Tampons Attacked for Holding Women Back

Article by Maressa Brown /
Cafe Mom /
July 10, 2013 /
Click here to view original /

For years, we’ve been subjected to advertisements for feminine hygiene products that make it like buying certain pads and tampons will have us frolicking in fields and doing impressive dives into pools. Much fun has been made of how these commercials are willing to show us anything and everything other than what they’re actually for: Menstruation. Our messy, inconvenient, but very extremely, super-duper womanly and human periods. It’s something we certainly don’t want to look at and often will go to great lengths to not even have to deal with. But does that mean we’re not — gasp!! — feminist?!

No, really, this is a question being asked now apparently. A story in The Daily Beast yesterday queried: “Are Tampons Anti-Feminist?” You’ve got to be kidding.

The argument being that menstruation is under-represented in film and TV. And when it does make an appearance, according to Lauren Rosewarne, “it needs to be concealed, deodorized, and that anyone finding out about it is a substantial social faux pas for the woman, if not, social suicide.” Oh jeeeze. And tampons “hide” our periods, they make it “invisible.” So they contribute to this shame society wants us to feel about our menstruation and reproductive health. Oy.

The fact is, yes, society is way too uptight about menstruation, reproductive health, and female sexuality. None of these topics should be nearly as taboo as they are. But I’m sorry, is demonizing TAMPONS the answer? Uh, no.

What’s more, I feel like getting all bent out of shape about the politics of using a tampon totally undermines the REAL battles that are being waged right now on equality and women in general. I’m not going to sit around worrying that the world wants me to keep my period “invisible” when there are politicians silencing rape counselors from doling out invaluable health information to rape victims. It’s crazy to fret about the fact that there’s not enough “period-inspired music” when we’ve got much bigger fish to fry like Texas legislature “degrading women and girls to sex objects, and brood mares, and bald eagles, and leather wallets,” as local activist Sarah Slamen put it in a searing speech she gave on Monday.

Okay, it may all be interrelated. But the bottom-line is that tampons make women’s lives easier. They’re more liberating and empowering than not. We’re not necessarily frolicking in meadows as a result of using them, but it sure is easier to focus on more important matters — like getting ahead in work and in life — when you’re not worrying about your period. That said, tampons are anything but anti-feminist. Geeze, talk about choosing your battles!

Do you think society seems way too hell-bent on making menstruation “invisible”? Or do you think it’s really not an issue?