It’s a Friday night, and we decide to go out for dinner. Going out for a fabulous meal and wine always excites me. We picked a nice restaurant in the area that sourced their ingredients from local farmers. The menu looked amazing. The restaurant happened to be within a resort here in Sedona, so the place was pretty glammed out for the tourists.
Fast forward to the meal. It was delicious! Great presentation, incredible flavors. All around impressive. I excuse myself mid-meal for a bathroom break, and walk down the wall-to-wall glass corridor, past the extensive bar, and into the spectacularly clean women’s restroom. It was one of those restroom’s that had only a few stalls, and they were all floor to ceiling wooden doors for each stall. I love that! Sleek, clean, and private. I am not a fan of public bathroom’s, so to walk into this was relieving, as it appeared to be pristine… Meaning, I wouldn’t have to be quite as careful with my usual routine of tip-toeing around the tiny stall, doing all I can not to touch a thing, cover the toilet in toilet paper, put gloves on, and hover over the toilet while I pee, trying not to splash on myself. You know how that goes, ladies.
I opened the stall door, locked it behind me, and turn to face the toilet, getting ready to begin a modified version of my public restroom routine. What I saw sitting on the back of the toilet stunned me, in a way it never had before. I understand that this may not be uncommon amongst higher end restaurants, hotels, and resorts of the like, though I hadn’t seen a display like this one in quite awhile, and it struck me in a different way than it ever had before.
There was a nicely manicured display of tampons on the back of the toilet. MaxiThins, to be exact. Non-organic, of course. Maybe it’s because tampons have become such a foreign item to me over the years, but seeing that as the free tool provided for women on their cycles to use, disgusted me. I had one of those “Holy sh*t I almost forgot it was this bad” moments. Sometimes I forget that the majority of women who have their menstrual cycle use things like MaxiThins, or even worse – Tampax “Pearl” tampons, that are scented (gross, I totally used those as a teenager) – To plug up their bleeding. I once heard that roughly 70% of the female population uses tampons. I have no idea if this number is still accurate, as I wasn’t able to find much for answers online. That number is backward in my reality. The majority of women in my life, including myself, all use organic pads of some kind – Either cloth or disposable pads. I’ll go into the importance of using organic cloth pads in part three of this blog series.
First, I was stunned to see the tampons because I can’t remember the last time I laid my eyes on one of these things so closely, let alone held one in my hand. I had a brief internal giggle, picturing myself trying to use one of them and how awkward they used to feel. Not to mention, how painful they could be! All of that friction, and that oh-so-unpleasant removal process. Ew, and ouch!
After that initial moment, my mind went into the next process of analyzing how neatly displayed the tampons were – Stacked perfectly in their little white and blue boxes – Still promoting that look of “nothing to see here!” I always get a kick out of how tampon companies advertise using so much white. Menstruation, or “Moon time” as I like to call it, is not clean. It’s not supposed to be. It can get messy, and that is natural. It’s a flow of energy coming through and out of our bodies. Let’s save the effort, let it flow and embrace the fact that our bodies have this natural monthly experience rather than fighting against it. Check out this old school Rely’s ad to the right of some tampons way back in the day! Got to have the token sexy women shots in the ad too, of course.
Then, I got upset. I got mad. And sad. All at once. I got mad that tampons are the main option that women these days are being educated to use. I got mad at Tampax, MaxiThins, Playtex, and all the tampon companies out there, as well as the Big Pharma owners of those companies, like Proctor and Gamble. These manipulative entities are controlling the image that is portrayed of women today, and swaying their decisions for how to take care of their bodies and how they feel about themselves, in the direction of putting more dollars in these companies already hefty bank accounts. I also realized that the only difference between this tampon “offering” on the back of the toilet seat and the tampon dispensers still in public restrooms today, was that in most public restrooms you pay 50 cents or so for the item. Those dispensers irk me out when I see them, because the tampons are sold alongside condoms and lip gloss usually. Right… That is where the female populations head is at these days. Either way, I disapprove and feel we could collectively do better with the options provided for women in this department.
It saddens me that many women haven’t been educated on more natural options for navigating their bleeding cycle, and tampons are what are being shoved in their faces day after day, ad after ad. Many don’t know the physical, emotional, and spiritual issues with using tampons. Women are trained to think that in this patriarchal society, we must always be ready and rearing to go for work, sex, mothering, and all the other roles we play. We are trained that we should never take time for ourselves, let alone a few days, while we are menstruating. I sure as hell don’t feel like working while I’m heavily spilling blood from my womb, tired, and in a spiritually altered space from my bleeding time. I also usually don’t feel up for having sex while I’m bleeding. I often don’t even really want to see or talk to anyone while I’m bleeding. There is a reason for that…
… Which I will explore in part two of this blog series! I will get into the negative side effects of using tampons as it pertains to the body, the emotions, and a woman’s spirituality. In part three, I will offer some alternative options to tampons, including the Moon time protocol I use, and why I feel these options are superior.
To close this aspect of my recent tampon process – I finally sat down to pee after I gaped a the tampons momentarily and took a moment to shoot the photo featured above, of the toilet at the restaurant. When I returned to the dinner table, I was all revved up and ready to process my bathroom encounter. One of my sisters who also honors her moon time was at the table, and was able to share in the intense emotions I experience surrounding this topic!
More to come on this next week, so stay tuned for part two where we will get into some more nitty gritty details!
I want to hear from you! What is your relationship to tampons currently? Do you use them? Do you know women who use them? What are your opinions about tampons, the tampon industry and the use of them? Thank you, as always, for reading and be sure to leave your thoughts and reflections in the comments!