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Cultural views of tampons vs pads

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I was thinking the other day that I somehow got the idea early on that pads are embarassing and "real women" use tampons.

Is this a cultural thing? Or was it just me?

If there is some cultural thing to it, where does it stem from? I mean, what would be inherently more "mature" or whatever about tampons? It must have to do with a perception of lost virginity or something, but I don't really know.

FWIW I use pads - cloth now, but disposables before I knew I had a cloth option. I'm 30 years old and a mother, and I hate tampons, always have. They just feel really uncomfortable to me. But it's weird if I have a situation where another woman might see what "equipment" I use, and I will have a fleeting feeling of embarassment that I have pads and not tampons.
post #2 of 31
For some reason I think tampons seem less harmless when found in the garbage, as oposed to a pad that's all puffed up full of menstrual stuff- with a tampon, anything "incriminating" is flushed away. There might be some difference in that area. But when you're talking never-used feminine products, I wouldn't associate one with being more dignified than the other.

I suppose there's that by not weraing a 'bulky' pad you can still wear your high fashions too- or so the tampon folk would say.

Anywhoo, I don't think it's necessarily a cultural belief. Maybe some good tampon adverts air in your area?
post #3 of 31
Growing up, guys always seemed to know when girls where having their periods and would loudly point out girls wearing pads as they got on the bus. I quickly learned to use tampons as it was so embarassing . I could care less now and I happily wear cloth pads. I've had tampon problems which made me glad to say goodbye to them (I've "lost" a couple and had the sting come off at least one, that was when I said no more!)
post #4 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by bwylde View Post
Growing up, guys always seemed to know when girls where having their periods and would loudly point out girls wearing pads as they got on the bus. I quickly learned to use tampons as it was so embarassing . I could care less now and I happily wear cloth pads. I've had tampon problems which made me glad to say goodbye to them (I've "lost" a couple and had the sting come off at least one, that was when I said no more!)
thats why I'm afraid of those...lol

btw, our daughters share the exact same birthdays! 8-13-04 (7:23 am):
post #5 of 31
My mom my sis and I used pads growing up. My mom taught us that "good girls" used pads. She was just discouraging me from trying to get ANYTHING in there.
post #6 of 31
I do believe it is an advertising thing, you should be able to ride horses, swim, and stuff highly pesticide ridden bleached cotton up your nether regions while on your period.
I feel empowered and on track when I use mama pads.
post #7 of 31
definitely a cultural thing. I agree with my pp: your're supposed to be able to do anything and everything during your period. which I absolutely agree with, only I don't think we HAVE to do it. most of it is the "cleanliness" though, tampons are invisible and so the blood is, too. I strongly believe that this is the cultural reasoning behind it. This is also behind odored pads and pantyliners: invisibility.
post #8 of 31
I've actually thought about this a lot too. I definitely had an idea when I was young that you "started" with pads, but as you got more mature you would "graduate" to tampons. I think in part it was because tampons were more difficult to use, so the beginner would use the easier pads. But that tampons had lots of advantages (easier to be discreet, more freedom, cleaner, etc) so eventually of course you would make the switch when ready, and pads would become just your back-up.

Well, I'm another who have always found tampons UNCOMFORTABLE. The string tickled! Or they would fall out, no matter how far I stuffed them in. (TMI? LOL) I would go years using just pads, then "try again" with a tampon... one time I "tried again" since I was going in a hot tub at a health club... when I stood up to get out, the suction of the surface tension of the water sucked it right out!!! And I dripped all the way to the bathroom stall... can you say embarassing???

I think that was my last ever attempt at a tampon lol...

Anyway, since those I've learned all about the toxins and plastics and all that, and I am DELIGHTEDLY happy with my Lunapads and plan to introduce my daughter to cloth pads when "her time" comes. But I've never been interested in trying the Divacup or Keeper or sponges, mostly I think because of my experience with tampons!
post #9 of 31
my mother always tried to get me to use tampons when i was younger. i didn't try them until after i was no longer a virgin...guess i felt like a tampon would be easy after a penis had been up there. anyway i never thought i'd go back to pads but when i get my mirena out and go back to having regular periods i think i'll use cloth pads. i get what your saying about tampons seeming to have a cultural association with maturity.
post #10 of 31

moved on from both

I agree with many of the posters about why I started using tampons, i didn't want anyone at school to know I had my period. It was pointed out on other people many times and not just by the boys. I started with pads because thats what my mom used but now I use neither, I use the cup, the keeper, which I love. I have a way better understanding of my period now because I can see what is happening more with it. I also think it is more hygienic as there are no chlorinated products of any kind touching me. I chose the keeper over the diva cup for 2 reasons, it lasts longer and it has a longer stem making removal easier for me.
post #11 of 31
I think Santa may bring me the diva in my stocking this year. He has an amazing ability to fill it with things that only I would know I want, like lavender bath salts, party in my pants pads and certain shade of lipstick!
post #12 of 31
I've always used pads. I think I started using them because it's what my mother uses. Also I got my first period at 10 years old. My mother didn't want me inserting anything at such a young age. I've tried tampons. They are feel uncomfortable and unnatural to me.

