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Camp Gyno: It's like Santa, for your vagina
July 30, 2013 9:19 AM   Subscribe

Advertising about menstruation has often emphasized the down side - the inconveniences that "feminine products" can save women from. They have also often focused on body-shaming - suggesting that ideally, no one should know you're even using them. Until now - a menstruation-related ad for HelloFlo, a company that sends tampons delivered to your door, regularly, when you need them. It is voiced and acted by a spunky young girl, who is not embarrassed but flamboyantly and splendidly proud of having her period.
posted by corb (117 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
And candy, you forgot the candy.
posted by jessamyn at 9:20 AM on July 30, 2013 [13 favorites]


This is engineered, focus-grouped "viral" marketing Pepsi Blue (not your post, just in general), but I'll be damned if it isn't Pepsi Blue I can't get behind.
posted by JauntyFedora at 9:29 AM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


NICE!
Make sure you and your daughter are prepared for her first period. Our Period Starter Kit comes with everything she'll need to get through that first cycle plus some extra gifts to ease the transition.

And because we know this is also a big change for you, we’ve included some tips to make sure your conversation goes smoothly. You want her to learn from you, so we've made it easy.
Each package contains

A handful of light and regular Tampax Pearl tampons
Enough Always pads and liners to get her through her first cycle
Get Ready Guide for Parents
Get Ready Guide for Girls
A cute canvas pouch for taking supplies on the go
A Do-it-yourself Feby Kit
Surprise Gifts and Goodies
OK, that's very, very cool. Good for them.
posted by zarq at 9:35 AM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have two sisters, and of course, a mother. Growing up, there were period contraptions of every variety imaginable in our house*, so it really wasn't that big a deal. I'd imagine it's the same for a lot of men in my generation, hopefully.

*although, as a toddler, my cousin Matt took two of his Mom's maxi-pads, stuck them on his feet, then said "Look, Mommy, I'm skiing!" He has two toddler sons now. Can't wait till they can get the joke.
posted by jonmc at 9:37 AM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I got excited when I saw this and thought, "Hey, a company solely focused on period-related products? Maybe they can reliably send me ob tampons!" But no, they are Tampax only. :(

Seriously, I have tried to order ob on a subscription basis several times, and the subscription always ends up being canceled because at some point, the tampons are unavailable. And it's not like there's another option for tampons without applicators—ob is it.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:41 AM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm all for anything that seeks to remove body-shaming from the lives of our youth. That said, why did it have to be tampons? Is it because a menstrual cup is too "icky"? Or is simply getting them used to using a wasteful, expensive product early on?
posted by explosion at 9:42 AM on July 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ocherdraco, naturacare and seventh generation make unbleached cotton applicator free that you can get at health food stores or whole foods
posted by brujita at 9:45 AM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


I have two sisters, and of course, a mother. Growing up, there were period contraptions of every variety imaginable in our house*, so it really wasn't that big a deal. I'd imagine it's the same for a lot of men in my generation, hopefully.

The fact that there were various menstrual products in your house as a kid doesn't really mean much when we're talking about how your kids are going to deal with it. I'm a single father of a young daughter. There are *no* menstrual products in my house at all, nor any particular reason for there to be, nor really any discussion of the subject. This might eventually make this harder to deal with (I've got some time, but still), but whether or not my mom left tampons around her house when IW as a kid is sort of irrelevant.

I'm all for anything that seeks to remove body-shaming from the lives of our youth. That said, why did it have to be tampons? Is it because a menstrual cup is too "icky"? Or is simply getting them used to using a wasteful, expensive product early on?

Start your own menstrual cup delivery service then. See if you get nearly enough subscribers to stay in business. Is it really that surprising to you that they'd start their service with the product that does the largest volume in sales?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:45 AM on July 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


whether or not my mom left tampons around her house when IW as a kid is sort of irrelevant.


I dunno. It does demystify the whole thing, which makes it easier to deal with, I guess. Just a thought.
posted by jonmc at 9:47 AM on July 30, 2013


I'm all for anything that seeks to remove body-shaming from the lives of our youth. That said, why did it have to be tampons? Is it because a menstrual cup is too "icky"? Or is simply getting them used to using a wasteful, expensive product early on?

Menstrual cups are more of a one-time investment, though (or, well, once a decade investment might be more accurate.) Not really something you can build a subscription service around.
posted by kagredon at 9:48 AM on July 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, most menstrual cups are kind of a one-or-two-every-decade thing, right? Excluding softcups, things like the Diva, the Keeper, etc. are all long-term. So I think the menstrual cup delivery service is called Amazon.com. (I say this as someone who is radically [professionally!] pro-vagina, pro-menstruation, who hasn't thought the word 'icky' since I was 5, and who has never been able to get a menstrual cup to work for me ever despite my best efforts.)
posted by c'mon sea legs at 9:48 AM on July 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


Can someone explain how it's "body-shaming" to recognize that some bodily functions, while natural, are pretty gross and not worth publicizing? I mean, someone who goes on and on about their periods or their dumps or their nose-blowing or whatever is generally considered a gross person, but how does that translate into body-shaming?
posted by kafziel at 9:49 AM on July 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


Jinx with kagredon!
posted by c'mon sea legs at 9:49 AM on July 30, 2013


explosion, I'm gonna guess it's because they needed brand sponsorship to get the idea off of the ground. And what would a brand naturally want to provide, if not their high-end, expensive lines?

Plus the central concept of "monthly subscription" sort of inherently clashes with reusable, long-lasting products (like the cup).

I liked the video, but as the owner of a silicone cup who has temporarily reverted to tampons, I kind of balked at their providing tampax Pearl (the CADILLAC of tampons)
posted by menialjoy at 9:49 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is hilarious.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:49 AM on July 30, 2013


Oops double jinx with sea legs and kagredon, I guess.
posted by menialjoy at 9:50 AM on July 30, 2013


Once upon a time, you could knit or crochet your own tampons. Now there's a lively camp craft for everybody!
posted by maudlin at 9:51 AM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


That said, why did it have to be tampons? Is it because a menstrual cup is too "icky"? Or is simply getting them used to using a wasteful, expensive product early on?

Not only would a monthly subscription to menstrual cups sounds like a terrifying addition to a kid's first period (I'm growing how many vaginas?), they're also not going to be any use to someone with an intact hymen. A mix of different things also including washable pads etc sounds more exciting, though, like an introduction to picking the best choices for your own body.

The ad is super cute.
posted by carbide at 9:53 AM on July 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


And while Always pads work extremely well, they are terrible, terrible, terrible for any woman or girl who may have sensitive skin. The plastic and fragrances are the WORST, I've had a vulvar skin specialist rant about how they should be illegal.

