Ojibwe, they are one of the largest indigenous groups. Now they have tribes in Quebec, Canada, as far as Montana. And they have something called the berry fast, which is a really cool ritual fast for girls who are experiencing their first period. When Ojibwe girls begin their first menstrual cycle, they stop eating strawberries.
I know it's weird. Yeah, I don't know. But they do, and they wouldn't eat it for a full year. And during this year, the older woman of the tribe imparted a lot of wisdom to the girls, it was like a moment to share stories and pass on her knowledge. Now, a large part of this ritual was these little wooden houses that the old women made. These houses allowed the girls to live away from the tribe while they menstruated every month. Now initially this might be sending up some red flags for you like, man, I don't know about that.
And I get it. But think of it more like a spiritual retreat. The houses were meant to be a safe haven for personal reflection. In this small space, the girls had time alone. No sexual expectations, no cooking, no religious stuff. It was a time of self care. These houses are also where other women from the tribe, friends and family visited the girl to see if she needed anything. Also, the older women would come and bring knowledge, share their stories, share anything, but how did people know if the girl needed to be controlled? Well, in her community they hung cedar branches on the door.
Now, if the cedar was missing, it was a signal for other women to visit and register. And I like this story because it involves communication, storytelling, and I love that. In so many other male-dominated cultures and traditions, menstruation is so taboo that no one talks about it, while the Ojibwe don't shout it from rooftops, we see communication come into play. Everyone is on the same page. They understand what is happening. And that's important. Because you have to remember what it was like to start puberty, it's a time of uncertainty and your body is changing. It's just a fucking weird moment.
He just messes with you. Today the Ojibwe honor the past, but the berry fast has evolved. Girls and women no longer live in their own structures. They just get a little away from family and public amends and after a girl has her first period, there's a big party where the community celebrates. The girl receives some gifts, she gives some gifts. She is served strawberries to mark the end of the berry fast. Keeping these traditions alive is more than important to them. And honestly, it doesn't seem like a great idea to like it, I'm bleeding, I'm going to my shack.
We can do that? That self reflection. Tell stories, gossip. Go. So this is an example of a very happy cultural tradition. But, of course, there is always the not-so-happy side of the story. In the country of Nepal, menstruating women are forced to live alone in a shack. They practice something called chhaupadi. That's fun to say. Chhaupadi. And it's something that continues to this day. When women in this culture are menstruating, they are once again considered unclean. There's that word again. This is all tied to Hindu beliefs and how important purity is. Hinduism is the main religious practice in Nepal and dictates much of the day to day.
If a group practices chhaupadi, women are not allowed to go to church, clean themselves with communal water, or use other people's cooking utensils while on their period. These women are also forced to leave their homes and live in huts made of mud or stone. Now when I think of hot, I always think of pizza. But I also think, okay, there is a place to sleep, maybe there is a window, maybe there is a place to stand and cook. Nae nae, but not here. These cabins are the size of a closet. Not to mention that it is very cold in Nepal, a couple of women who are undergoing this practice are guaranteed to die every year.
If it's not the freezing temperatures, they could die from the fire, they have to be able to survive in their little hut. And then there is also the threat of attacks by wild animals, because these women have no protection while they are there. It's not like the Ojibwe, where the whole community cares about these women, like they support each other. And it is unfortunate. And if that's not enough for you, there are also reports of men sexually assaulting women while they are alone and unprotected. Fucking disgusting. Now Nepal's main government party is illegal in 2018 but many women are still expected to do so.
A survey by the Government of Nepal found that almost 1/5 of women between the ages of 14 and 49 still follow chhaupadi. In other regions of the country, the figures reach 50%. In 2019, a 35-year-old woman named Amba Bohara, sorry if I mispronounced her, died while practicing. She and her children were just trying to keep warm by building a fire. But since her hut had no windows, she suffocated and died. The same year as her death, two women made history by entering a Hindu temple in India. Now, this temple historically did not allow the entry of women of menstruating age, which is between 10 and 50 years old.
