Feminine hygiene is a super subjective business that really comes down to every single individual. However, some people have noted that there exists a kind of product hierarchy that puts tampons above pads.
In order to find out what’s going on with the war between pads and tampons, one Tumblr user posed the question: “Why is it that people who wear tampons are seen as ‘strong’ and ‘cool’” while those who wear pads aren’t? And one woman took a stand and shared an educated explanation on the origins of the ongoing pads vs. tampons war.
It turns out, she wrote a whole PhD paper on the subject matter, which left her “four male classmates and one male professor in varying shades of paleness.” So, let’s see what she is talking about right down below.
This Tumblr user decided to find out why there’s stigma against wearing pads
Bored Panda reached out to Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, a leading voice for equitable menstrual policy in America, a co-founder of Period Equity, and the author of the book “Periods Gone Public: Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity.”
Jennifer agreed to comment on period stigma and tampon bias: “Throwing it back to when I was a teenager (and I’m proud Gen X!), I definitely felt a pro-tampon bias.” The menstrual activist said that she’d “attribute much of that perception to the blizzard of advertising from the big brands.”
Jennifer explained: “Tampon ads came across as edgy and sophisticated, while pads were presented in a stodgier way, often soaked in blue liquid. Before her rise to ‘Friends’ fame, a sporty, feather-haired Courteney Cox was the first to use the word ‘period’ on national TV in a 1985 commercial for Tampax—cementing the cool factor for millions of teens.”
And this woman came with an informative explanation
Image credits: lady-byleth
But Jennifer notes that in many cultures and communities around the world, tampons are viewed with suspicion because of their internal usage. “The biological function of menstruation gets conflated with sexualization, and tampons are very much embedded in that stigma. For example, there’s a commonly held fear that tampons will compromise a girl’s virginity.”
As it comes to the broader stigma and secrecy toward periods, we’ve seen more change towards demystifying periods in recent years. “Activists around the world are breaking barriers by fighting for menstrual equity policies—from eliminating the ‘tampon tax,’ to ensuring transparency in menstrual product labeling, to advocating for accurate health and sex ed, to addressing needs of trans and non-binary people who also have periods,” explained Jennifer.
There’s still some way to go, but even across social media and mainstream news, periods are now in headlines and hashtags, showing they’re finally becoming public.