Having recently moved from the UK, I’ve been impressed by with the wide array of beautifully branded tampon brands here in Australia in comparison with the English consumer range. Ladies are utterly spoilt for choice, gorgeous packaging from TOM Organics (I may be a tad bias) to Moxie.
The manner in which tampons themselves are branded is extremely interesting. The focus and strategy behind their branding is to make them as inconspicuous as possible… at a glance, one could appear to be purchasing an expensive bar of chocolate. In fact everything about tampons exists to confuse onlookers into believing that a tampon is anything but a tampon, from their individual wrappers to their box. This got me thinking as to why and specifically why are women so apparently embarrassed of being seen purchasing such a necessity. The feminine hygiene industry panders to our apparent embarrassment, as women… for that minute long check-out experience or (perish the thought) to be caught by someone we know with tampons in our shopping basket. Need I mention the performance that is the low-profile walk to the bathroom with a sly tampon concealed up your sleeve as if it were in fact an illegal substance.
The whole perception of menstruation within the advertising world is condescending to the point of being laughable. My personal favourite has to be ‘Always’ pads: ‘Have a happy period, always’.
In our upbringing, it is instilled within us that periods should happen in secret; our period was our own business, and should be hidden at all costs as a matter of etiquette. Let’s redefine the cultural narrative around menstruation as a dirty little secret.
Girls are told that periods are shameful, even dirty occurrences, which must be kept hidden at all costs. Periods are healthy and normal, the idea of them causing shame is simple ludicrous. The first step to overcoming any embarrassment purchasing tampons is coming to terms with the fact that there is nothing to be embarrassed about; half the world has a period. Remove the stigma, free the tampon!
As Sarah Ogden Trotta* states,‘When pride for menstruation overpowers those voices of shame, we will redefine the idea of convenience.’
…and remember if you’re ever feeling down (or not having a happy period), you can always rely on tampon messaging to make everything better.
*Sarah Ogden Trotta. (2013). 5 Reasons Why Menstruation Is Awesome (Despite What We’re Told). Available: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/02/menstruation-is-awesome/. Last accessed 23rd September 2015.