Natracare or similar for all! Or rather, I'd love to see kids started out on the gentler products, rather than assume that everything hurts because that's just the way periods are.
posted by lydhre at 9:54 AM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually, as someone whose period-managing product is currently Depo, it would be brilliant if there were an option to add on BC. Not currently feasible in the US (until we get over-the-counter, I guess), but brilliant.
posted by kagredon at 9:54 AM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Speaking as a Brit, I'm not sure "spunky" is really the word you want to use here.
posted by Paul Slade at 9:57 AM on July 30, 2013 [18 favorites]


c'mon sea legs: (I say this as someone who is radically [professionally!] pro-vagina, pro-menstruation, who hasn't thought the word 'icky' since I was 5, and who has never been able to get a menstrual cup to work for me ever despite my best efforts.)

Ditto, and I always felt* kind of guilty that they won't work for me, like they're the key to next-level menstruation. *Hail Mirena!
posted by carbide at 9:59 AM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can someone explain how it's "body-shaming" to recognize that some bodily functions, while natural, are pretty gross and not worth publicizing? I mean, someone who goes on and on about their periods or their dumps or their nose-blowing or whatever is generally considered a gross person, but how does that translate into body-shaming?

1) We aren't talking about "going on and on" about something. We're talking about being able to publicly and comfortably recognize the existence of menstruation, its attendant effects, and how they are handled.

2) Unlike bowel movements or nose blowing, menstruation only affects people with female bodies. That's a huge difference and has led to a lot of cultural baggage surrounding menstruation that other bodily functions don't have. For more, there are several cultural histories of menstruation that you might look into. The two that I'm most familiar with have the same title but are unrelated: The Curse and The Curse).

To give an example of how differently menstruation is treated than, e.g., using the bathroom: "women [are] more likely to tell their male colleagues about an affair than brazenly carry an unopened tampon down the hall to the bathroom." Going to the bathroom with the tampon "safely hidden" in a purse is okay. Then people would just think you were going to the bathroom (i.e. to engage in various bodily functions). But if it's clear that menstruation is involved, that's beyond the pale.

Similarly, one can blow one's nose in public with at most an "excuse me" and then dispose of the soiled tissue right in front of everyone. Or even use a handkerchief, which is then put right back in one's pocket or purse! But imagine a woman changing a pad or tampon in public or openly emptying a menstrual cup. It's almost unthinkable.
posted by jedicus at 10:04 AM on July 30, 2013 [26 favorites]


Yeah, speaking as someone who couldn't use tampons until I lost my virginity, I'm not sure how much good that "period starter kit" would've done me. I was way too embarrassed to ask my mom for help putting a tampon in. So if she had, with the best of intentions, set me up with a subscription service that brought me fresh tampons every month, I think it's quite likely that I would have used my allowance to keep buying pads, and squirreled away the useless tampons someplace secret, feeling terrible about my body all the while.

Of course, then once I actually got around to having sex and getting that troublesome hymen out of the way, suddenly I'd come into basically a lifetime supply of premium tampons! So I guess this story is only somewhat sad.
posted by town of cats at 10:05 AM on July 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


This is very cool. Reminds me of a babysitter my ex and I once used to hire, and might help answer kafziel's question.

We used to hire this babysitter whose parents were originally from Sri Lanka. She was really sweet, and eager to show she could do a job well despite her being as young as she was. One day, she gave us an invitation to a party from her parents. It was to take place at this hall you can rent, and the dress was formal. We were flattered, but more so when we learned that the occasion was that the girl had had her first period, and the family was inviting her friends and relations to celebrate her entrance to womanhood.

I thought this was the coolest thing. I mean, I remember when my sister first got her period, she was frankly mortified. And both our mom and our aunt treated the matter as if it were something indelicate that is just not discussed in polite company.

Why is this? No, I don't think it's because menstruation is like talking about snotty tissues or the monster dump you took this morning. I think there's a particular kind of shaming associated with menstruation. You notice, for example, that implying a woman is menstruating is another way to imply she's being overly sensitive, irrational, unstable, and a host of other negative stereotypes about the emotional composition of women.

So, celebrating menstruation happening - even if you can't rent out a banquet hall to do so - is something I'm totally down with.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:06 AM on July 30, 2013 [27 favorites]


Similarly, one can blow one's nose in public with at most an "excuse me" and then dispose of the soiled tissue right in front of everyone. Or even use a handkerchief, which is then put right back in one's pocket or purse! But imagine a woman changing a pad or tampon in public or openly emptying a menstrual cup. It's almost unthinkable.

Yeah. I think a really great comparison is: it's blood, right? If you cut yourself at work, you can go get a bandage from the first aid kid, or a bandaid if it's not bad. People might think blood is mildly distasteful, but they're not going to be horrified you're doing it in public. If you do it in private, you can tell people "I just got hurt, it bled a lot." But it is considered unspeakable to say "I just got my period, it was a really heavy flow." Because this blood, unlike other blood, comes from a dirty place. Or at least so some people think.
posted by corb at 10:08 AM on July 30, 2013 [22 favorites]


It took me nearly two full boxes of tampons to get those to work when I was a teenager. I cannot imagine the trouble I might have had with cups. I've tried them, and they're not for me because I too often had to change them in public restrooms, which involved a lot of inconvenience. It wasn't that it was in semi-public, it was the going to the bathroom, then getting dressed again and hoping I wouldn't leak or using toilet paper or something and then washing the cup and then getting back in line for the toilet. I probably would have gotten used to the sensation as I did with tampons.

What was odd was in my all-girls high school, some of the girls were mortified if you asked for a tampon out loud (many of them just used pads). We all get our periods! It's ok!
posted by jeather at 10:09 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


That said, why did it have to be tampons? Is it because a menstrual cup is too "icky"?

I would use a cup if there was a strictly enforced federal law mandating a constant supply of hand soap in every restroom in the US. I'm not going to put my nasty hands (anything you touch in nyc has been touched by 1 billion people moments ago all of whom have never once washed their hands after wiping their asses, it is scientific fact) anywhere near sensitive bits without washing them first.

No, I'm not interested in carrying hand soap in my purse. Sometimes I don't even carry a purse. No, I don't want to use hand sanitizer, my lady parts react badly to even trace amounts of that stuff. No, I don't want to invent a tiny robot that does it all for me (blatant lie, that would be rad).
posted by elizardbits at 10:11 AM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


The AdSense served up on this or me before logging in to comment was for Toenail Fungus Treatment and Erectile Dysfunction. I'm not sure what that says, but they struck me as ... less than ideal.
posted by cj_ at 10:20 AM on July 30, 2013


I read an article about several of these services a few months ago and seriously considered doing one of them. I decided I would rather pick my own period pampering for as long as I need to.