But the Supreme Court of India struck down that band. But it pissed off a lot of people. It triggered months of protests in which women were attacked and police used tear gas. Even so, the two women entered, and of course the temple officials said that they desecrated the place. It's just another excellent example of the whole menstrual pollution idea that we talked about earlier. They entered and contaminated the place. How dare you? So, menstruation is something global that has always existed. We have touched on that. Yes we did it. But all of this gives us a little look at what menstruation has looked like in history and how it is celebrated in different cultures.
But how did the women handle the period itself? I mean, they had to have cramps, emotions, bloating, bleeding, like what were the actual logistics of having a period in the past, I want to know. But first, we have to pause for an ad break. It is very easy to get caught up in work and the obligations of life. But this year, I'm really working on taking more quality time for myself. So when I have a free moment, I like to play Best Fiends. If you don't know, I'm obsessed with Best Fiends.And it's almost impossible to get bored because there are thousands of puzzles and games.
I mean, it never ends. So you can play and play and play. And it's different every time. Right now, I'm at level 1486. ​​I'm not kidding. I'm not kidding. It's a bit embarrassing, but whatever. Best Fiends if you don't know it is a mobile puzzle game anyone can download and play whether you have a few minutes or a few hours I mean it might be a few hours let's be honest Best Fiends is the game of Perfect puzzle to get lost in because you're having so much fun. You go LOL for hours. The game has these adorable characters and the more you play the more you collect.
I love the characters. It's so much fun, download Best Fiends for free today on the App Store or Google Play. That's Friends without the R, Best Fiends. In a lot of ancient cultures like the Aztec and Korean, historians say that women steamed. So maybe Gwyneth Paltrow and Goop were onto something, remember. But anyway, how this worked was that a pot of water was brought to a boil and women liked to stand on it to give their lady parts an embarrassing treatment. Yes, among other health benefits, it was believed to relieve menstrual pain. Have you tried it?
Let me know below, I'm a little curious because I have really bad cramps and will stand over a pot of boiling water if I have to. iwill. An ancient Egyptian, a mixture of honey and cannabis was ground up and inserted directly into the baby machine to treat cramps. Have you tried that? Let me know. Down to try that too. The early Greeks used plants like motherwort to help with anxiety and menstrual pain. And fun fact, people still use motherwort today to help with menopause. Natural remedies like this continued through the Middle Ages, when women turned to things like lemon and caraway seeds to help with pain.
Native Americans used the root of a plant called black cohosh as a sedative and to relieve menstrual problems. This too, eventually found its way into Western medicine. But for hundreds of years, the best solution on the market was opium. Yes. From the Greeks to the Benedictine monks, this drug made from the seeds of the poppy plant was used throughout the world. And this shit worked. Granted, it was so strong and effective that a synthetic version of opium appears in drugs around the world today in things like heroin and oxycodone. So that was how the situation that was happening inside the body was handled.
But what was happening outside the body, what about that? Periods aren't just about cramps, headaches, there's blood. Big. And sometimes there is a lot. So what did they do? How did they handle the situation? I like to divide this into two time periods, before and after the invention of

tampon

s. Welcome to the era before tampons. Have you ever heard of the Greek philosopher Hipaysha? Well, she's badass, and she's also considered the first female mathematician. she walks girl But there is a story that says that a man was bothering her a lot and would not leave her alone.
He was just bugging her, bugging her, bugging her. So what did she do? Well, she was on her period and she took off her menstrual pad and threw it at her, very effective. Now this story tells us a couple of things. One, our girl could defend herself and two, Roman women probably used cloth to absorb menstrual blood. Historians also know that around this time, African and Australian women made bandages made of grass and plant fiber for the same reasons. Yes, grass and plant fiber. Oh. I feel like that would irritate. So besides menstrual pads, the Middle Ages brought all sorts of things to help hide the fact that women were on their period because remember, this is the idle age and shame is in.
Some women would carry sachets of sweet aromatic herbs to counteract the stench of the situation. One of the most unique beliefs at the time led some women to burn a toad and wear the ashes around their waists to relieve a heavy flow. This is a situation. Well, how did they come to that conclusion? I am going to burn a toad and wear the ashes around my waist to help with my period. That's wild. Burn a toad, put the ash, I don't know. Back then you had to be creative and that's what they decided. And it worked for them.
