Why I don't ask for a bag when buying Tampons.
A little while back, one of my female co-workers asked me for a tampon. She had gotten her period, forgotten to pack any tampons herself and asked me whether I could help her out. Only she didn't ask me. She motioned for me to come to her as if she had a big secret and then she ashamedly whispered "Do you have ... um ... a tampon?". She barely mouthed the last word. I got one from my purse and handed it to her. She took it, thanked me and hid it in her hand whilst speeding to the toilet.
For a fairly long time, the thought of accidentally bleeding through a white dress was my worst nightmare. Since I never had regular periods, I never wore white. I have a friend who made it her habit during high school to always wear a pad. Every day. In case she accidentally started bleeding. She did this for almost 5 years. Our fear of having blood stains on clothing was ridiculous and very, very real. There were rumours about a girl from the neighbouring school who bled through her beige summer dress in the middle of class and then probably died of shame. Because we knew it was embarassing. Superembarassing.
Some boys in my class once got their hands on some pads and tampons and during art class spattered them with red paint. They were giddy with excitement, because virtually nothing was as disgusting as bleeding out of your downstairs area. One of my friends actually got dumped by a boy because she started bleeding when he fingered her at a party. We were 15 years old. I'm pretty sure she's still not okay with having her periods.
I recently listened to a podcast during which one of the hosts asked the question "What if men got their periods?" Would menstruating still be something embarassing? Well to give you the short answer: no, it wouldn't! They would publicly suffer. They would try to show off how brave they were. "Dude, last night I had crazy stomach cramps, I thought I would die!" - "Man, I am bleeding like fuck! Had to use the extra large tampons this time. But no biggy..." Tampons would become a lifestyle product. Extra manly cotton sticks. And I'm pretty sure that some 16-year-old dudes would put clips on Youtube of all their collected menstruation blood. Just to brag how much they bled this month! Swag!
But men don't get their periods. Women do. And they're expected to find it disgusting and to be ashamed and hide their cramps and their stained underpants. Instead of being proud that their bodies work as they should and that they get through that hideousness that is having stomach cramps, nausea, headaches and mood swings every month!
That's why the female cashier at the drug store whispered when she asked me if I wanted a bag for my pack of tampons. And that's why I said no, and walked the 15 minutes home with the tampons in my hand for everyone to see. These aren't simply tampons, they aren't even extra manly cotton sticks. They are bandages for my brave warrior uterus. An organ that is basically an Easybake-Oven for human beings, can blow up to 500 times its own size and also can do other crazy stuff I learned about at school but now forgot. Seriously, can we all stop screaming "Eeew", like the 13-year-old dicks from my art class and instead make a uterus action figurine or something?
(click pictures for source)