(Also, ob is available on one service linked from that article and naturacare is on another, with all the caveats about ob mentioned above.)
posted by immlass at 10:21 AM on July 30, 2013


No, I don't want to invent a tiny robot that does it all for me (blatant lie, that would be rad).

CUPBOT 3000 ENGAGING. PLEASE STAND BY. DO NOT MAKE ANY SUDDEN MOVEMENTS WHILE CUPBOT 3000 IS IN OPERATION. WAIT FOR THE EXTRACTION COMPLETION ALERT.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:23 AM on July 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


So what's new? In 1971 most of the girls in my high school class received an introductory package with tampons and pads from Tampex. Included was a booklet of instructions for use, coupons, and a card with a purple flower that said something cutsie about welcoming us to womenhood.

Granted, it came in a brown paper parcel, there was a plastic holder to disguise the two tampons you could carry in your purse, and some comments about privacy, but it was pretty up front. I spent one afternoon walking one of the shy girls through how to insert the damn things, since the clinical diagrams weren't all that clear unless you already knew what you were doing. Unfortunately, by 1971 most of my age cohort had begun our periods several years prior. Cups hadn't been invented then. Most of us thought it was something to be kept private (like the condition of your bowels) but it was just what happened every month, and another PITA, like shaving our legs. Yes, we were mortified as teens when we visibly spotted, but we'd have been mortified if we peed our pants, too. Adolescence was a constant state of mortification anyway.

But I agree with 'lizardbits---public bathrooms could certainly be set up better for women's needs.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:24 AM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was trying to imagine what an applicator for a diva cup would look like and I felt really clever for having thought up a new and noteworthy solution until I realized that the thing I was picturing was basically a tiny toilet plunger.
posted by elizardbits at 10:34 AM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't change my DivaCup in public restrooms. That's one thing I like about it, I can usually wear it long enough that I don't have to.

And I don't know about the rest of you, but the blood that comes out of me the first couple of days isn't at all like the blood from a cut finger. I don't think it's disempowering to not want to share that with the world.
posted by girlmightlive at 10:35 AM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Similarly, one can blow one's nose in public with at most an "excuse me" and then dispose of the soiled tissue right in front of everyone. Or even use a handkerchief, which is then put right back in one's pocket or purse! But imagine a woman changing a pad or tampon in public or openly emptying a menstrual cup. It's almost unthinkable.

Yeah, but I don't blow blood out of my nose, generally. I am a body-positive person, but blood is blood and it's messy to deal with, will stain clothes, and can make your bathroom resemble a murder scene. It doesn't have to be shame-filled but it's not in the same league as blowing your nose, fer cryin out loud.
posted by emjaybee at 10:35 AM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would have loved it. When I got my period, I got "there are things in the cabinet," referring to whatever stuff my mom already had in her bathroom. No other discussin at all. It was forever before I felt brave enough to actually ask for something better suited to my 13-year-old needs.
posted by bizzyb at 10:36 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


So what's new? In 1971 most of the girls in my high school class received an introductory package with tampons and pads from Tampex.

I lived in a major city in the mid-1980s, and had parents that were big on talking about stuff. I still spent three months shamefully shoving toilet paper in my pants when I started my period because I started earlier than most of my friends and I was terrified to tell anyone much less actually consider what hygiene products I wanted to use.

So for what it's worth, a service like this would have been great for me! Also the commercial is amazing.
posted by jess at 10:39 AM on July 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Can someone explain how it's "body-shaming" to recognize that some bodily functions, while natural, are pretty gross and not worth publicizing? I mean, someone who goes on and on about their periods or their dumps or their nose-blowing or whatever is generally considered a gross person, but how does that translate into body-shaming?


On preview, two people have explained the body-shaming better than I was gonna, so there's just one thing I want to ad:

There is a knock-on effect that people, esp young people feel unable to seek out information that directly affects their health and well being. They don't find out what is/isn't "normal" about body functions, when something is working okay, when it's not, and how they can manage it. At least, not until much later.

This is a bigger problem with young girls and periods, because they don't get information about what their bodies are doing and how to manage it without feeling gross and icky and embarrassed about asking peers and adults with firsthand experience who could/should be able to help. And if it's embarrassing, a lot of young girls just won't ask. So lots of girls go through a lot of pain and worry about their bodies that is just...needless.

(Ex: I didn't know how to properly use a tampon, in spite of reading the instructions that came in my 'hooray for puberty!' kit (they always leave out a few details...) I didn't feel like there was anybody I could really ask or talk to about it because "EW GROSS PERIODS". I hurt myself badly enough that I wouldn't go near the things for ten years.)
posted by menialjoy at 10:40 AM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I was a kid my mom said, "you'll be getting your period soon. This is what a pad is like."She showed me how to put it on and I wore it around a bit to see what it was like. I'm really glad she did that.
posted by girlmightlive at 10:40 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't change my DivaCup in public restrooms. That's one thing I like about it, I can usually wear it long enough that I don't have to.

And if that works for you, that's awesome. But it doesn't work for me, and I'm not ashamed of my love for plastic applicators.
posted by jeather at 10:41 AM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


It doesn't have to be shame-filled but it's not in the same league as blowing your nose, fer cryin out loud.

Yeah, it's a pretty bad example. My nose is out in the open all day long for everyone to see. My lady parts are not. Of course changing a tampon in public would be weird, just as any pastime involving randomly exposing one's genitals in public would be.
posted by elizardbits at 10:42 AM on July 30, 2013


Dave Foley has something to say about this topic.
Thanks, Kids in the Hall for being ahead of the curve!
posted by LEGO Damashii at 10:43 AM on July 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


About an hour ago I was feeling guilty for planning on using disposable diapers on a child that I may or may not have some day.

Now I feel guilty about not using the right kind of feminine hygiene products.

God - we women just can't win, can we?
posted by elvissa at 10:43 AM on July 30, 2013 [26 favorites]


if anyone needs me i will be sitting in the shame hut eating doritos
posted by elizardbits at 10:44 AM on July 30, 2013 [33 favorites]


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing : CUPBOT 3000 ENGAGING. PLEASE STAND BY. DO NOT MAKE ANY SUDDEN MOVEMENTS WHILE CUPBOT 3000 IS IN OPERATION. WAIT FOR THE EXTRACTION COMPLETION ALERT.

TwatBot & Womba are much quieter and a better value.
posted by dr_dank at 10:45 AM on July 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


elvissa: My environmentally superior yet fussy cup sits in a drawer, because my PLANET SHAME doesn't exceed my desire not to boil it in my parent's pots and pans.

elizardbits: you'd better be eating the right flavor...*


*please note: should the flavor of your choice match our current Correct Flavor, Correct Flavor will change at the time of your answer.
posted by menialjoy at 10:48 AM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


You joke about a Woomba but if there was some kind of microscopic hematophage which evolved to have a symbiotic relationship with human females I would totally let one take up residence in my uterus.
posted by elizardbits at 10:49 AM on July 30, 2013 [13 favorites]


wait no because it would still have to excrete something, right

ugh i have not given this enough thought
posted by elizardbits at 10:49 AM on July 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


I was really excited when I saw this--I can't imagine being a little girl surrounded by peers and being that unafraid to talk about her vadge! Mestruation! For that alone, I really liked this. I would have been horrified to say those things out loud. And now I'm mortified that I was mortified.
posted by chatongriffes at 10:49 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not ashamed of my love for plastic applicators.

