Holy Hormones Journal: It appears that the author of this article got some criticism of her article below. In defense, she wrote another piece on July 11 entitled: I Do Not Think Tampons Are Anti-Feminist, for Chrissakes. According to Roberts “The article is about the continuing stigma around menstruation that leads our culture—through various media like advertising and pop culture—to put a premium on keeping our periods out of sight and how menstrual hygiene products factor into this culture.”
I happen to feel that tampons are anti-feminist. Let me clarify that – I think femcare advertising is an abomination to the embodied feminist. I am working on a presentation now about “Femcare and the Evolution of the American Woman.” I am using multiple resources and have found numerous vintage and contemporary advertising that is nothing short of shaming women about a natural process.
We need to stop ‘suppressing menstruation’ and stop shaming girls and women about this vital and healthy aspect of their body functioning
Lets not forget that the chemicals in tampons are dangerous. And let us also not forget that some women are still experiencing Toxic Shock Syndrome from tampons.
I attended the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference in New York City in June – and was pleasantly surprised to see a movement towards natural femcare products including patterns to make your own reusable sanitary pads (There is another term that is problematic – if we do not use them does that mean we are unsanitary?) out of cotton cloth with cotton batting. These pads can also be purchased online. At least these folks call them ‘Feminine Pads’.
It is time to clean up the language around menstrual health and femcare – and it is time to get menstruation into the language.
Are Tampons Anti-Feminist?
– by Soraya Roberts
“They say my flow is heavy so I guess I need a tampon,” Genesis Be raps in “Tampons & Tylenol.” The musician has called her summer song, released last month, a “declaration of women’s power,” but it also serves as a reminder of how that power can be subverted. While the lyrics equate Genesis Be’s rapping prowess with her gender, they also suggest that this prowess should be suppressed—and that the tool of suppression could be the perenially popular feminine hygiene product. The MC recently told The Village Voice that she penned the tune after failing to find tampons at her local convenience store. Here, literally, the tampon is invisible just as it, lyrically, renders her “flow” invisible—the point being, you’ve got to hide your blood away.
“There’s no social benefit from having a period, so suppressing it makes a lot of sense to a lot of people,” Sharra L. Vostral, author of Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology, tells the Daily Beast. It certainly makes sense to Ke$ha. The famously “edgy” singer, who has bragged about drinking her own urine, told WBLI radio-show host Syke last month that the only thing she considers “off limits” on her reality show is changing her tampon. Considering how many people saw red after Giovanna Plowman ate hers, not to mention how female artists like Carina Ubeda are marginalized for using their menstrual fluid in their work, it’s little wonder that periods and pop culture don’t mix.
Lauren Rosewarne wrote last year’s Periods in Pop Culture, about how rarely menstruation is represented on film and TV (she found around 200 examples going back to the ’70s, while Genesis Be’s rap continues to be one of the few cases of period-inspired music, along with PJ Harvey’s “Happy and Bleeding” and Ani DiFranco’s “Blood in the Boardroom”). She tells The Daily Beast that when menstruation does make an appearance, “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.” And when hygiene products are mentioned—“or, much, much, much less commonly, shown”—it’s the tampon that gets plugged. “This is likely due to the (comparative) social acceptability of tampons compared to others,” says Rosewarne, “as well as the more frequent advertising of tampons compared to other products (and in turn, greater audience familiarity with them).”
Here is a fun Menstruation Song I found on You Tube this week!