Letter from the Editor: Let’s Talk Tampons
Let’s talk tampons.
You nervous yet? Maybe? I can work with that.
Society’s secrecy surrounding tampons is something that I’ve never completely understood. They’re the unused Kleenex of the feminine hygiene world: they are immaculate and pure in the package, and while it’s true that once they’re soaked with menstrual blood they’re gross, this is true of anything used to clean up bodily fluids. It’s the same reason we make a face at dirty diapers; yet, it is far too easy to make a man flinch by saying the word “tampon”.
It’s a strange cultural phenomenon that I have learned at least a dozen ways to carry and hide a tampon when I’m on my period and have to leave class. There are many effective methods to make sure that the delicate sensibilities of those around me go unoffended: I could hide my tampon in my purse, like a true gentlewoman; I could slip it into the pocket of my jacket like a thief, pretending I’ve stolen something to hide my menstruation with an air of mischief; or I could do the classic move of hiding it up my sleeve or under the hem of a shirt if I find myself without functional pockets. These methods could be used for shoplifting or drug purchases or any number of more relevant and important tasks, yet I have learned them, instead, to hide the natural and involuntary biological process of menstruation.
Just imagine the outcry if I were to put a tampon on my desk when I’m on my period the way people keep Kleenex on theirs when they’re sniffling. “Tampons!” they would shout. “Disgraceful! Upsetting! Unclean!” And I would show them the pristine tampon wrapper, crinkling around the tampon-shaped tampon. I would shake my bargain box of regular tampons at them (between class periods so as not to be disruptive) and say gently, ladylike, that tampons are not scary. Tampons are tampons are tampons. I’ll say it until people accept it and move on to worthwhile things to feel uncomfortable about, like incest and the current state of politics in the United States. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons. Tampons.