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The bleeding obvious: menstrual ideologies and technologies in Australia, 1940-1970


Pascoe Leahy, C, The bleeding obvious: menstrual ideologies and technologies in Australia, 1940-1970, Lilith: A Feminist History Journal, (20) pp. 76-92. ISSN 0813-8990 (2014) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2014 Australian Women's History Network

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Menstruation is an impolite topic: often avoided in both everyday conversation and academic journals. This article expands the limited historiography on the subject by investigating a pivotal moment in the Australian history of menstruation: 1940-1970. By exploring sex education texts and menstrual product advertisements alongside oral history accounts, the paper reveals that the middle decades of the twentieth century were a time when the ideologies and technologies of menstruation were transformed. Australian girls were encouraged to reject older messages about incapacity at ‘that time of the month’ and embrace a full range of activities , armed with the much-lauded protection offered by disposable, commercially-produced pads and tampons. This article engages in transnational debates about this modernisation of menstruation, asking: have Australian women and girls been liberated by these changes to participate more fully in the public sphere, or have they become enslaved to a more rigorous set of hygienic expectations?

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:history, Australia, menstruation, sex education
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Understanding past societies
Objective Field:Understanding Australia's past
UTAS Author:Pascoe Leahy, C (Dr Carla Pascoe Leahy)
ID Code:148741
Year Published:2014
Deposited By:History and Classics
Deposited On:2022-02-04
Last Modified:2022-03-07

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