The Story Of Menstruation: Watch Walt Disney’s Sex Ed Film from 1946

From 1945 to 1951, Dis­ney pro­duced a series of edu­ca­tion­al films to be shown in Amer­i­can schools. How to bathe an infant. How not to catch a cold. Why you shouldn’t dri­ve fast. Dis­ney cov­ered these sub­jects in its edu­ca­tion­al shorts, and then even­tu­al­ly got to the touchy sub­ject of biol­o­gy and sex­u­al­i­ty. If there was ever a com­pa­ny suit­ed to talk about “vagi­nas” in the 1940s in a copacetic way, it was Dis­ney. Hence The Sto­ry of Men­stru­a­tion.

The film runs 10 min­utes, com­bin­ing sci­en­tif­ic facts with hygiene tips, and it was actu­al­ly com­mis­sioned by the Inter­na­tion­al Cel­lo-Cot­ton Com­pa­ny, the fore­run­ner of Kim­ber­ly-Clark, the mak­er of Kotex prod­ucts. An esti­mat­ed 105 mil­lion stu­dents watched the film in sex ed class­es across the US. And, accord­ing to Tin­ker Belles and Evil Queens: The Walt Dis­ney Com­pa­ny from the Inside Out, the film remained a main­stay in schools until the 1960s. It’s now in the pub­lic domain. When you’re done, you’ll also want to watch Fam­i­ly Plan­ning, Walt Disney’s 1967 Sex Ed Pro­duc­tion, Star­ring Don­ald Duck.

Both films appear in the Ani­ma­tion sec­tion of our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

No Women Need Apply: A Dis­heart­en­ing 1938 Rejec­tion Let­ter from Dis­ney Ani­ma­tion

Your Body Dur­ing Ado­les­cence: A Naked­ly Unashamed Sex Ed Film from 1955

Watch Dat­ing Dos and Don’ts: An Old-School Instruc­tion­al Guide to Teenage Romance (1949)

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.