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Germs Never Sleep! The Polluted Nature of Womanhood as Expressed Through Vaginal Douching

Author(s): Ashley M Morton

Year: 2013

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In the last 15 years, an increasing number of scholarly articles and cultural resource technical reports have recognized douching paraphernalia in archaeological contexts. While these analyses contribute to a greater understanding of this behavior douching among women in the past for contraceptive purposes from brothel contexts has been heavily emphasized. Between the mid 19th and 20th centuries vaginal douching gained  popularity as a general increase in health and sanitation reforms were taking place in America. Much of the discourse surrounding vaginal douching at this time reflected Western society’s fear of disease and contagion. Drawing from archaeological evidence recovered from late 19th and early 20th century residential and ‘red-light’ neighborhoods across the American West , archival research, and contemporary medical literature this paper explores a much more complex social behavior than has been previously noted; the hygienic side of vaginal douching.

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Germs Never Sleep! The Polluted Nature of Womanhood as Expressed Through Vaginal Douching. Ashley M Morton. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428621)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 388

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America