Most of my friends use tampons because society teaches us that pads are "gross". Like we are supposed to hide our periods inside us 'cause bleeding is wrong! lol
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by redhotmama View Post
I think Santa may bring me the diva in my stocking this year. He has an amazing ability to fill it with things that only I would know I want, like lavender bath salts, party in my pants pads and certain shade of lipstick!
NEVER MIND! i road the short bus over to the thread where everyone else was talking about this!

let me know how you like the diva, i am so irregular it almost seems like a waste of money to spend that much on something that i may only use every 6 months. But i will have to say.. I love tampons. pads feel like diapers, and if those looks in the bathroom are from women like me, we are thinking about offering you a tampon because we hate pads and are having shell-shock like symptoms from just seeing a pad.

ps i have tried instead and i can't get it to sit comfortably, i made my roommate try it in college and she couldn't get it to stay put either.
post #14 of 31
I use the diva cup and love it! For my first cycle using it, I felt like I was just learning to deal with my period again. . . I didn't insert it very well. Now that the second cycle has come and gone, it feels natural and much better than tampons. I've also use cloth minipads and love those, too.

I think there's a cultural association between maturity and tampons. I think I like them because of the idea of flushing them away. . . no one else would come in and see the pad in the garbage. Now that I'm using the Diva Cup, I can't see switching to anything else until I have another baby, and then I'll use postpartum mama cloth. . . so much softer!
post #15 of 31
I"m a tampon girl. I tried to stop using them for awhile, but pads leaked so bad. I jusy coudln't leave the house for a few days a month. I'd wear plastic uinderwear, and still leak onto clothes & bedding.

So I went back to tampons. (I still have to wear pads as back up, though.) I was soooo happy when tampax announced it was safe to wear tmapons overnight.

I HATED having to use pads for the 6 weeks after my daughter was born.

I started out with just pads,and then went to tampons. I knew a few girls who have never even tried tampons, and they are in thier 30's now. I think that's very odd.

When I was in my early teens, one topic of converations among my friends and I was tampons. It was like you were finally grown up once you moved on to tampons.
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post
But I've never been interested in trying the Divacup or Keeper or sponges, mostly I think because of my experience with tampons!
FWIW after the learning curve, I think that the reusable cups are easier than tampons (I used the Keeper for 11 years, now pp I have a UK moon cup). They aren't as rough on the walls of your vagina, and they don't have strings to worry about either. I think they're more comfortable, and don't have a problem getting them to stay in (although I have had that problem with tampons--more so when I was younger, but still). I did say "after the learning curve" though, because it does take a little practice, but many cups have a several month money back guarantee...
post #17 of 31
When I was seven years old, my fourteen old baby sitter died of Toxic Shock Syndrome. To this day, even looking at a tampon makes me sick to my stomach. :
post #18 of 31
I never thought that. Growing up, I was told by my Mom and aunt that pads are safer and the healthier way to go (due to TSS scares from before I was old enough to know about this stuff) but then, on my own, I decided to use tampons because they were easier, more convenient, I found them more comfortable, etc.

I thought the TSS scares were overblown and that tampons were perfectly safe since the super-dooper soakers were now off the market, and I was careful to use the lower absorbancy kind, replace them regularly, and use pads on lower-flow days.

Then I moved on to cloth pads and later to menstrual cups. I hope to get my girls to use cloth pads, but I do keep disposable pads and tampons in the house in case either ever wants to use them, or if a guest needs one, etc. Neither of my girls have gotten AF yet but they have plenty of friends!
post #19 of 31
I agree it's a cultural thing. Just as it was a cultural thing with my parents that "good girls" didn't use tampons and there was the TSS scares and just not putting things into your body ideals my family had (I tried anyhow...seriously could not get one in till after I married LOL!).

I'm now a cloth user...sposies caused way too many problems for my sensitivities...and Instead was just messy, uncomfortable, and didn't feel it was natural holding it all up in there.
post #20 of 31
I wore pads when I was much younger and just hated them sooooo much. I hated feeling like I was wearing a diaper, I hated being able to see it when I was wearing certain clothes...just hated it all around. I've worn tampons now for years and years and am just much happier with them. I can hardly feel it unless I placed it incorrectly, less messy, etc.
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