Cash Flow

The businesses of menstruation

Camilla Mørk Røstvik

ISBN: 9781787355385

Publication: April 25, 2022

What is this?

The menstrual product industry has played a large role in shaping the last hundred years of menstrual culture, from technological innovation to creative advertising, education in classrooms and as employers of thousands in factories around the world. How much do we know about this sector and how has it changed in later decades? What constitutes ‘the industry’, who works in it, and how is it adapting to the current menstrual equity movement?

Cash Flow provides a new academic study of the menstrual corporate landscape that links its twentieth-century origins to the current ‘menstrual moment’. Drawing on a range of previously unexplored archival materials and interviews with industry insiders, each chapter examines one key company and brand: Saba in Norway, Essity in Sweden, Tambrands in the Soviet Union, Procter & Gamble in Britain and Europe, Kimberly-Clark in North America, and start-ups Clue and Thinx. By engaging with these corporate collections, the book highlights how the industry has survived as its consumers continually change.

Camilla Mørk Røstvik is Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Aberdeen.

List of figures

Introduction - Blood Money: The Menstrual Product Industry in Late Capitalism
1. SABA: A Norwegian Fairy Tale?
2. Mölnlycke, SCA, Essity: Swedish Menstrual Exceptionalism
3. Tambrands Incorporated: Femtech and the Development of Soviet Tampax
4. Procter & Gamble: Always Like a Girl
5. Kimberly-Clark: Kotex Marketing from Groovy Girls to Carmilla
6. Thinx and Clue: Startups and the Unsettling of the Menstrual Product Industry
Conclusion -Free bleeding? Menstruation Beyond Consumption


‘This wonderful book is a compelling and important addition to the fields of critical menstruation studies, labour history and feminist studies. Cash Flow interrogates the intersections of technology, capitalism and colonialism at the heart of the late-twentieth-century menstrual economy in the Global North. Focusing on seven powerful corporate brands and start-ups, Cash Flow explores the menstrual product industry’s capacities for re-invention and appropriation of shifts in menstrual culture to turn a profit, whatever the cost.’ – Cathy McClive, Florida State University

Format: Open Access PDF

229 Pages

21 colour illustrations

Copyright: © 2022

ISBN: 9781787355385

Publication: April 25, 2022

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