Why tampons make me uncomfortable
My office has unisex toilets.
Each toilet is it's own separate room and can be used by anyone.
Recently I went to the toilet to find that someone had left toiletries out.
"Isn't that nice!" I thought to myself.
If I ever needed to put some gel in my hair or top up on deodorant I was covered.
Then I saw the tampons and felt instantly uncomfortable...
What does it all mean?
Don't get me wrong, I don't think they shouldn't be there.
I think it's great that they are there... I can imagine that being stuck for one when you need one is an awful experience. One that I will never have.
But none of that changes the fact that they made me uncomfortable and I have no idea why.
My mind was instantly cast back in time to sex education in secondary school. In one class the teacher passed around a (clean & unused ofc) 'sanitary pad', to which the reaction of all the boys was of disgust.
Most of us didn't want to even touch it and it was all a big joke that peaked with one of the guys slapping another over the face with it.
Then my mind was cast forward in time.
I'm 20 years old and working in the local petrol station. It was late at night, late enough that the place was completely empty.
A woman enters. She needs one thing.
As she arrives at the counter she is clearly uncomfortable. A feeling I would share as soon as she put the packet of Tampax she was holding on the counter.
She clearly didn't want to be buying them from 20 year old me, or in a petrol station.
I deftly whipped out a plastic bag, threw them in and said 'Three twenty please' (or however much they cost).
She seemed grateful.
There seems to be this weird unspoken social idea that they are shameful or dirty. That how a healthy woman’s body functions is disgusting.
That stigma is buried deep within me.
It manifests in a brief but instant discomfort when presented with tampons.
What’s worse is that I’m not sure that I’ll ever not feel it…
I really do hope that future generations are free of this bullshit (maybe writing this will be a breakthrough for me).
(It's similarish with toilet paper. Ever gone to the shop just to buy toilet paper? The person behind the counter will instantly know that you or someone close to you needs to shit, and soon. It makes the whole situation awkward.)
Thinking about this gives me a sense of the absolute devastation that one can cause in the mind of a child.
How you could easily cultivate intense and immediate feelings of disgust at just about anything, or any one.
It also strengthens the case for empathy and understanding... Though it's still a hard sell in a lot of situations.