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Hartman Collection, Duke University Library

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“Step On it, Mother — This Isn’t the Polka,” Johnson & Johnson, 1929.

Companies promoted their menstrual products through ads like this when modernity was the height of glamour. This one shows a daughter with her “old-fashioned” mother and implies that the daughter is teaching her mother how to be “modern” by adopting the new disposable products, inverting the traditional chain of knowledge about menstruation. The ad suggests that women could unlock the fun, fashionable, and attractive modern world by effectively managing menstruation with Modess.

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