remember this vd

“Is there a reason that you’re naked in my bed?”


The party went longer than you thought as you wake up with a headache, eyes blinking against the sun. Thirsty you reach out for the water on your night table as someone move next to you.
“Oh shit.” You mumble, staring a little stunned at the naked chest of Jesus and then in his tired eyes.
“Is there a reason that you’re naked in my bed?” He asks as politely as possible and you snort a laugh.
It’s more than obviously and suddenly you feel embarrassed.
To have sex with your best friend is one thing. But to have sex with your best friend you’ve a crush on is another.
You wrap the blanket around your body before stumbling out of the bed as he holds you back.
“I’m not regretting it.” He admits quietly. “I just regret it that I don’t remember..”
Walt Disney The Story Of Menstruation

So, yeah, did I ever tell you about the time in my life when I thought women leaked breast milk from their vagina every month?

I blame Walt Disney.

In the 1940s, Disney was having financial troubles. (World War II had severely impacted the company’s ability to distribute its films overseas, costing it an important source of revenue. Additionally there was a brutal and vicious animators’ strike in 1941.) So, Disney branched out into making what were essentially marketing/promotional films for companies.

This one, The Story of Menstruation, was made for Kimberly-Clark as part of its efforts to market its Kotex brand. (Interestingly, tampons are never mentioned because Proctor & Gamble’s Tampax line was the leader in that market, so K-C didn’t want the item mentioned.) The film was extremely popular in health classes and became standard viewing for decades.

My elementary school was still showing this film in the very early 80s to fifth grade girls. The girls’ gym teacher -cause, you know, we couldn’t have girls and boys taking phys ed (Do they even call it phys ed anymore?) together- handled this lesson and she was, at least, 95 years old. Seriously. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen PE taught by a woman so old she had to use a cane to get around.

This was, of course, back in the day of 16mm film projectors. Yes, Honey, schools still didn’t have even VCRs when I was a kid. (Personally, I loved those film projectors. I miss that tick-tick-tick sound the sprockets of the film made as they moved through the projector.) Told you I was old. Anyhoo, the film and the projector had to be checked out of the library. I volunteered in the library (It was an easy way to avoid the bullies during lunch. I wonder if kids still do that, too.) and would often thread the films before delivering the projector to the classrooms. That’s how I learned the movie existed. 

When I was about 11-years-old, I decided I was going to watch this 10-minute film. Now, while the Girls’ PE teacher was 95, the school librarian, in contrast, was fresh out of college and riding the wave of female empowerment that started coming ashore in the 1970s. She thought it was stupid that boys weren’t allowed to see the film and learn about how the female body worked, making her quite receptive to the idea of letting me watch this film. 

One Friday afternoon, I threaded the movie through the projector and watched that sucker, learning all about menstruation. However, there was one tiny problem. Unbeknownst to me at the time, to avoid scaring girls, Disney didn’t want to show menstrual flow as red so it opted for white, which really makes the film, Snow White, take on a whole new meaning. 

Anyhoo, a white menstrual flow seemed really peculiar to my 11-year-old brain because I understood, thanks to the film, what menstruation was and it seemed red would be the natural color involved. As my brain worked through trying to resolve this confusion (because I sure as hell wasn’t going to ask anybody), it ultimately landed on the belief that every month a woman, as part of her cycle, must also start producing breast milk since it would eventually be needed once the baby arrived. Thus, if she didn’t get pregnant, her body wouldn’t use the breast milk it had begun producing, meaning it had to dispose of the milk somehow.

Don’t ask me how I thought breast milk could make it from the breasts to the vagina (I was 11-years-old, ok.), but that was my theory. 

So, yes, for about two years, until I ever-so-smoothly mentioned this fact to my parents, I thought women expelled breast milk through their vagina during menstruation. Thanks, Disney!

Parents of the world, take this as an important lesson in why children need to learn about both the male and female human body. There are valid reasons to segregate girls and boys during this lesson, but it’s important they learn about both.

When you have 10-minutes or so, you really ought to watch this film. The notions expressed are so dated that’s it kind of amusing and irritating at the same time.

By the way, did you know Disney also made a film about “venereal diseases”? (And, yes, once again, I am old enough to remember when VD was the term, rather than STD or STI.) But, that’s all a story for another day.