In 1946, Walt Disney produced an animated film called “The Story of Menstruation“. At the time, Disney was hurting for cash because World War II killed the European market, which cut off a significant source of Disney’s revenues. At home “Fantasia” was a major commercial failure, draining more money from the company treasury. Disney was in desperate need of new funds, so he began to take for-hire assignments.
During this time, Disney opted to take a commission from the International Cello-Cotton Company for an educational film designed to be shown in health education classes. What resulted was “The Story of Menstruation,” a 10-minute animated film covering an area where Disney’s films never went before. Indeed, “The Story of Menstruation” is the first film which uses the word “vagina” (both in the narration and in an on-screen demonstration).
From the description:
Walt Disney’s The Story Of Menstruation — Presenting the Story of Menstruation. A Walt Disney Production Through the Courtesy of Kotex Products — was originally delivered to the International Cellu-Cotton Company on October 18, 1946. It runs approximately ten minutes. It has been estimated that the film has been seen by approximately ninety-three million American women. Neither sexuality nor reproduction is mentioned in this influential film, and an emphasis on sanitation makes it, as Disney historian Jim Korkis has suggested: ‘a hygienic crisis rather than a maturational event.’
“The Story of Menstruation” was a staple in health education classes well into the 1960s. Disney had no control over the film after its completion and “The Story of Menstruation” eventually fell into the public domain. Bootleg videos based on the 16mm prints distributed to the schools have been in circulation for some years. But now you can watch it right here.
Here is Phil Hall’s complete movie review on Rotten Tomatoes.
- Walt Disney Studios
- Distributed by: International Cellu-Cotton Company
- Produced By Walt Disney, International Cellu-Cotton Company.
- Originally Released on October 18, 1946.
- Running Time: 10 minutes.
After all that, if you want to see something really disturbing, watch this old video called What’s a Period? Frankly, it’s one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen. Here is Part 1 and Part 2. Guys, try not to cry.