Downsized and out in Bristol and Somerset

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Great news, girls: the glampon has arrived!

Not sure what to make of these: tampons delivered monthly to your door in 'gorgeous, feminine' packagine. I mean, putting aside the obvious practical consideration that if they get delayed in the post, or you come on a day or two earlier than expected, you'd have to go out and buy Always like, er, always, my first reactions are rather mixed.
OK, so they seem to be basing this marketing on the idea that having your period doesn't have to be grim, a shameful reminder of your own dirty womanhood, and that's a positive thing, even if you haven't yet tasted your own menstrual blood as Auntie Germaine recommends in the Female Eunuch. Yes, your monthlies can be chances for more glamour and femininity, through having your tampons in, wait for it: pretty packaging. Embrace the classy neutrals and pseudo-damask pattern on the box, girls! Feel the loveliness of that 'silk fit' cotton (is it cotton? is it silk? is it some kind of hybrid made by force-feeding silk worms cotton wool until they barf?) as you shove a lump of condensed fluff into your bleeding fanny.
But how exactly is this new? How is it different to what all sanitary 'protection'* manufacturers do all the time when they cover their packaging with pink swirly butterfly-type stuff? I've never seen tannies (or sannies for that matter) in Tesco's packaged with a photo of Jenna Jameson draped over a Lamborghini or any other kind of 'masculine' design.
Plus I take quite a big issue with all this 'have a happy period' ((c) Always) crap anyway. You know, the adverts with some bird on rollerskates/running along the beach/getting her samba on in a carnival. Sure, we shouldn't be ashamed of having periods or treat them as if they're an illness rather than a normal part of life, but what do we gain by pretending that they don't hurt? Given the choice between going rollerskating on the first day I get the painters in, or curling up on the sofa with a hot water bottle and having a good cry over repeats of Sex and the City**, I know which one I'd rather be doing.
Women have nothing to gain through pretending that female-specific bodily processes are all just a great happy joy session. Pregnancy: a beautiful experience. Childbirth: all it takes is a warm bath and if you have an epidural you're a quitter. Breastfeeding: comes naturally to everyone. The menopause: nothing more than a few hot flushes, dearie. Periods: just something you get on with and don't complain about. Bullshit - or, indeed, cowshit.
Of course, if you use a Mooncup like I do, you don't have to get anything delivered in any kind of packaging or worry about running out - or pay £2.29 a month (including TAX! Don't get me started) for the priviledge. It's not pretty, but I fail to see why it needs to be.

*Please, protect me from my body's natural processes, just like when I have a cold and buy a big box of nasal protection wipes with integrated tissue-feel cotton-weave technology!
**This is just my personal thing, I'm sure readers have a variety of coping mechanisms, all equally valid.