first world lady problems.

27 01 2013

tamponat the risk of getting all jerry seinfeld and being all “what’s the deal with blank?”, i’d like to open a friendly  discussion about current state of feminine hygiene products in the year 2013.

even though my energy for coupon clipping and deal hoarding has long waned, some residual benefits of my past obsession are that i still occasionally get surprise sample packages in the mail from various companies that i don’t remember signing up with.  recently, i received a little satin zipper bag filled with products from the tampax “radiant” collection under just such circumstances.

i guess i should have known that something was up when i saw the word RADIANT. i’m sorry tampax, but bleeding heavily out the crotch doesn’t make me feel radiant. it’s never going to make me feel radiant. you could name your tampons “sparkle pony princess magic vag plugs”, and it’s still not going to change the fact that i’m bloated, and cranky, and BLEEDING HEAVILY OUT THE CROTCH. though biologically kind of magical and awesome (also awesome to not be knocked up, and to know that the plumbing is still working), the act of getting your period is in no way improved by hygiene products that are purple and sparkly.

yeah… i said purple and sparkly.

when i was a teenager and first starting to deal with the unsavory actions of my uterus, tampons were white and made out of cardboard. maybe the fancy lady down the block got the pink plastic playtex tampons with the “fresh scent” (although my mom always cautioned me that synthetic fragrance was not something that belonged in the vagina), but tampons were by and large unremarkable, sturdy, and utilitarian.  which made sense, because they’re not a vanity product, they’re a utility product. like light bulbs or wart remover, they’re not required to be sexy, only to do their job.

but apparently, something happened in the feminine hygiene industry when i wasn’t paying attention. no longer was the biggest selling point of a tampon “will help you ruin less of your underwear” or “can stop niagara falls of blood”. all of the sudden, fun fashion colors and glitter came into play. WHO INVITED GLITTER TO THIS GODDAMN PARTY?

when i peeled off the wrapper of the “radiant” sample tampon, i laughed out loud. in my bathroom- about to deal with some personal lady business- laughing. the thing was bright purple plastic with a sprinkle of shimmer, and had the most beautifully injection molded floral pattern around the plunger area (to enhance grip?). i had toys as a child that were less carefully crafted. AND I’M SUPPOSED TO PUT THIS THING IN MY VAGINA?

my first thought was “this thing is waaaay too nice for MY vagina”.

but ultimately, it circled back to “this thing is way too ridiculous for ANY vagina”.

dear tampax, CUT THE SHIT. if you’ve hit the wall of useful tampon technology, i understand. frankly, i’m not sure how much innovation can really occur beyond the initial “what if we shoved something absorbent up in there?”, and that’s ok. your perfectly pedestrian white cardboard tampons have been doing their job for years without incident (ok, limited incident). so maybe it’s time to ease off the R&D a little, because you’re starting to embarrass yourself.

now, if you can mystically make tampons that are 100% fail-proof, by all means, you can call them whatever the fuck you want. BUT, they don’t need to look like racecars or prom corsages. they don’t need to match my handbag or my nail polish. and they certainly don’t need to look like a 6 year old girl with a disney princess obsession designed them (which is insulting on a whole other level that i can’t even begin to deal with right now). what next, give them little spray painted gold macaroni necklaces or rhinestone tiaras? or maybe just have them play a few bars of “pretty woman” when properly inserted?

seriously tampax, go home, you’re drunk.


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52 responses

28 01 2013
Evelyn Paolilli McElroy

Okay, I literally lol’d at this one. Thanks for saying what needed to be said!

28 01 2013
kate @ bbf.

shit makes me wanna go all diva cup. i cling to the (prolly deluded) thought that cardboard apps are biodegradable in the sewer/waste system. people definitely don’t recycle their plastic applicators. scowl.

28 01 2013
kate @ bbf.

and hooray for more allie blogging!!

28 01 2013
thesuperjodi

I recycle

29 01 2013
cj

ob=no applicator, no excess waste
no sparkles either

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

my mom always used them, but i always thought that they were too dry going in… (sorry for tmi). although i do agree that planet-wise and design-wise, they are a much better choice :)

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

kate, i’m going to try it for the blog. you should do it too!

28 01 2013
thesuperjodi

LOL Ok, now that was funny! Although I have to say the original white cardboard tampax SUCKS! It hurt to put in and while the purpley glitter is over the top, the shape and plastic is much ummmm shall we say smoother to insert.

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

upvotes for recycling. i think my male roommate might have an aneurism if i threw used tampons in the recycle bucket! but yeah, cardboard tampons, though beautifully minimalist, not as comfortable as they could be.

28 01 2013
Allison

@kate @bff. Do it! Diva cup is amazing.

28 01 2013
D

Um, Tampax, if you’re reading this, please don’t only sell your “perfectly pedestrian white cardboard tampons” just because this girl prefers them. Cardboard tampon applicators make me want to cry :(. Thank you!

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

fair enough. i actually use the white plastic kotex tampons. cardboard could be more comfortable, i just like the simplicity of it.

28 01 2013
Sarah

I’d remind you to consider the fact that multiple age groups use tampons, including young girls who may be scared, especially when they first start to get their period. I think it can help ease the anxiety a bit, and help girls to feel more beautiful (even while this not-so-pretty thing is happening to them), if the tools they are given to use appeal to their senses and remind them of something not so utilitarian, not so ugly, and not so scary. A familiar purple, some sparkles– it doesn’t seem like much, but it could go a long way for someone who is initially uncomfortable with the idea of putting something inside her vagina.

28 01 2013
theleaf

I’m sorry, but this is just silly. If it’s that scary to use a tampon, stick to pads. What would be better if a girl is scared is to start with the “Light” flow size, which are pretty small.