I wasn't implying you should be ashamed. I use pads, tampons and cups interchangeably, no shame here or anywhere.
posted by girlmightlive at 10:49 AM on July 30, 2013


i don't know if it's so much body shaming as just shame.

i was raised by my grandmother and anything involving bodies was GROSS to her. she could barely say "bra" and acted like it was super gross to have boobs.

so i had my period for a YEAR before she found out. because we were at the doctor and the doctor was asking me questions that my grandmother was answering for me, as per usual, until we got to have "have you been menstruating?" and i said yes and my grandmother said no. i had been buying pads with my allowance and my money from bussing at restaurant under the table. and since i was in charge of cleaning the bathroom (which was kinda mine since no else used that one), no ever noticed the trash.

the doctor looked from me to my horrified grandmother and said "i'll give you two a moment."

my grandmother's response wasn't "oh sweeite, why didn't you tell me?" it was "how dare you embarass me by saying such a thing in public", seemingly not to care that it was a DOCTOR we were talking to, a female doctor on top of it, which i think is the only reason i said "yes."

so. and i'm only 34 so it's not like this happened in 1952 or something. this happened in 1994. she and i never spoke of it again. i'm not kidding.
posted by sio42 at 10:52 AM on July 30, 2013 [19 favorites]


who is not embarrassed but flamboyantly and splendidly proud of having her period.

This reminds me of when I could not WAIT to start my periods, mainly because I was obsessed by 'Are you there God? It's me, Margaret.' My friends and I used to talk about 'getting it' a lot as I remember. When I finally got mine my best friend took me to the shop and bought me sweets to celebrate (which is a memory I love, because what better way to celebrate your long-awaited womanhood than buying 50p worth of gummy cola bottles?) Now I'm sad that I barely register it each month. Maybe next month I'll have a little period party where I eat cola bottles once more and sip gin from a Mooncup...
posted by billiebee at 10:56 AM on July 30, 2013 [10 favorites]


I saw this yesterday and considered posting it. Pretty neat idea, though, yeah, I'm a cup person myself. Though I find marketing tampons to 12 year olds pretty weird, but that might just be because I could never figure out how to successfully insert one until I was about 18. For what it's worth, I don't find emptying my cup in public bathrooms any messier than pulling out a tampon--I just use TP to clean off--but everyone's body is a unique and special snowflake. I definitely wouldn't have been able to insert one at 12 if I couldn't get an OB to work.

(My big, exciting plan if I ever have daughters is 1. Celebrating "Women's Day" a la the Cosby Show when Aunt Flo comes to visit 2. Getting them a stock of black panties. Seriously, that one took me until my mid twenties to figure out but made my life immediately better.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:57 AM on July 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, it's a pretty bad example.

It's the example the earlier commenter used, so I went with it.

If blood is the key element, then compare how we handle spontaneous bloody noses or (as mentioned earlier) minor cuts. It's something to be cleaned up and dealt with, since nobody wants stained clothes, to bleed unnecessarily, or to risk transmission of disease, but it's typically handled in a straightforward way. It's not mortifying the way the merest indication (much less overt mention) of menstruation can be. And people generally feel free to publicly discuss methods for handling bloody noses and minor cuts. Compare that to a public discussion of tampons, pads, cups, flow levels, cramps, etc.

Of course changing a tampon in public would be weird, just as any pastime involving randomly exposing one's genitals in public would be.

I was assuming the use of a skirt (being a man I'll admit that may be mechanically implausible, I don't know), but even taking out a fresh tampon in public, changing it privately, and disposing of the used one in a public trash receptacle would be unthinkable. All very different than using a tissue or bandage.
posted by jedicus at 10:59 AM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Celebrating "Women's Day" a la the Cosby Show

Wow, thanks for reminding me of this. I still remember Cliff being bemused that Rudy wouldn't talk to him about her period even though he's a gynecologist.
posted by girlmightlive at 10:59 AM on July 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


sio42 - my experience getting my period was very similar. I'm 33 and my mom still can't say the word bra. We spell out B-R-A. Seriously.

I had my period for several months before my mom found out, and she left a book under my pillow. That was the extent of our discussion.

I remember going through an entire box of cardboard applicator tampax trying to figure out how to use them when I was 13. I was desperate because I was in a ballet recital where my costume was basically a light blue satin bikini with see-through harem pants. Whoever picks that kind of costumes for 13 year old girls is insane.

I would have loved to get something like this when I was first getting my period. I think anything that we can do to make the entire experience of puberty less painful and embarrassing is fantastic.

The commercial is hilarious too.
posted by elvissa at 11:00 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


As I have no lady parts, I can't contribute to the discussion regarding menstruation collections devices (accessories? utensils?) other than my partner digs on the DivaCup.
I have a slight addition to Marisa Stole the Precious Thing's story: a college friend is from Sri Lanka, and she also had a 'Welcome to Womanhood' party. The only difference was that as soon as she arrived, her grandmother slapped the HELL out of her, then gave her a huge kiss on each cheek. She finished the ceremony off with, "Welcome to womanhood."
Take from that what you will.
Lastly, the loud-hailer section of the commercial had me giggling.
posted by mfu at 11:03 AM on July 30, 2013


I wasn't implying you should be ashamed.

No, not you, but there's a lot of SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT YOU DON'T NEED PLASTIC APPLICATORS YOU WASTEFUL WOMAN stuff around and you know, they just feel better and I like them.

I was assuming the use of a skirt (being a man I'll admit that may be mechanically implausible, I don't know), but even taking out a fresh tampon in public, changing it privately, and disposing of the used one in a public trash receptacle would be unthinkable

Yes, because I cannot imagine any way to do that which isn't messy -- especially at the beginning of my period -- and also doesn't flash everyone.
posted by jeather at 11:10 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was assuming the use of a skirt...

What? What are you even talking about it? People don't change underwear in public in Western societies and you're talking about the awfulness of not allowing women to change their tampon/diva cup/whatever in public? I don't understand how that even makes sense in the large context of various issues society has with women having periods.

whether or not my mom left tampons around her house when IW as a kid is sort of irrelevant.

