Cultural views of tampons vs pads - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 11-18-2007, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#2 of 31 Old 11-20-2007, 09:17 AM
 
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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?

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#3 of 31 Old 11-20-2007, 09:47 AM
 
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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!)
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#4 of 31 Old 11-23-2007, 06:06 PM
 
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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

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#5 of 31 Old 11-24-2007, 12:45 AM
 
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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.

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#6 of 31 Old 11-24-2007, 01:20 AM
 
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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.
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#7 of 31 Old 11-24-2007, 03:19 PM
 
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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.

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#8 of 31 Old 11-24-2007, 03:38 PM
 
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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!

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#9 of 31 Old 11-24-2007, 04:10 PM
 
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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.
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#10 of 31 Old 11-24-2007, 04:22 PM
 
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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.
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#11 of 31 Old 11-24-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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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!
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#12 of 31 Old 11-25-2007, 08:05 AM
 
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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

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#13 of 31 Old 11-25-2007, 04:27 PM
 
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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.

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#14 of 31 Old 11-25-2007, 05:20 PM
 
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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!
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#15 of 31 Old 11-25-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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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.
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#16 of 31 Old 11-27-2007, 03:57 PM
 
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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...

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#17 of 31 Old 11-27-2007, 04:08 PM
 
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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. :

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#18 of 31 Old 11-27-2007, 04:14 PM
 
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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!

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#19 of 31 Old 11-27-2007, 04:16 PM
 
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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.

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#20 of 31 Old 11-27-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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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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#21 of 31 Old 11-27-2007, 06:36 PM
 
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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.
: When I got off the pill, I stopped using tampons for a while, to get a better sense of what my periods were "like" in terms of light/heavy, and how "fresh" or "old" it seemed (sorry TMI) - especially when I had long, endless cycles. While pads are more "informative", I couldn't stand the "diaper" feeling. Then one night, I managed to leak through the pad, my underwear, my bottom sheet, my featherbed cover and featherbed - not a big mess, but small spot through all five layers :. At some point during the following afternoon of cold water rinses, bleaching and sunning all my bedding, I decided to go back to tampons.
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#22 of 31 Old 11-27-2007, 08:35 PM
 
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For me the issue was never cultural. It was the fact that my period was so heavy that I had to use both a tampon AND a pad. Still do. I wish I could use my diva cup but I just cannot get the postitioning right. Its been a long time too. I've really given it a good college try. I think I've given up. : (Sorry OT).
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#23 of 31 Old 11-30-2007, 11:13 PM
 
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Yeah, didn't read all replies, but agree with most I read. Tampons were for when you grew up. Then, I hated to wear them and also could never get them to stay up there. I used ultrathins and never notived that they got in my way or felt bulky. However, I now use cloth and won't be going back.
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#24 of 31 Old 12-01-2007, 10:19 PM
 
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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.
Yes this. I think it's something like, any eleven-year-old or whomever can use a pad, but it takes a certain sophistication/ maturity to successfully use a tampon! That was seemingly the attitude when I was a teen. Goodness knows I screwed up tampons the first few times... now I'd just rather not use them. I realized at some point that noone else really knows what you're using--unless they need to borrow something!

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#25 of 31 Old 12-02-2007, 08:36 PM
 
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I think this started partly from advertising and partly from culture. Wanna take a trip with me?

I once read this book called The Mercury 13 about the first women who trained as astronauts in the late 50s! At the time, it was hugely expensive to put men in space and there was this theory that women, being lighter and with greater lung capacity compared to weight would be a LOT cheaper to hoist into space - so they trained all these women who had been pilots in WW II. At the time, it was thought that women were too irrational and prone to outbursts during their periods to safely operate the plane controls. They had to be cleared by a doctor. BUT the younger women pilots soon learned from the older once that the answer to when did you last menstruate was that your cycles were HIGHLY IRREGULAR. No sense being grounded for something. So, it became very imporant to hide when you were menstruating less any mistake be blamed on your delicate emotional state.

I think it was this kind of thinking, capitalized by adverstisers that led to hiding menstruation. Ask your grandmothers about sitting out gym class when you had your period. There was a whole host of things - swimming, sports, flying, etc, that you weren't supposed do while menstruating.

I think it's fine for someone to take it easy around their flow days, meditate, get in touch with intuition, emotions, plan for changes, reflect etc, but no one wants that imposed from outside.

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#26 of 31 Old 12-03-2007, 02:11 AM
 
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I started straight off w/tampons at 11, and the super size at that. I did try pads later but with such a heavy flow, they all just got soaked so quickly and leaked blood on my pants...definitely not cool in 7th grade, and not so fun now either! Also, as a high performing athlete, tampons were far more usable than pads.
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#27 of 31 Old 12-03-2007, 02:58 AM
 
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Growing up, my mother taught me to use pads and thats what I did until my periods got so heavy I started using both (at the same time). To this day, I always wear both or I would bleed through my clothes in less than an hour.

I did "lose" a tampon once a couple years ago : and forgot it was "in" for a few days. Thank goodness I discovered it before it made me ill. I've been scared ever since, but that doesn't stop me due to my heavy periods.
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#28 of 31 Old 12-03-2007, 05:04 PM
 
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I started with pads, but then when I was 14 or so I traveled to India on a mission trip. My mom said I should try tampons because I might not get to shower every day and stuff like that (which was the case!). I used them for the trip and hated them. I went back to pads, then slowly started adding in cloth until I was all cloth. Last cycle I got a divacup and use cloth on the lighter days.

I think it is a cultural thing. As a sociology major one final from graduating (yay!) I found this thread really interesting!
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#29 of 31 Old 12-03-2007, 05:14 PM
 
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I never thought of it one way or the other.

I used to use tampons because I hated the way pads felt. Now I use a Diva Cup. I will never use pads. When I have to use them for lochia, it drives me nuts.

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#30 of 31 Old 12-06-2007, 02:32 PM
 
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I've always hated pads probably because my nose is so sensitive, I always felt like I could smell myself all day. After DS was born and lochia was over I couldn't use tampons. /they were painful, and just would not stay in. So pads were it until I found...(drumroll please!) sea sponges! Love them! Love them! Love them! And now I'm switching to cloth pads as backup. I feel more comfortable already!

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