So here is a question. In your bathroom at home, do you have toilet roll clearly visible? What about tampons (or other sanitary products)?
Are they publically displayed and easily accessible as the toilet roll? Why or why not? Why are some hygiene products more socially acceptable to display?
Yes, we are going there – tampons, tampons, tampons
It’s time to talk about tampons folks. And I’m not even going to go into the tampon tax, yet another relic of our patriarchal system. Which reminds me of the beauty tax.
Back to the present, sometimes I get puzzled about ingrained attitudes I have that seem at odds with my current uber socially liberal feminist values, such as that piece on the beauty tax. So today I want to explore just one of them – and it’s not my regression to shaving my legs last week (sorry financial mechanic I keep doing it), but tampons and menstruation.
I hide the tampons – even in my bathroom
Now my bathroom is awesome, even if I have to say so myself. I have a roll-top bath that oozes old school charm and offers lovely deep warm bubble baths. The retro tiling sets this off and lets you think you are in a 1930s art deco hotel. Why am I telling you this?
I want to set the scene, mainly so you are under no impression this is a normal bathroom. Or that I’ve not had an opportunity to personalise it. This is a ‘me’ bathroom. Designed and styled by none other than yours truly.
But ….. I hide the tampons. In my own house.
And I live alone
Well apart from the cat. And he doesn’t really have too many feelings about tampons to be fair. He’s far more interested in feeding time and snuggling up on the sofa. So I have nobody else’s opinions or feelings or prejudices to consider or influence me.
So here I am, living alone yet there are no tampons to be seen or easily accessible. They are hidden away in a bedroom drawer. Yet I have the toilet roll beside the toilet and quickly available. I’ve chosen to hide the sanitary products, in effect making my life more difficult. Hence certain times of the month I need to take a detour before visiting the bathroom.
But, erm why? Is this something I’ve learned or been taught to do? Which I can’t remember, but it must be a childhood habit that’s been drummed into me.
I’m meant to be a feminist
Speaking of childhood, doing the tampon in sleeve manoeuvre (as demonstrated above) at school led to an adulthood of doing the same at work. Similar to above, erm why?
I have been indoctrinated. I behave as if I believe periods are ‘naughty’ and ‘rude’ and must be hidden at all costs. Yet I rationally know this is not true and am happy to have open and honest discussions about them. But I realise this is all in the abstract rather than in practical terms. I’m happy to discuss periods but not that I am menstruating today and need to change my tampon.
Although I can’t determine exactly where I picked this habit up from exactly I’m going to guess. A mixture of my parents who weren’t exactly natural talking periods and a school with a similar mindset? And then going through life where this hiding the fact I was menstruating became the norm? Going forwards it’s easy to see how it becomes a habit.
Damn I have societal biases
I’ve been a card-carrying feminist for as long as I can remember. I never usually fail to call out gender-based injustices. Yet I’ve subjected myself to a lifetime of hiding sanitary products and pretending my menstruation does not exist. And yes, realising this makes me feel embarrassed and ashamed. I really should have known and done better.
I have fallen for the social convention that periods and menstruation should be hidden. And never spoken about in company. But I want to change that, as we have nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. It’s all-natural and healthy folks.
Hence this post about menstruation
Why not? We talk about everything else here. As the de facto writer, editor and publisher I get to pick the subjects covered. And what better feminist topic to deconstruct my learned behaviours.
Despite knowing that this behaviour hurts women I still do it. I know that making women’s lives harder by making menstruation something to be hidden is regressive in society. It hurts women’s mobility and freedom, two things I care deeply about.
I’ve stumbled across this instance where my behaviours don’t match my values and I don’t like it. The fraud warning signs are flashing and I feel guilty as charged. I need to do better.
Will I move the tampons?
So after this post, will I make changes? Will there be a pretty tampon bowl proudly laid out in my bathroom?
And after my feminist guilt has reduced, will my environment guilt come in? Is it time to also look at moving to reusables such as washable pads or pants or silicon cups?
Now to conclude in a fun manner. I have to say wow, there are so many amazing tampon gifs out there. I have only managed to share a few of them with you today. But have bookmarked many more for future use.
Over to you
- What are your thoughts?
- Where do you keep the tampons?
- Are you influenced by society to hide menstruation?