Nah, my family is mostly females and the number of conversations I've heard about periods and what not as I was growing up has rendered me pretty 'meh' about vaginas, menses and whatever. "Oh you're you're period? Whatever. Tell me what you think of the series finale of Battlestar Galatica, then I'll judge your worth as a human being."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:11 AM on July 30, 2013


Once upon a time, you could knit or crochet your own tampons. Now there's a lively camp craft for everybody!
posted by maudlin at 12:51 PM on July 30


And now I know what I can sell on Etsy.
posted by magstheaxe at 11:14 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


If I cut myself or suddenly get a bloody nose at work, I can ask people for a tissue or a band-aid without embarrassment. In fact, my coworkers would quickly offer the tissues or band-aids because they would see I was in need. They would care about my well-being.

If my period surprises me at work and I have no tampons on hand, I would never ask a coworker for a tampon. Even though I am surrounded by women at work, I would never ask. Our restrooms do not have vending machines in them, and certainly no free supplies. So I would have to run out to a nearby market to pick them up. And I would be mortified if anyone found out about it.
posted by aabbbiee at 11:17 AM on July 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


our black lab would take the menstrual blood panties from where they were soaking in cold water in the sink and tossed them about proudly, like a flag

me, i wasn't so proud, so i guess yay for this
posted by angrycat at 11:19 AM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


What? What are you even talking about it?

I was explaining why in the hypothetical public tampon-changing nudity wasn't necessarily involved, making it perhaps a fairer comparison to nose-blowing. My apologies if that wasn't clear in context.

People don't change underwear in public in Western societies and you're talking about the awfulness of not allowing women to change their tampon/diva cup/whatever in public? I don't understand how that even makes sense in the large context of various issues society has with women having periods.

I did not say it was awful. I said (paraphrasing) that there are many bodily functions that we engage in publicly without much thought, some of which involve the disposal of bodily fluids, yet it is almost unthinkable that someone would do the same with a tampon, pad, or menstrual cup. My point was the tremendous disparity between these other functions (originally used as examples by another commenter) and menstruation, in order to illustrate that menstruation is treated qualitatively differently in nearly all societies. And the burden of that difference falls almost exclusively on women.
posted by jedicus at 11:24 AM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nah, my family is mostly females and the number of conversations I've heard about periods and what not as I was growing up has rendered me pretty 'meh' about vaginas, menses and whatever.

Because you are comfortable with your 13-year-old daughter coming to you to talk about this does not imply that your 13-year-old daughter will also be comfortable with that idea.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:37 AM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Even though I am surrounded by women at work, I would never ask. Our restrooms do not have vending machines in them, and certainly no free supplies.

Once upon a time I worked at a biotech company that provided FREE TAMPONS in the ladies' rooms.

I still have a warm spot in my heart for that company, even though they laid my ass off twelve years ago.
posted by ambrosia at 11:54 AM on July 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


Will the ob-providing service also ship, say, quarterly to BMW airhead motorcycle owners? The yellow "large"'size is perfect for wedging between the frame and the oil sump to catch flow from leaky pushrod tube seals. The blue string hanging down (who wants to squeeze an oily roadgritty wad, ewww) add a certain something to one's vintage bike, too. Dropping a baggie full of used ones at the oil recycler is also kinda entertaining.
Now, tell me again how women aren't natural mechanics?
posted by Dreidl at 12:04 PM on July 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Period shaming? Seriously? What if I just really don't want the entire world to know that I have my period? It's not because it may be embarrassing (which it isn't), it's because in this world of the chronic social overshare via Instagram and Twitter, there are just some things that I don't feel like sharing, either by openly carrying my bright green feminine products around the office or having a giant HelloFlo box delivered to my front door.
posted by tafetta, darling! at 12:05 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


What if I just really don't want the entire world to know that I have my period?

Then you don't have to tell anyone.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:10 PM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of an exchange with a male coworker a few months ago, while rushing to the bathroom.

"What's wrong?"
"Nothing. Just bleeding."
"I can get a bandage for you."
"Thanks, bit that won't help."
"Are you sure?"
"Oh, oh yes. I'm sure."
"So, where are you bleeding?"
"Uh, internally. It's OK! Honest!"

I wasn't about to tell the VP, dude - it's my period!
posted by spinifex23 at 12:16 PM on July 30, 2013


My husband and I own a specialty retail store with an overwhelmingly male clientele. Even though I don't have periods anymore (thanks, Mirena!) I keep a stash of pads and tampons under the sink in the bathroom. Every now and then I check the supply and one or two pieces will be missing. It makes me happy that I helped someone out.

I also note that nobody has ever thanked me for keeping supplies available, or even mentioned it to me. There is most definitely shame associated with menstruation. We get thanks all the time for keeping hand cleaner, band-aids and dry skin lotion in the bathroom.
posted by workerant at 12:22 PM on July 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Allow ME to thank you. Emergency tampons are such an important thing, I am always happy when I either see a dispenser or someone has stocked them under the sink. Just in case.
posted by corb at 12:48 PM on July 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


I have successfully eliminated the need for this (thanks, Mirena), but this is such a cool ad anyway.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:51 PM on July 30, 2013


I tell you truly, I hate blowing my nose in public and I don't much like when others do it. It's gross! Ditto for brushing hair or clipping nails. Gross, gross, gross!!!
posted by windykites at 2:10 PM on July 30, 2013


Also period blood is grosser than normal blood because of the lovely clumps of tissue it comes with. Augh.

You know what else is a publicly unacceptable body fluid thing? Hoarking. Spitting in public is really unacceptable, though people do it it's very frowned upon, and that's not gender-specific at all.
posted by windykites at 2:14 PM on July 30, 2013


One more thing, I have both asked for and been asked for pad/tampons with coworkers, schoolmates I didn't like, even strangers, and I never felt like it was weird, we just did "the exchange" furtively.
posted by windykites at 2:19 PM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


girlmightlive: "
And I don't know about the rest of you, but the blood that comes out of me the first couple of days isn't at all like the blood from a cut finger. I don't think it's disempowering to not want to share that with the world.
"

The key point is WANTing. If you want to keep it private, that's great! Good for you! But we should live in a world where it's okay for a woman to say at work, "Ugh, I'm just not feeling great today, it's the first day of my period" in the same casual fashion someone might say, "My sinuses are really clogged from the change in the weather, I have the worst headache." And everyone would go, "Oh, yeah, sorry, that sucks" instead of greeting the later with sympathy and the former with shocked silence that we're talking about periods.

Personally I am fairly body-private and would not want to discuss my period with work colleagues regardless, but it'd be good that that was my CHOICE not to discuss it, not the work of a social taboo.

