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.
If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newsletter, please find it here.
If you would like to support the mission of Open Culture, consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere. You can contribute through PayPal, Patreon, Venmo (@openculture) and Crypto. Thanks!