From then until the 1800s, women around the world simply walked around dressed in rags of various kinds. And you've heard that term, when someone is in the rag, that's where it comes from, because literally, women were wearing different kinds of rags. But later, in the 1800s, women began putting gum in their underwear to collect blood. Step one, find rubber. You have to eat a frog. You have to get rubber. I mean, we really are wizards. We are magicians with this shit, we make shit disappear. Because we put it in there. They got rubber, they put it in their underwear, they collected blood, great.
Now, this is the type of the first example of what we would know today as a menstrual cup. So, during the 1880s, women all over the world were doing it for themselves, super DIY. They had to invent it themselves, you get it. The Museum of Menstruation, yes, real place, road trip, come on, she said, the women made their own sanitary pads and some were even washable. But that tended to be a bit more expensive. So most women just wore their clothes to soak up the blood, which was easier to do back then because they had petticoats and bigger dresses to cover everything underneath.
It doesn't mean it was comfortable, but it worked. I think they should go back to the toad idea. I really like that, I want to try it. And up until 1925, some women in the United States wore this thing that looked like a diaper. It was made of flannel and uncomfortable as hell. Still, what other choice did they have? So they washed it and reused it. They repurposed this as if it were a diaper. That was your only option. You had no choice, what were you supposed to do? You look bad if you bleed everywhere. But there is no good option.
Yeah, anyway, sometimes I think we should all get together. We should all stop using pads and stuff and just free bleed everywhere and just ruin everyone's day. And maybe then we could have something like I don't know, a day off, who's with me? Wow! I'm going to look for the toads. toad party. Okay, so not only did these women have to continually wash their bloody clothes, they had to hide the fact that they were even getting their period. Because remember, it's gross and embarrassing and you're a woman. They are pressuring you to believe that women who hide their periods are more feminine, more hygienic.
She doesn't bleed. That's not a thing. No. So women have this deep-seated fear of being found out. And maybe you feel it now. Because I remember in high school, when everyone was getting their period, it was so embarrassing, like you didn't want anyone to know and you were trying to keep quiet. Why are we so fucked up? I dont know. And as we've learned in the series, fear can be used to make people a lot of money. In the late 1800s, there were many concerns about bacteria and whether women were cleaning their reusable menstrual pads properly.
So this created what we know today as the feminine hygiene market. So, between 1854 and 1915, 20 patents were filed for menstrual products. This included the first formal menstrual cups and something called Lister's Pads, which paved the way for Maxi Pads. So there were also these things called Hoosier belts. It was a pad attached to a belt worn around the waist by women. And these belts kept the pad in place. And some of the stuff was being sold door to door, like knock knock hello who's there? Hi Miss Perfect Stranger, but I want to talk about your vagina. And luckily, menstrual products started being advertised in catalogs around the 1890s.
Now, around this time specifically, 1896, Johnson & Johnson was making sanitary napkins. I hate that word more than anything. Sanitary napkins. Shut up. But they were pulled from the market because advertising something like that was considered socially immoral. Shame, shame, shame. Then, during World War I, French nurses discovered that bandages were used to prevent soldiers from bleeding to death and could actually be used for women on their periods. I mean, they were super absorbent. And these bandages were made of a wood pulp called cellu-cotton. So these cloth diapers and all these rags were kind of coming out. And the timing for all of these developments was perfect because more and more women were entering the workforce and they didn't want to lose jobs by staying at home, bleeding.
It was then that attitudes about menstrual products began to change. It was no longer a matter of hiding women during their period, companies had to find a way to keep them engaged and productive. And in 1927, a woman named Lillian Gilbreth appeared. She was a pioneering psychologist and industrial engineer hired by Johnson & Johnson to study how to sell feminine hygiene products. Now, after interviewing thousands of women, she's learned a lot about size, fit, and preferences. Most of the products were too large with similar rigid edges, and smaller, more discreet packaging is mostly preferred because we are embarrassed.
