Women in History: Authors through time

Since Courtney Cox broke the taboo and said the word ‘period’ on television in 1985 the boundaries surrounding menstrual products have toppled, opening avenues for conversations about menstruation, new and more comfortable menstrual products and eco-friendly options to match our growing mindset in earth care and sustainability.

In the times gone by there was still a need for menstrual products, it’s part of human life and culture and there are certainly many points in history where some modern tampons could have gone a long way to lightening the load.

We can’t begin to imagine the sheer adversity experienced in World War II. The last thing that needed to be on any woman’s mind were the bulky, pungent, ill-fitting pads with awkward menstrual belts.

None more deserving of our postie care package is Anne Frank. Of course she never meant for her diary to become public. It was simply a way for her to write down all her thoughts and feelings to make the long days of confinement less suffocating and make sense of the turbulence of adolescent emotions. It’s frightening enough to be a teenager getting their first period, let alone amidst war.

Her story might not be something any of us (thankfully) in modern times can relate to, but her emotions, fears and fantasy are very much a part of us. Which is why we wish we could have sent her something to make the experience less tumultuous - a menstrual comfort package including an information booklet explaining her menstrual cycle and what to expect. Along with it, a pack or tampons with detailed instructions on how to use them. Something that we know would have made her struggle that much more comfortable and created a cocoon of privacy that was so needed in her tiny space.

Speaking of famous writers, Jane Austen stands out in history as an outstanding author due to her incredibly realistic descriptions, comedy, self-awareness, and detailed character relationships.

Although she is known as one of England’s most treasured authors, she resided in an era of time where women were considered inferior. 17th century England shunned the idea of women having any part to play in anything other than home-making and having & raising children. 

Not only did Jane showcase the brilliance and intelligence of a woman, she did it all under her name too. Whether you were male or female, it was common practice to write under an alias name to conceal your identity when you wrote about controversies.

She knew that her stories would shake the minds of many and make her name unforgettable. Having that kind of confidence in one’s quality of work and message is something that we’re always striving for. That same bravery extends and seeps from her life and into the characters she brought to life through her writing. 

If you’ve read her novels, you’d know that horse riding features strongly among the gents in her stories, not so the ladies. Transportation options were pretty limited at the time, usually women were restricted to getting around on foot, often travelling very far and in incredibly poor and unpredictable weather conditions. How far could she have gone without having to craft a makeshift pad or tampon on the go? Jane herself never rode, although the family owned horses and her brothers went venturing out on horseback. But just because she was stuck within the confines of English civilisation, doesn’t mean she wouldn’t want to explore. Unfortunately for Jane, the first release of disposable menstrual products didn’t show up till the late 1880’s.

If women had access to menstrual products that provided protection AND comfort, we wonder if they would have been subjected to the same fate of long treks. Had technology been as bold as its women at the time, perhaps Jane could have tackled a saddle with confidence and given her fictional heroines the same freedom to gallop off into the distance or frolic in a field of flowers if so desired.

Where should our time travelling postie head off to next?

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