Also, I just think it's a good thing for teen and pre-teen girls if we can encourage more casual, social openness about menstruation -- not something we need to talk about a lot, just something that doesn't have so much taboo surrounding it. It would be good if they could go to a trusted adult, MALE OR FEMALE, with a minimum of awkwardness, and say to one of the dads chaperoning the volleyball tournament trip, "Hey, Mr. Smith, do you have any pads?" And trust that Mr. Smith would either have a couple in his bag because he's got a teenaged daughter too, or that Mr. Smith would say, "Let me run over to the drug store and pick up a package, I'll be back in five minutes." And it would just be a normal part of parenting teenagers, not something weird and awkward.

I worked in an open-plan office that was some days all women and some days mixed, and when it was all-women, colleagues and students would stick their heads in all the time and say, "Does anyone have a tampon?" When men were in there, people would stick their heads in, blush, and retreat. It'd be nice if they could still ask a group for tampons when men were there.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:28 PM on July 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


Period shaming? Seriously? What if I just really don't want the entire world to know that I have my period?

There's a happy medium between hiring an airplane to skywrite the arrival of your period above Miami Beach, and just not being ashamed.

A girl can be menstruating for one week out of every four. That's a hell of a lot of her lifetime to be feeling that her body is gross and that she needs to hide what it's doing. And the odds are that at some point it will be in her best interest to talk about her period: when she is having abnormal periods, when it starts unexpectedly at a friend's house, when she needs an extra bathroom break, or whatever...

And it is not qualitatively the same shame associated with other bodily functions like pissing or shitting, either. To put it in perspective, I have spent the last three months in a third world country where diarrhea is a frequent ailment. It is still far easier to talk about having diarrhea with my housemates than it is to talk about my period. No, we don't talk about the exact details, but there is little difficulty in saying "no I don't want to go out today because I have diarrhea." I would have a lot harder time saying "no I don't want to go out today because I'm experiencing heavy flow."

I was raised by a parent who treated periods pretty matter-of-factly. Yet, I have difficulty bringing it up even when it's relevant, both because of internal shame and because I'm not sure how it will be received.

So even if I find the idea of being proud of your period a little weird, I'm all for things that combat the shame.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:43 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my god I would never, ever say "I have diarrhea". Augh, people don't need to know that. People don't want to know about that!
posted by windykites at 2:51 PM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Augh, people don't need to know that. People don't want to know about that!

As with many things, this is culturally determined. You have made it clear how you feel.
posted by jessamyn at 2:54 PM on July 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


So I recently flew a couple of times on Alaska Airlines, and the one teensy bathroom on the plane did not have a sink to wash up after. Just a bottle of hand sanitizer.

I looked at that, and thought to myself, "that decision, that was made by a man."

Between menstrual fluid and changing poopy diapers, there are lots of times that hand sanitizer alone just does not cut it.
posted by ambrosia at 3:07 PM on July 30, 2013 [12 favorites]


And it would just be a normal part of parenting teenagers, not something weird and awkward.

I think this is the crux of the issue. I'm actually a bit disturbed that so many women in this thread have said their mothers did not at all prepare them for menstruation, that they went months without them even knowing.

It is absolutely the parents' job to prepare their young daughters for this, and it's also their job to teach them they should carry products with them.

(These sorts of revelations make me even more grateful that I have the mom I do, that I was in Girls Scouts and went to an all-girls school.)

But we should live in a world where it's okay for a woman to say at work, "Ugh, I'm just not feeling great today, it's the first day of my period" in the same casual fashion someone might say, "My sinuses are really clogged from the change in the weather, I have the worst headache."

And this is where I disagree. Would this be a Nice Thing, I suppose. It is a social taboo, but not all social taboos are harmful.

But, in terms of young girls, it is harmful for them if they have to go a long time being unaware of what's going on before it happens. To me, that's the real issue. That seems more probable to me than a woman working in an office feeling insecure about her period.
posted by girlmightlive at 3:08 PM on July 30, 2013


Oh my god I would never, ever say "I have diarrhea"

You get over that pretty quickly when it's something that you are likely to come down with at least every month or so. It's a lot of work to actually hide that you are having diarrhea from your housemates. The frequent bathroom breaks, the increase in toilet tissue use, the need to cancel plans because you aren't feeling well...

Of course, one could say something like "I'm having stomach troubles" instead of "I have diarrhea"; it's a polite euphemism but means the same thing. You can tell people you're having diarrhea without using the actual word.

I can't think of any polite euphemisms for "I'm having my period."

But, in terms of young girls, it is harmful for them if they have to go a long time being unaware of what's going on before it happens. To me, that's the real issue. That seems more probable to me than a woman working in an office feeling insecure about her period.

You don't see them as related as all? Because girls are unaware, or keep it hidden, because people are too ashamed to talk about it.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:46 PM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh my god I would never, ever say "I have diarrhea"


Years ago mr. ambrosia was doing medical research in the favelas in northeastern Brazil, and it got to the point that he and his fellow research-project mates would high-five each other "I had a formed stool! Woo-hoo!" Because diarrhea was the default state. So this is obviously a matter of culture and custom.
posted by ambrosia at 3:56 PM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am actually surprised by the number of women in this thread who are ashamed or embarrassed to ask coworkers for tampons. That sucks and I am sorry. If necessary, I ask without qualms and so does everyone else I know. I've given and received tampons in public bathrooms - with friends and strangers - since I was in my teens. Huh. I will say I was a bit taken aback when a box of tampons appeared in our first aid box at work, which is an open plastic bin right there under the counter viewable by everyone but then I thought, hell, why is this bothering me, we're all grownups and I am very glad actually to know it is there. No, I'm not going to lean over to one of my male coworkers and say, "Cramps," and sigh, the way I will with my female coworkers but I think that's okay. Presumably guys have similar bonding things. Don't tell me. It is forbidden.

I was furious when my mother told me she had told my father that I got my first period. I really honestly kind of believed that only women knew about it; that men must never, ever be initiated into this mystery. Possibly this came from the girls only class about periods and my mid 70s girls only Welcome to Puberty box which included a few napkins and a dated brochure from the 60s with line drawings of impossible girls with beehive hair and, of all things, a razor. It was an embarrassing box but I was glad it existed.

My mother prepared me for menstruation by bursting into tears and telling me that her mother called it the curse but she would never do that to me. "It's not a curse really but oh, darling, I'm so sorry, here you have the curse and are growing up and it is just all so awful."
"What curse?" I said, and she said, "The curse God put on Eve." I never really felt the same about God after that, I mean, that's some petty evil bullshit right there.
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:09 PM on July 30, 2013 [11 favorites]


Ugh, how could they forget to put in a DVD of the "Blossom Gets Her Period" episode. It's,like, the most important thing. Blossom's dad and brothers take her out to dinner in celebration.
posted by discopolo at 4:23 PM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Because you are comfortable with your 13-year-old daughter coming to you to talk about this does not imply that your 13-year-old daughter will also be comfortable with that idea.