Her work inspired a marketing campaign focused on young women maintaining their innocence while separating menstruation from sex. She also positioned menstrual products as something that allows girls to continue active lifestyles. Companies used Lillian's findings to overcome the public perception that menstrual products were shameful. And thank God, she's okay, and a lot of her work paved the way for a post-tampon world. On October 15, 1937, in (indistinct) American history, not even world history, the Tampax Company introduced the tampon to the world. This should be a national holiday, right? I think it should. And now we have arrived at the post-tampon world.
So I googled real quick, were tampons made by a man or a woman? Because I was just curious. Did you know? The tampons were made by a man. But the ad for the woman-owned company Tampax was aimed at active women between the ages of 13 and 45. And she had a very medical environment to build some trust. But what this ad also did was lean into something that women have been longing for forever, independence. And word of mouth spread like wildfire. But like all revolutions, there was opposition, because the idea of ​​a woman touching herself honestly scared people, even if you just put a tampon in there so she could go about her day, it was like, oh, she can you do that?
We don't know. That's a little weird. Now, before we go any further, it's worth mentioning that the earliest versions of tampons were documented in Europe as early as the 17th and 19th century. But they weren't specifically designed for menstruation. At the end of the 19th century, a gynecologist described eight particular uses for a tampon. Last on the list, the absorption of vaginal and uterine secretions. But with the invention of the modern tampon, it jumped to the number one use. So the tampons are crushing him. They're like, yeah, we're here. We are here, we are absorbing. Fuck yes.
And in 1969, a company called Stayfree brought a revolutionary version of the Maxi Pad to market. Now Maxi Pads is just another term for that nasty word, pads, or sanitary napkins. So this company didn't invent them per se. But Stayfree had the bright idea of ​​adding adhesive strips to help secure the pad in place. Oh yeah. No more like diapers and belts and hu haas. You just place and go. Shortly after this, in 1972, variations of the pad were created to address things like heavy and light flow. Then in the 1980s we started to see the modern Maxi Pad along with pads that had (indistinct) wings.
I'm lovin 'it. There are so many options now. The popularity of sanitary napkins and tampons only increased as time went by and the products continued to evolve. But along with these developments came some darker things. Things that were both toxic and shocking. Now you know where we're going with this, don't you? Let's pause for an ad break. Every once in a while, it's nice to hit the reset button and refresh a bit, isn't it? For example, I completely decluttered my house and closet and it was the best feeling I've ever had. The same goes for your hair, but it's never too late to hit the reset button with Ouai's Clarifying Detox Shampoo.
My hair tends to get greasy and especially after styling, I might feel like there is a lot of buildup after using styling products because my hair is quite fine. Replenish your hair and scalp with Ouai's Clarifying Detoxifying Shampoo. A combination of vinegarapple cider keratin exfoliates and balances your scalp, plus it smooths out frizz and makes your hair shine, honey. Oh shine It's also great for all hair types, including keratin-treated, chemical-treated, color-treated, or a Brazilian hairstyle. It also smells amazing with its dreamy fragrance Melrose Place with rose, bergamot, lychee, cedarwood, and white musk. When you're ready to undo some damage, hit the reset button with Ouai Detoxifying Shampoo, go to The OUAI, T-H-E-O-U-A-I.com.
And use code Dark History to get 15% off your entire purchase. That's The OUAI, T-H-E-O-U-A-I.com, code Dark History. And we are back. Hello. So right now, before we jump into the Toxic Shock Syndrome conversation, I'm going to share a little story because I swear I thought I was going to die, let me tell you. And look, nothing to be ashamed of, it happens. It happens and it happened to me. No TSS but like, here's my story. Let's do it because I'm vulnerable and embarrassing. I once got a tampon stuck inside. And I thought I was going to die.
Because there's a warning label on the side of the tampon box that says, if you leave this shit in, you're going to die. It's loud and clear. So one time I was drinking too much, don't worry. I was of legal age, I was about 22 years old. I drank too much. I tried to put another tampon in there and pushed the other one in further. Let me tell you something. Let me tell you something. I had to go to Planned Parenthood, yell at Planned Parenthood, you guys are the real deal. And they had to use their big old forceps, push it in there, grab the tampon and pull it out.
