This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

“And that’s the story”: Themes of Medicalization within Disney and Kotex’s The Story of Menstruation




McFarland, Cristiana Shipma

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Communication and Journalism


This thesis examines themes of medicalization of menstruation in the 1946 Disney film The Story of Menstruation, a film that discusses the physiological process of menstruation and different tactics to manage the menstrual cycle. Though the film repeatedly states that menstruation is not an illness, I argue that the discursive and visual representation of the menstrual cycle redefines the process and submits it to a medicalized perspective. Thus, this project aims to examine instances of medicalization in a widely watched film on menstruation. By studying the historical context of the film, I interrogate the corporate, cultural, and social interests that preceded the creation of the film. I then perform a thematic analysis through the lens of critical rhetoric. Specifically, I examine the particular messages, both visual and spoken, that redefined the menstrual process. Ultimately, this project explains how medicalization can still occur in the absence of explicit medical definition through an understanding of medical ideology.