"The Girl Scouts of America (GSA) was one of the first groups to systematically teach menstruation to girls. By the 1920s, a girl in pursuit of the Health Winner Badge had to learn about the physiology of menstruation and also have a private talk with her troop leader about it. She was also required to tell her leader when she was menstruating, on the grounds that the older woman would help her "overdoing it" and determine an appropriate level of activity*. The leadership f the Girl Scouts recognized the difficulty of asking volunteer troop leaders to position themselves between the natural authority (the mother) and the professional expert (the physician, biology teacher or nurse), but they also knew hat some girls had no one else to turn to for information.AS a result, GSA training materials highlighted information about the hygiene of the female body and utilized the most enlightened strategies for talking to girls about menstruation."
* it is interesting to me that they talk about the "appropriate level" of activity, as, at the time (and now), menstruation is treated as an illness & one must automatically need to rest or withdraw from activity. for myself & many of my fellow menstruateurs energy can vary hugely from one period to the next. some months i just want to crawl in bed, and feel that my legs don't work quite right. other months i'm just fine.
i really enjoy the thoroughness of this book in terms of its selection of materials, it consists of popular pamphlets from different eras and personal diaries and news stories and lots of other miscellanea. i think the contrast between the pamphlets & educational materials and the diaries is really interesting; it shows me what was said it public, or thought to be normal/healthy/righteous and what the actual lived experience of young women and girls was.
i'm sure i'll think of more to say later but YAY GIRL SCOUTS.