It was the most embarrassing day of my life because it was like, I don't know why it was embarrassing, but it was embarrassing. I'll never forget, she showed me these huge tweezers. Happens. Do not be ashamed. Hug him. And I didn't die. Then, in the early 1980s, a massive health issue involving something called Toxic Shock Syndrome, or TSS, broke out in the news. TSS resulted from bacteria releasing a bunch of toxins associated with the use of synthetic menstrual products. So between 1979 and 1996, 5000 cases of TSS were reported. Most reports related to a tampon being no longer on the market.
Now, since 1976, tampons have been considered by law as a medical instrument. But unlike other medical devices, tampons and menstrual products had no real regulations, and the TSS outbreak really exposes the lack of regulation. Granted, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA got involved to ensure the safety of tampons and that they were ingredients, correctly labeled, and safe, but awareness of TSS and environmental concerns about tampon waste pushed consumer groups into the 1980s to find out more, and they did. The researchers discovered that there was something in the tampons called dioxin. Now, dioxin is super toxic and can cause reproductive problems, damage the immune system, and cause cancer.
Well shit. How did something so dangerous get there in the first place, deep inside you, there? Well, dioxin is created when wood pulp is turned into a synthetic fiber called rayon. Oh well, rayon is on all of our clothes. Oh, we're so screwed. And tampons are also made from a combination of cotton and rayon. So, until the late 1990s, high levels of dioxin were found in tampons, but then the FDA said, "Hey, we should probably stop doing that." So they changed the process to get rid of the dioxin. But here's the thing. Dioxin is still in tampons, because that shit is everywhere.
Manufacturers can't get rid of it entirely. And while the FDA requires tampon manufacturers to monitor the amount of dioxin in their products, the results are not made publicly available. So we just have to trust that they're being honest. Great, because we've never been lied to, right? But luckily, there are advocates out there. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has spoken out on this issue since 1997. She has now introduced legislation to require manufacturers to be more transparent about what actually goes into tampons, sanitary pads, and menstrual products nine damn times. More recently, a bill was introduced in 2019. But it has yet to pass.
Girl Lisa, we've had periods forever, and it's 2019, and yet, what are we doing? What are we doing? I mean, back to the damn toads. I'm still on it. And she's not even asking for anything crazy. She just wants companies to tell the public what materials they use. And whatever the contaminants, fragrances, dyes, preservatives, there are in these items that go into our bodies. The federal government can't get their shit together to pass legislation. Or maybe there's just no incentive to pass legislation because they don't give a damn, maybe because only 27% of Congress are women. And that's an all-time high.
However, New York and California have passed laws requiring companies to disclose all ingredients in menstrual products. The other 48 states, they're just sleeping or something, they're busy. They are very busy. Okay, so you thought the chemicals in what you put inside yourself to help with your period would be bad enough. But come on, you know that there is always more, almost half the world menstruates every month. And yet, even in the United States, the horrible stigma still makes girls uncomfortable talking about it. This stigma causes people to treat periods like a dirty little secret. Women feel like they can't talk about it and therefore can't ask for help when they need it or have questions like that.
And this has led to something called period poverty. Period poverty occurs when women cannot afford menstrual products. Look, if you are not buying menstrual products, you are not aware of how expensive it can be. And this is a painful reality for millions of women around the world with very real consequences. For example, a survey sponsored by the brand of menstrual products Forever found that in the United States, one in five girls miss school due to period poverty. Also in the United States, tampons and sanitary napkins cannot be purchased with public assistance like food stamps, which doesn't make any sense.
And while they are considered medical devices by federal law, they are not covered by health insurance or Medicaid. Has no sense. Make it make sense. And we see similar statistics around the world. In Kenya, 65% of women say sanitary napkins are too expensive. Some Kenyan women report having to try sex to get menstrual products. And it is a fact that period poverty disproportionately affects low-income communities. Nearly 13% of the world's women and girls struggle to access resources to help with menstrual control. So what hope is there? Help may come in the form of getting rid of the taxes on these products known as the tampon tax.
