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Hartman Collection, Duke University Library

“The Beltless Feminine Napkin:, Stayfree, 1973.

Invented in 1965 as a protection against incontinence, drugstores sold the adhesive pad by 1969. Adapted for the feminine hygiene market, advertisements promised that beltless pads were a more secure option that would prevent tell-tale stains on clothing. The adhesive strip also eliminated the need for the old-fashioned sanitary belt. As pads became more comfortable and convenient, the embarrassment factor ostensibly decreased, but the underlying shame attached to menstruation remained. As with earlier advertisements, a disembodied woman’s hand with manicured nails shows how easy it is to use the new adhesive design.

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