Tampons are Not a Status Symbol

Thanks for modelling the display for me girl! 😄 (Tampax Pearl Regular's w/Bonus Always Pantiliners)

This weekend, it was a rare moment that I had a conversation with one of my guy-friends about a period-related matter or more precisely, tampons. I’m sure those who follow my site closely (or not) pretty much sees the dead giveaway that I’m a pad-lover, much more so than tampons. Hell, I don’t need to use them, so I guess it doesn’t really matter what I like more 😆 but suffice to say, I don’t hate tampons. Anyways, back to the story… my guy-friend, let’s call him “G” complained that with the summer creeping upon us, that he’s getting frustrated his girlfriend doesn’t go swimming with him whenever she’s on her period because she doesn’t use tampons. One of the remarks he made which made me think about writing this entry was, “[His girlfriend’s name] is being such a little girl. Why can’t she grow up and use tampons?

You can imagine thereafter I gave him a 25-minute lecture on the subject of tampons and that tampons is not some kind of status symbol or a way of differentiating girl from woman because that is just absurd. However, this notion was not only by him, but even some arrogant-tampon-using-girls say the same thing, they believe tampons are a sign of “being a big girl” when in fact, I can’t see how the choice of feminine hygiene products is a way of defining “being a big girl.” Perhaps my views are a bit different, only having 2 of my (ex) girlfriends who use tampons, one actively and one who tried upon my recommendation. Reading a lot of chats or forums, I have found many girls will chastise fellow-females who do not use tampons – it’s amazing rather than encouraging and being supportive, they ridicule pad-users. It is as if for guys, buying one type of condom makes you a better/lesser of a man!

Let me reiterate to guys if you’re not clear (and I suppose those arrogant girls too) on the matter, but whether your girlfriend/wife/significant other uses pads, tampons, menstrual cups, sea sponges or even rags does not define her womanhood. As much as I hate to use wikipedia as a “good source” of information, I should note that…

A woman (irregular plural: women) is a female human. The term woman is usually reserved for an adult, with the term girl being the usual term for a female child or adolescent.

and furthermore…

Womanhood is the period in a female’s life after she has transitioned from girlhood, at least physically, having passed the age of menarche.

As you can see, at no point is being a woman, grown-up or brave being attributed to the use of tampons or other forms of internal protection. As far as I understand, the use of feminine hygiene products is a matter of personal preference, although there are some women who are against/cannot use/afraid of tampons, it doesn’t make them any less of a person. I happen to think all my pad-using (ex)girlfriends are perfectly fine women, in fact, I’d be more likely to be strict pad-users as opposed to strict tampons users… although using both is a total winner 😆

I think it must be very tough for a girl to have to deal with menstruation and also having to deal with friends/classmates who place a lot of pressure in her to using tampons because it makes her a “big girl”. I swear sometimes it is like a “cult” where girls feel the need to assimilate one another. Although I recognize that tampons are an excellent feminine hygiene product due to its size, allow swimming during menstruation and discreteness when inserted, I would not use the word “superior” to describe it. Every form of menstrual hygiene has its advantages and disadvantages and I think it’s extremely obnoxious for men or women to define for one another what is “better” because after all, it is the individual him/herself that’s using it.

I advised “G” of several ways he could attempt to persuade his girlfriend to use tampons if her swimming on her period is a huge concern. Naturally, it is outside the rights of a guy to force his girlfriend to use something she doesn’t like, but it is always valid to express your opinion and see if she feels comfortable with the idea. It took me about 3 months of persuading my ex to try tampons for once and she was pleasantly surprized with her experience. Although she has discontinued using them, at least now she can make an informed decision on her choice of menstrual protection. I wish “G” best of luck in talking with your girlfriend and seeing whether she is willing to use tampons so you two can spend the summer together actively for water activities 🙂 If not, at least you got yourself an awesome pad-girl 😀 because they rock anyways, lol.

It probably does, but unfortunately I don't know anything about it 😛

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About Prexus Swyftwynd

Probably not a good idea for you to know anything about me....

Posted on May 25, 2010, in Periodtastic and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Well may I say I think “G” is a jerk. What an insensitive dick head. I am sorry but if his lady does not want to wear a tampon that is her business not his. She may be worried about Toxic Shock Syndrome (no matter how rare). Moreover, sometimes, One’s vagina can be a small and makes inserting a tampon uncomfortable.

    If I met that guy I would give him a piece of of mind I can tell you!