Yes, tampons have their own excise. Do we ever take a break? Why are we being punished? But getting rid of it would make them more accessible to the people who need them. In 2018, Scotland became the first country in the world to offer free menstrual products to students and low-income families. Yes, we like that. England started doing the same in 2020. And countries like India, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Nicaragua, South Africa, Nigeria, Lebanon, Malaysia, Colombia and many others have gotten rid of taxes on menstrual products. What about the United States? As of 2021, 30 states still have a tampon tax because they hate us.
But luckily, dedicated organizations like Period Equity, a national advocacy group, are working very, very hard to change that. And we applaud them. So women have been told for literally thousands of years that we are dirty, we bleed. Well, you know what? And also that we are magicians. Wizard, I love it. Like, give me a break, though. It is exhausting. And on top of that, they tax us more for it and treat us like it's something we signed up for. It's very strange, isn't it? Like, I don't know why it makes people so angry that they thought maybe we can get these items for free.
We don't choose to bleed, damn it. None of us signed up for this. And if we could all get off this train, we would. Why do they harass us for bleeding? But societies have worked strangely hard for centuries to convince us that our natural bodies are impure or dirty and they are not. Sorry, but they are not. Whether it's ancient mythology, religious practices, governments regulating female bodies, or just plain old crazy theories, it all comes down to one thing, suppressing the natural power of women through shame and embarrassment. Unsurprisingly, that has damaged the psyche of millions of women around the world.
And then they go out and make millions of dollars off of that shame. In today's society, blood is everywhere. Sports, television, cinema. Did you see "Squid Games"? That was fucked up. so bloody "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", they came up with a new one, did you see that? Girl. so much blood And if a man suffers a severe cut or similar injury, we just don't think of him as gross or weird. We don't tell them to hide it because he's unmanly or unhygienic or maybe unclean, we rush over and help them, but when it comes to menstrual blood, it's weird to even talk about it.
And honestly, if you like to bleed through your pants or something, it's fucking embarrassing. And it shouldn't be. But it is. We are your sisters, your mothers, your aunts, your grandmothers. So let's all be better. Let's talk about it. If you have your period, don't be ashamed. Share your story, share your knowledge and help someone. I'm trying to figure out how to wrap this up, guys, because look, what do we want? What is the end goal here? For me personally, I think my ultimate goal is to be able to talk openly about our periods and not feel bad or ashamed about it and feel gross.
And honestly, I think tampons and pads should be free for everyone. don't come after me. I don't know why this is such a touchy subject, but it should be. None of us are choosing to have this, it just happens. Give us a break, will you? It hurts. Let me know what you think. What do you want from this? What is our ultimate goal here? I'd love to hear what you think below. Yes, what is our ultimate goal? Let's start discussing it because we need to evolve, we need to grow, and we need to get our damn place back as top champions again. you down?
Who's down? I am down. I'll bring the toads. Thanks for learning with me today. I hope you have learned something new. You learned something new? I certainly did. I learned that women are pretty tough. Our bodies are amazing. And we are fucking wizards. That's great. Remember, don't be afraid to ask questions to get the full story. Be a curious cat. It's okay, because you deserve it. I'd love to hear your guys' reaction to today's story. So make sure to use #darkhistory on social so I can follow you. Please join me on my YouTube where you can watch these episodes on the Thursday after the podcast airs and also check out my murder mystery makeup that comes out every Monday.
You can also recommend any kind of super strong cramp remedy below because your girl needs some recommendations. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day. You make good decisions and I'll be talking to you next week. Bye. I'm going to look for the toad girl. I'm going to look for the toads. Dark History is an AudioBoom original. This podcast is produced by myself, Bailey Sarian, Kim Jacobs, Dunia McNeily of 3 Arts, Ed Simpson and Claire Turner of Wheelhouse DNA. Produced by Lexxi Kiven. Research provided by Tisha Dunstan. Writers, Jed Bookout, Joey Scavuzzo, Kim Yaged. And edited by Jim Luci.
A special big thank you to our historical consultants, Helen King and Sharra Vostral, Ph.D Professor of History at Purdue University. And I am your host, Bailey Sarian. Thank you, we appreciate you. Bye.

If you have any copyright issue, please Contact