I was not comfortable revealing it to my mom even. She trapped me in the car to have the talk about menstruation and the tone she used made me feel really embarrassed about the topic. So when I had my first one, I didn't tell her. I did reveal it to my doctor during my annual checkup, who, in turn, told my mom, who got angry I didn't tell her directly and lectured me about it endlessly. We were a majority female household, but I didn't get along with my condescending older sister and my mom made everything embarrassing.

Luckily, Judy Blume really helped out even those those belt things were outdated. Thanks, Judy.
posted by discopolo at 4:29 PM on July 30, 2013


OMG, I think I have the anecdote to end all anecdotes about the perceived ickiness of menstrual blood.

For a few years I taught intro forensic science, and the class was as you might expect packed with eager-eyed lookey-lous who were captivated by CSI and True Crime novels and all that shit. So exciting to actually learn about fingerprinting! Ballistics! The Medical Examiner's office! Real life case photos of dismembered murder/rape victims! It made me kinda sick, actually.

Anyway, blood. The course dealt with blood a lot. Blood spatter patterns. Testing for the presence of blood. The history of biological approaches to individualization, starting with blood typing and then on to DNA fingerprinting.

The thing that surprised them, though, is that blood (at least in small quantities) has only modest evidentiary value. Why? Because there's a lot of blood in the world. People cut themselves shaving, scratch mosquito bites, whatever, and a little blood gets on the sheets, whatever, it's no big deal.

And then I say, "And of course, a quarter of all women of childbearing age are bleeding at any given time, because they're menstruating."

Inevitably, this elicits a disgusted groan rises from the classroom--by far, the most visceral and loud response of the course to date, and that includes many completely gnarly crime scene photos and frank discussion of many gross examples of man's inhumanity to man.

Theft, arson, assault, rape, murder? Got NOTHIN on the ickiness of menstruation.

What a big bunch of babies.
posted by Sublimity at 4:43 PM on July 30, 2013 [23 favorites]


Judy Blume has updated Are You there God It's Me Margaret with stick on pads. She also anonymously wrote a booklet for Modess in the early 70's( despite needling similar in Aytgimm).
posted by brujita at 4:54 PM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I say it's that time of the month to be polite....though I was delighted to find The Sterilles " On the Rag" on a Rodney on the Roq tumblr.
posted by brujita at 4:57 PM on July 30, 2013


I'm fond of "shark week", though I suspect it was probably initially meant to be insulting.
posted by kagredon at 4:59 PM on July 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Not long after I had first moved out after college, I had my parents in to visit me and see my nice new place. In the bathroom, as it happened, I kept a small glass jar of tampons on the back of the toilet tank. It was a perfectly plain little jar, with perfectly clean generic tampons, the kind with the floral print on the wrapper. They sat there the same way that the toilet paper and the Kleenex box does, not any more or less conspicuous.

At one point, after my parents had been inside and had used my restroom, my mother pulled me aside, and said: "Those tampons. On the back of the toilet, honey. Your daddy was really embarrassed."

My father, mind you, is a man who proudly repeats the story about the time he took an emergency green-chile-cheeseburger dump in a remote New Mexico gas station that cleared out the entire building. But he asked my mother to have a word with me about the tampons, and she agreed it was necessary to do it.

I actually come from an instructive, supportive, nonsexist family, at that. I hate to think what it was like for anyone that didn't.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:26 PM on July 30, 2013 [13 favorites]


Judy Blume has updated Are You there God It's Me Margaret with stick on pads. She also anonymously wrote a booklet for Modess in the early 70's( despite needling similar in Aytgimm).


That is wonderful! Hope someday there's need to update it to cups!
posted by discopolo at 5:40 PM on July 30, 2013


My parents were kind of in my face about private things, I think as either some kind of "look at us, we are such great parents" or possibly "WE OWN EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU" - either is entirely possible. I know as a girl I didn't want to discuss periods with my father, but my mum did explain to me a year or so before I started what was up with that. In a clear and helpful way too, as I recall, which was better than her masturbation talk ("It's not bad to, but don't do it too much")(Yeah, way too late on that one, mum.) In the end, I felt like a goddess when I finally got my period. But it's possible to go too far with period honouring, I was once invited to a "party" for a girl who'd started hers, and it was pretty embarrassing, even for pro-period, asks-for-tampons-in-public me.

Workerant: I wonder if people aren't possibly also not mentioning it because they are secretly worried they stole them, assuming a supply put there belongs to one specific woman.
posted by Kaleidoscope at 6:00 PM on July 30, 2013


mygothlaundry: " I was a bit taken aback when a box of tampons appeared in our first aid box at work"

It is possible they are included not only for menstrual use, but also for their generally excellent blood staunching abilities, among other uses.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:42 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Laurie Anderson sings about menstruation in "Beautiful Red Dress".

I've got a beatiful red dress
and you'd look really good
standing beside it.
I've got a little jug of red sangria wine
and we could take little sips
from time to time.
I've got some bright red drop dead lips,
I've got a little red car
and mechanical hips.
I've got a hundred and five fever,
So watch out baby,
I'm at high tide.

posted by five fresh fish at 7:21 PM on July 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


If my period surprises me at work and I have no tampons on hand, I would never ask a coworker for a tampon.

You should! I have had to do this more than once, and I've never had anyone be anything but sympathetic and helpful. Because we all go through this! Sisterhood is powerful! We are all united in our dealing-with-periods bullshit.

The only time I couldn't do this was when I worked with a bunch of older women who had already gone through menopause and so had no supplies on hand. They did always have Tylenol though.

On the other hand, it's just embarrassing to go through something that can put stains on the ass of your pants, regardless of how secure one is in one's womanhood. You do begin to wonder if it wouldn't be better to just take those days off and stay home in your "menstrual tent", especially if you're having all the hormonal fun of bloating, pimples and sore boobs.
posted by emjaybee at 7:36 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I never got the talk from my mom either but my grandmother gave me a set of girl health books from 2 decades earlier that talked about menstrual belts, which confused the heck out of me until high school. But it worked for us as I recognized what it was and my mom showed me where her supplies were kept without comment. The embarrassment factor was minimal due to my early start age and my dad doing all of the grocery shopping.
posted by bluesapphires at 7:39 PM on July 30, 2013


One day, when my kid was in kindergarten, a little kid found a clean, unused tampon on the playground, probably one that had fallen out of someone's pocket. The little kids crowded around and asked one of the kindergarten teachers what it was. Some parents and teachers listened to see what the answer would be. The teacher very matter of factly said, "Oh, it's basically a kind of bandage." All the kids thought this was a very acceptable answer and went back to playing.