    • It’s unfortunate I think his ignorance towards this subject is what makes him appear jerkish. No doubt, he’s not one of my closer friends who regularly have to receive menstrual education from me, LOL. See, the effect of ignorance about menstruation is immense because he would refer to his girlfriend as a little girl as a result of her not wanting to use tampons. As you mention, fear of TSS is a completely valid reason to not use tampons, albeit the advantages may outweigh the disadvantages (and a very large disadvantage of infection/death).

      From what I understand, some women are physically unable to use tampons as a result of a constricted vaginal canal (can’t remember the medical reference) or even something like Vaginismus Disorder.

      I echo your statement in that it is up to her to decide what she wants to use, even if her reasoning is simply, “I don’t want to” because it is her body. Certainly, I can see myself suggesting tampons to my girlfriend in the future, but I certainly wouldn’t force it upon her or have the expectation she will use it. Heck, I’m pretty sure I can survive swimming without her for a few days 😛 From what I know though, I doubt my girlfriend will ever use tampons, LOL…. no matter, I’m all for her using pads 😛

      With that said, I don’t believe that this girl has a physical problem with being able to insert a tampon, simply because she has (long) been sexually active, so for a girl to withstand even an average-sized penis is larger than the ULTRA tampon sizes. However, rest assured the texture and feeling of a penis versus and tampon up a vagina, I would imagine, is quite a different experience. This comes to the age-old misnomer of “Tampons causes you to lose your virginity” or “Using tampons makes you more sexually-active” which as you can see, her having lots of sex has nothing to do with her using tampons (because she doesn’t, lol). My ex-ex girlfriend started using tampons years before we even began dating and we didn’t have sex (unfortunately? LOL) so I think even though many of these myths have been shot out of the air, there are still men and women who believe in such things.

      I took this conversation as a chance to remind myself the reason why giving men practical information on menstruation and surrounding topics are so important. After all, look at the damage that simple innocence and ignorance can do! That statement was pretty wild and even I gave him shit for me. I call my girlfriend, “my little girl” but definitely NOT because she doesn’t use tampons, but because she is affectionately my little girl 😆

    • Me too Jessica!

      Prexus: Probably, tampon users are not virgins, if that’s what “being a woman” meant. Well, most of my friends use pads, and they are also virgins. We don’t like the idea of sticking anything upthere – it’s reserved for our husbands 🙂

      • I’m just saying, being a woman isn’t defined by whether a girl uses tampons or pads, that’s just an non-nonsensical deduction. This isn’t school, you don’t “graduate” from using pads to tampons, it is not stepping-stone. There are some girls who from day 1 of their period, use tampons without ever using pads, so that doesn’t make them a non-virgin! So that means, when you aren’t a virgin anymore, you are going to switch to tampons? Of course not, I don’t see a good relation between that!

        Using a tampon up there is different than a penis, because a tampon doesn’t cause a person to lose their virginity -_- When you say “most” – so you do have friends that use tampons? I take it tampons aren’t very popular in Malaysia or at least “not as much” as here in North America or something. Your friends rock by the way ‘cuz they use pads 😄 ya ya, lol.

        For some of the girls I know, they actually say tampons are freaky because they don’t FEEL the presence of a pad there and it makes them feel conscious as to whether they are being protected. I know even when my ex tried using tampons her first time, she asked me to get her a thin pad to keep underneath in case it leaked – at least she’d have “backup”. On that note though, the idea of “feeling nothing” when using a tampon is what some girls define as FREEDOM because there’s no pad in the way!

        To each their own, pads and tampons both rock in their own way 😀

        • Its by person prefrence really. I use both. Tampons more than pads though because I’m not exactly a “light” flow and its really hard in show busisness with a (as my dear moter calls it.) two-by-four between your legs. But does it really matter anyway. No one should think more or less of a woman because of what she uses. Its her own personal business. Not that this should matter but here is my opinion. Tampons have saved (for those who use them) woman Kind! I’m also on swimteams so there isn’t any choice. And what’s more, it you put them in correctly you don’t feel anything. It gets better but for now: let’s just all be there for eachother when oir monthly mortal enemy decides to pay a visit. ❤

        • Hi Rin,

          I agree with your point, I think there’s too much hatred on both sides, people should be happy with what they use and not be oppressive towards users of other products… and while I can agree on encouraging and supporting peers on the different type of products, saying, “You’re not woman enough because you don’t use tampons!” is terrible. I can certainly attest to many ‘grown women’ who only use pads and there’s nothing “childish” about them. I know that tampon-users do feel great advantages from the “freedom” of not having a cotton pony between their legs and that they can go swimming, but of course there are disadvantages to using tampons – just like any other product.

