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  • Writer's pictureDavid Linton


In light of the occasional scandals regarding phone and email hacking it is surprising that in the media coverage there has been so little mention of the fact that one of the most scandalous, damaging and far reaching hacking stories centered on menstruation.

In brief: in 1989, a time before either cell phones or email were commonly available (hard to believe there was such a time!), a phone hacker recorded a phone sex exchange between Prince Charles and his then-lover, Camilla Parker-Bowles in which erotic mention was made of tampons. Three years later the full transcript of the conversation was published in an Australian women’s magazine, New Idea, and a world-wide scandal ensued.

Now, nearly 30 years after the story broke, it is still worth noting due to what it says about the menstrual ecology and the power of the period. I have devoted a full chapter of Men and Menstruation to a discussion of the media coverage of the story and how confused and inaccurate the reports were, nearly all of them authored by male journalists.

Though the story now seems a bit dated, it still has a lot to tell us about our menstrual value system.

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