The stigma that surrounds periods is still alive in society, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Cishet men are still making jokes about people on their periods or thinking it’s ‘disgusting’, and folks who have periods are more likely to hide their menstrual products than to openly hold them out in their hands. This is especially true in public settings like high school, college/university and work. What makes this stigma worse is folks with periods shaming others for using pads rather than tampons or even a DivaCup.
Ever since I can remember, pads have always been perceived as juvenile. Despite the fact pads are never simply directed towards young people, whether that be in commercials or otherwise. There’s generally an idea that pads are gross and using tampons or other insertable menstrual products mean you’re cleaner. Not only does this shame people who prefer pads, but it presents insertable products as what everyone should prefer.
Menstruation is a natural thing, therefore using a pad shouldn’t be seen as something that’s not. Shaming shouldn’t happen in regards to period products in general. But, people shouldn’t have to shove their pads into their pockets to go use a restroom. The word “pads” should never be strange to say, and it shouldn’t be chalked up to immaturity if you’re using them. For some, it’s a safer and more comfortable option for what’s already a rough time for most. There’s no risk of TSS (toxic shock syndrome) or improper insertion (which can cause more of a mess than anything else).
Using a pad isn’t about not understanding anatomy or being a virgin. There are plenty of people that have been penetrated one way or another that still use a pad when they have their period. Just like there are people who have never been penetrated that use tampons or DivaCups. Each body is different, and each person’s experience varies with their periods. Some people prefer to see how much they’ve bled, and some might be prone to forgetting when to take a tampon out, which presents a potential problem.
Not only do people need to stop shaming, but folks who use pads also need to stop shaming themselves. Having a period can be painful, uncomfortable, hindering and so on for many vagina owners. Wanting to be comfortable and prevent any uncomfortable or unsafe situations takes priority. Therefore the ignorant comments are just that – ignorant. Destroy the idea that using a pad as an adult makes you less of one.
Having frank discussions about menstrual products is what will help with ending the shaming. It’ll also normalize the use of pads and the reality of having a period in general.