          I can certainly understand tampons are almost a “necessity” for certain ways-of-life and I’m good with that – and notably, your entertainment business. I would say even those in many “intense sport” activities would prefer tampons over pads, such as gymnastics, ballet or like-sports. I do know of many girls who play sports like soccer, basketball, baseball, etc. who do use pads and feel that they’re not uncomfortable or at a disadvantage for not using tampons. Certainly what matters at the end of the day is the user’s choice – and although tampons would be RECOMMENDED for say… cheerleaders, it’s definitely in all-the-right for a girl cheer-leading girl not to want to use tampons.

          Tampons have definitely “revolutionized” menstrual protection no doubt and I see absolute validity in “pro-tampon” girls – and I’m totally good with girls using tampons and expressing their content with them as long as it’s done tastefully. After all, no pad-using girl would enjoy being bantered on for her choice of products and yes, it’s way better if everyone comes together for the sake of simply making every menstrual day worthwhile and not fighting over “who’s more of a woman!”

  2. I applaud you for this post! You go! I wear pads and there is definitely a stigma about them. They seem like what your mother would wear, an inconvenience, they are dirty, smelly (?), and just gross. But I am comfortable wearing them. Yes, it sucks that 15% of every month I can’t go swimming or whatever, but that really doesn’t matter. In fact, it is a good thing when you wear pads and you find that you can do things like workout and carry out your daily activities just like before. Character-building in a way. =) But, let me say, all my girlfriends who wear tampons are cool too. I’m sure they have their own “inconveniences” with those that I have no idea of. But thanks for being in support for the minority. I mean, I guess we pad-wearers might be a minority. Have you looked for statistics on this? That would be really interesting. Of course, I guess it would have to be catagorized by age. Anyways, great post! Nice to know there are boys out there supportive of my practices. =)

    • Both pads, tampons or any type of menstrual protection is “dirty”, “smelly” and “gross”… after all, I don’t recall menstrual blood to exactly smell “good” – lol… I’m not sure whether a saturated tampon looks any better than a saturated pad! Now when I say dirty, smelly and gross, that’s just to describe the general consensus people have towards it, not my own opinion because I don’t find feminine hygiene new or used, dirty, smelly or gross – other than following typical hygienic practices. I shrug whenever I see those things anyways 😆 … but that’s just me 😀

      Interestingly enough, I really wish I’d had thought of this last night, but it is too late now since I don’t like appending things to my posts since people might not notice. However, there’s a certain “cool” factor (that even I at one point believed) in regards to tampons, that the ‘cool girls use them’. It wasn’t until one time I found out the “coolest girl in the class” actually was a strict pad user. There’s something perhaps that play the minds of both boys and girls, that the “cool girls” and the “sporty girls” use tampons. Suffice to say, I’ve found that many girls, ones who even involved in vigorous sports do use pads. Our prestigious female athlete in elementary school actually used pads, even in the roughest games such as hockey and soccer, practice or tournaments! She was pretty cool… I like pad-girls 😄 Ya ya… haha.

      Consequently, I discovered that one of the not-so-cool, not-so-attractive and not-so-thin girl used tampons (urg…) and I won’t comment on her too much since that’d make me look like an ass, but let’s just say that really turned the world over on what people would think what “type” of girls use tampons, pads or reusable menstrual products. I suppose just like everything else, you can’t make assumptions on these things based on stereotypes! It blew my “the hot girls used tampons” and the “fat ugly girls used pads” (and yes, I realize that was quite immature, but what do you expect of a teenage boy back then? HAHA) right out of the water! 😛

      Tampons absolutely have their own inconveniences, other than the risk of TSS, they aren’t “perfect” by any means. I have lots of stories about tampons and such with ex’s, lol… but I’d rather not share the details of that 😀 I truly think with any type of menstrual protection (unless it is immensely low-grade) is that proper hygiene, technique and experience, one can efficiently use any product of their choosing. It is kind of like giving someone who doesn’t know how to drive a really great and expensive car. However, if the person doesn’t KNOW how to drive it, it is useless or may cause an accident. Likewise, giving a girl a tampon who doesn’t want to/doesn’t know how to properly may result in discomfort, accidents or worse. Therefore, the product is best used in the hands of the user who feels comfortable and knowledgeable about it.