Me, I told even my 2 year old that women have some liquid come out every month when they don't have a baby. I told them sometimes there's a bit of blood involved, as it helps wash out the liner that would have held the baby. My kids are older now and seem to have no trouble understanding this, nor understanding that tampons are basically a kind of bandage to keep the women's clothes from getting wet. I've added information over the years, but the basic concepts are still the same. And I hope this will help them from thinking periods are disgusting, dirty or anything but basic body science.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 8:16 PM on July 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


You know what would be a great tip to include? The fact that when blood dries it's brown, so don't freak out if you get your period for the first time but don't notice for a few hours. I can't be the only one that happened to.



tafetta, darling!
tafetta, sweetheart!

posted by Room 641-A at 9:01 PM on July 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I THOUGHT IT WAS POOPS I WAS SO CONFUSED I did the puppy head-tilt thing and everything!

i was 9-10 years old though so really what do you expect
posted by elizardbits at 9:41 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mine was brownish too, but I'd read it could look like that. We were at a restaurant on our way to a YMCA weekend retreat and it only had a pantyhose machine; nothing for periods, so we had to find a drugstore that was still open.
posted by brujita at 10:02 PM on July 30, 2013


I think this is bullshit if it's putting camp gynos out of business.
posted by edeezy at 10:13 PM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


the gyno I got my last pap smear from was a very calm and matter-of-fact lady, who was great, but I also would take a gyno that was slightly lewd and hilarious with a fabulous sequined labcoat
posted by kagredon at 10:56 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gynos like it when you refer to your vagina as 'the Thunderdome'.

Also - mine hit when I felt all ooky at dinner, at a Mexican restaurant. Then I went to the restroom and saw...IT. One consultation with Mother, and she happily announced to Stepdad, right there in the restaurant, that 'I'm a woman now!' Thanks, mom. I just wanted to drown into my Chimichanga right then and there.
posted by spinifex23 at 11:04 PM on July 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Across the world’s largest democracy, where a decade of economic growth nearing 8 percent a year has tripled per-capita income, millions of women are held back by shame around their most basic sanitary needs.
From a timely Bloomberg piece describing, among other things, some similar commercial ventures in India, the possible consequences, and the cultural hurdles faced.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:24 PM on July 30, 2013


> I'm all for anything that seeks to remove body-shaming from the lives of our youth. That said, why did it have to be tampons? Is it because a menstrual cup is too "icky"? Or is simply getting them used to using a wasteful, expensive product early on?

I think it's good to help the girls simply get a handle of the mechanics of Periods 101 first. Being ready to have an opinion on preferences regarding cups vs pads vs tampons and which brand is kinda Periods 201.
posted by desuetude at 11:58 PM on July 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Judy Blume has updated Are You there God It's Me Margaret with stick on pads.

Oh, good. Back in the late 1970s, when I started, I was concerned for quite some time that I was doing it wrong (but where is the belt? what hooks? there are some pins in the cabinet, do they have anything to do with this?) until, months later, I finally gave up and asked my mother, who was totally bewildered about how I even knew about belts.

The one thing I wondered about this service was why they were targeting their ads to girls just at menarche. It usually takes a while, a few years even, for the cycle to settle down into a predictable pattern. But I suppose that advertising, especially viral advertising, isn't always actually directed at the demographic shown in the ads - maybe they decided this was the most attention-catching way to get it out there for all the women of reproductive age.
posted by gingerest at 12:59 AM on July 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The one thing I wondered about this service was why they were targeting their ads to girls just at menarche.

Brand loyalty. There's a fair amount of fairly recent research out there (some of which I'm pretty sure I've seen on the blue) about how brand loyalty shifts at points of life transition, like when you have a baby. I would think menarche combines the get-em-young with the life transition stuff for a good entry point into somebody's wallet.
posted by immlass at 7:50 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


It usually takes a while, a few years even, for the cycle to settle down into a predictable pattern. This. It took YEARS before mine was regular but nobody told me about that. So I had my first period, at age 12, and it was embarrassing and awful and all the special things that make us all remember menarche so fondly and then. . . it went away for four months. And I was convinced I must be pregnant even though I had never even kissed a boy, because that was all I had read about. I thought perhaps I was the next Virgin Mary and I thought that was really stupidly unfair, because I a) wasn't particularly religious and b) nobody would ever believe me anyway. I was completely, silently, terrified for four entire months.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:07 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm fond of "shark week", though I suspect it was probably initially meant to be insulting.

I always like going with "surfing the crimson wave" from Clueless:


Mr. Hall: Cher Horowitz-two tardies.

Cher: I object. Do you recall the dates of these alleged tardies?

Mr. Hall: One was last Monday.

Cher: Mr. Hall, I was surfing the crimson wave. I had to haul ass to the ladies.

posted by discopolo at 10:10 AM on July 31, 2013


I always like going with "surfing the crimson wave" from Clueless

My favorite is "I've fallen to the Communists." from The I.T. Crowd. But all this talk of gynos has me craving Greek food.
posted by Room 641-A at 10:39 AM on July 31, 2013 [4 favorites]




> The one thing I wondered about this service was why they were targeting their ads to girls just at menarche.

Because after a couple of years, it's no longer the most embarrassing thing in the world to go buy your own supplies or ask your mom to do so. And the Special Occasion-ness of personal delivery is less appealing once you've gotten used to having your period.
posted by desuetude at 6:57 PM on July 31, 2013


Gynos like it when you refer to your vagina as 'the Thunderdome'.

I can't see me doing that, but I'll be silently cracking up next time I have to see Dr. Dealgood.
posted by BlueHorse at 7:45 PM on July 31, 2013


A college classmate confided that her father burst into tears when she had her first period and took the entire family out for ice cream in celebration.

That same father also insisted that the girls in the family should not get middle names at birth because, when they married, their family name would become their middle name.

She was a brilliant student and had been admitted to a bunch of medical schools, but was then in therapy to get over a tendency to faint at the sight of blood.

These things all fit together, but I don't know how.
posted by jamjam at 12:32 AM on August 1, 2013


It usually takes a while, a few years even, for the cycle to settle down into a predictable pattern.

Whereas it turned out that mine was regular and predictable right from the start but no one ever bothered to tell me that it is even possible, let alone perfectly normal, to have a 21 day cycle. So that took me several years to really figure out (also I'm terrible at tracking, always have been). In my later teens I was really anaemic due to other issues so my Mum took me to the Dr to go on the pill specifically to lengthen my cycle and make it less of a problem. Which was actually pretty cool of her (and it did help).
posted by shelleycat at 2:48 AM on August 1, 2013


Ugh, how could they forget to put in a DVD of the "Blossom Gets Her Period" episode. It's,like, the most important thing. Blossom's dad and brothers take her out to dinner in celebration.

This is online, btw. "Blossom Blossoms" part 1 and part 2.

oh god the reproductive system cake!
posted by lalex at 2:19 PM on August 1, 2013


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