      Honestly, if I had a choice (which obviously I don’t), I would only have my girlfriend use tampons when she swims. There’s something more normal about letting menstrual flow come out rather than it being absorbed by a wad of cotton shoved up a vagina. Maybe that’s the hippie in me, LOL – but whatever… that’s just my opinion anyways. Whatever she chooses to use, I’ll be happy, as long as she’s not suppressing her period… it seems so unnatural to me 😛 I’m such a picky boyfriend, lol. Her menopause will be the most depressing day of my life!

      I have read about world-statistics somewhere on the internet (which I foolishly did not keep a copy of), but from what I understand, the majority of women world-wide still use pads/sanitary napkins over tampons or other products. While it has been a few years since I’ve looked into it and can’t verify it, I’m not sure whether these numbers have changed. I don’t think pad-girls are a minority 😛 I’m supporting the MAJORITY… haha.

      I love it when you drop by, you always have something insightful and thought-provoking to say! The blog misses you 🙂

  3. Ahh thank you Poh Ching 🙂

  4. =O THEY AREN’T?!!!

    Kekeke… well, I juz like using them sometimes ‘cuz it’s easy to carry around and fast to change. I kno some of my frds struggle with tampons so they take much longer to put one in than to change a pad. It doesn’t matter anyways, not my issue wut they use.. n’ I use pads as well so it’s not like I think one is “superior” – juz depends on the occasion.

    Which one of yur ex’s used tampons + pads?!! Ohhhahhh… juz like me xDD Sometimes if I gauge incorrectly and put a larger tampon than I need in… it hurts to take it out since it’s too dry. I try to always use the ‘right one’ coz yur supposed to… but mistakes happen. They flush too so if I go to Josh’s house, I dun have to worry abt him finding pads I throw away… haha… save him from barfing ma…. 😀

    • Sorry Am’s, they aren’t… haha, but I know you’re just joking 😛

      Ya, they’re easy to port around, especially if you use applicator-less ones like O.B. – applicators take too much space anyways and it’s unnecessary. Just insert with fingers and so much faster too! I suppose it’s always a struggle to use tampons for the first time or if she’s really against it. If she is, then there’s no point because it just totally ruins everything. If the girl is comfortable using pads and she doesn’t complain, then so be it. I just hate girls who complain about how problematic pads are but then don’t go look for alternatives X.x My ex had problems getting the tampon in so I had to help her and teach her… she struggled for quite a few minutes.

      Uhh… not going to mention her name, but I think if I say “Beauty and the Beast” you will know which ex, LOL. Pulling out a dry tampon… hhuurrr must suck. Ya, definitely use lighter absorbency ones and just change more often if you have to… I think using not enough is better than using too much. Don’t forget tampons aren’t like pads and isn’t necessarily “safe” to use a higher absorbency for less flow… with pads, at least you can use a super huge one and it doesn’t matter even if it doesn’t get full.. there’s no risk factor in that. LOL, Josh should not throw up seeing your pads… just a used pad lor, blood, some uterine lining, clots and a decomposed egg, what’s so gross about that? 😛

      • I’m still using O.B. on your recommendation 😀 I like them too! I have a feeling I can’t change either faster than you can though, lol.. yur so PRO… haha. Yur such a nice b/f, always helping out xDD Who was more happy, you or her? LOL…

        Oh, the cute ex? kekeke… I love your nicknames for your gurloz.. haha. Pulling out dry tampon isn’t like super painful, but it is just ‘uncomfortable’ and you have to do it slowly… mm.. kind of like taking a bandage off? 😀 Either rip it right out or slowly… either way still hurts 😦

        I try to not use tampons at night and even during the day, only very specific times I use them. I just dun feel like using them all the time putting something in there.. bleg.

        • haha… dunno if “pro” at changing, but definitely can do it fast. Probably her more happy that she got it in… nothing to do with me. I suppose I celebrated in her accomplishment, but it’s not like I got to touchy 😆 Oh well…. I’m too innocent for that anyways 😛 Dunno if I did it for me or did it for her… not sure if that makes me a good bf 😄

          What do you mean “the cute ex”… lol, all my ex’s are cute 😀 I have high-standards, what can I say? haha. Or wait.. I guess maybe not one of them =\ but oh well, the majority are… so if you just refer to her as “the cute ex” then it’s not being very specific… 😆 … and yes, I know the one you happen to be thinking of anyways and yes, it is her.. “the cute ex” if that is how YOU want to refer to her 😛

          LOL @ your comparison of ripping off a bandage and pulling out a tampon… but actually, quite ingenious, both are meant to stop blood 😀 Wah, suddenly so see-mart… when did that happen? lol.

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