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

if glitter makes tampons friendlier for young girls, i guess i can’t entirely argue with that… although it does seem insulting to me. not all girls are down with glitter. that said, i’m pretty sure the “radiant” collection is geared toward women. they’re also very expensive!

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

i think that’s a good point that i hadn’t considered. although i do feel like the radiant collection is geared toward adult women, which is a little weird to me. also, as i have already said, not all girls are purple and sparkly- if we’re going to use color and pattern to make tampons friendlier for young girls- make them in colors and themes that appeal to women of all interests. i would buy the shit out of batman tampons!

28 01 2013
zaf

what’s wrong with having fancy tampons? i don’t care if it’s diamond-encrusted, as long as it works.

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

agreed, to a point. i just hate that they don’t offer colors to fit all tastes… not all women are purple and sparkly.

28 01 2013
Liz

And they got rid of the scented tampons. What gives?!

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

i feel like the chemical scent is bad for your vagina (or maybe that’s just how my mom scared me as a child). but, i think some brands still make them!

28 01 2013
Keri Foster

This just falls in line with the Bic For Her nonsense. Gag me with a spoon, Tampax!

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

OMG BIC FOR HER! that was the most ludicrous thing that ever happened- and INSULTING AS HELL. if they’re going to offer tampons in fashion colors, they should come in a variety of colors- not just barbie pink & purple.

28 01 2013
Sara.Allie

Great article! have an upvote!

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

thanks! upvotes for all!

28 01 2013
Brittany

Could not read this article because of your poor grammar and punctuation.

28 01 2013
Lee Weiland

LOL! It’s not a fucking research paper; it’s her BLOG. She can write however the hell she wants to. Stop being such a uppity bitch and go preoccupy yourself with that stick up your ass.

28 01 2013
Mel

You’re an ass.

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

a lot of people said a lot of mean things about my post this week, but the backup i got made it all totally ok. thanks!

29 01 2013
Petra Marie Engisch

So you posted a fragmented sentence?

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

<3

29 01 2013
sheesh

However, sentence fragments are a-ok with Brittany.

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

[snort] brittany loves a sentence fragment, and we love her for it.

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

i’m sorry to hear that. i know i can be a little freestyle with my punctuation and sentence structure, but after getting copious comments like yours (both here and on reddit), i reread the post several times and still decided not to change a thing. it’s just how i write, and i’m ok with that.

28 01 2013
Ashley

I’m sorry, but I like the plastic applicators much better. They don’t hurt as much going in. They can keep that plastic as far as I am concerned. I give no fucks as to what color it is, or if it sparkles. Just so long as it does its job. I also would like to point out that I agree with Sarah. She makes a good point about the girls who are just entering womanhood. I know I put off using tampons because of the weird looking plastic applicators. Once Tampax Pearl came out, I was all over that shit.

Besides, it was free. In the mail.

28 01 2013
Ashley

Sorry. I meant weird *paper* applicators

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

i agree. i also use plastic applicators… and frankly, i susbscribe to the “whatever is the cheapest” method of tampon selection, whether they’re purple or pearlized or cardboard. i just miss a simpler time, and i wish that tampon makers would spend more time on finding a leak free tampon and less time on trying to dress up the same old thing- especially if it makes them more expensive.

28 01 2013
Natalie

Reblogged this on Natalie Elizabeth Beech and commented:
Its purple so win, Its like a Biro, so loose.

28 01 2013
Mason Jar

You can always save the sparkly tampon applicators for a charming craft.

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

OMG TAMPON CRAFTS! maybe a festive holiday wreath? or some decorative candle holders?

28 01 2013
Lee Weiland

LOL! It’s not a fucking research paper; it’s her BLOG. She can write however the hell she wants to, and you can go preoccupy yourself with that stick up your ass, Brittany.

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

:D thanks for the back up lee! i don’t think we’ll be seeing brittany around these parts again any time soon.

28 01 2013
Blackgirlinmaine (@blackgirlinmain)

This is hilarious! Now that I am officially over the hill at 40 with the lovely perimenopausal periods, the only thing I want is a tampon effective enough to handle the deluge of flow. I don’t it to sparkle, smell like roses or do anything other than work without having to use a bulky ass pad for backup. Yay for posting again!

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

my fibroids made me appreciate a tampon that can handle and “abnormally heavy” flow. gross, but true. i don’t care if it’s made out of hot pink feathers and elbow macaroni, as long as it works. so i’m right there with you. it’s nice to hear from you again! xo.

28 01 2013
Cerebral Assault (@kitt3hninja)

Love the divacup

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

i think it might be time for me to take one for a test drive!

29 01 2013
MH

Bwahaha, thanks I needed the laugh!

Regarding the white cardboard tampax applicator: the first time I saw it, I could not believe my eyes. Took me ages to figure out and yes, inserting it hurt. I ended up removing the tampons from the applicators and inserting them with my fingers. Was much easier this way. To this day I hate applicators and never use them. Diva cup or o.b. tampons is the way to go.

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

truthfully, i actually prefer the plastic applicators (as long as they don’t look like carnival rides). i think i just miss the simplicity of olden times. i’m still a little scared of the diva cup, but i think that after all the comments on this post, i might have to test drive one for blogging purposes!

29 01 2013
dominikanita

Lmfao i laughed throughout this article because a lot of what you said makes sense and is accurate for some people. That being said, i can understand why they would do something like that.
1. Girls start to get their period during their teenage years. Teenagers obviously care about whether the product works but let’s face it, they also care about how a product looks.
2. Everyone cares about the presentation…especially girls. It’s kind of a cliche thing to assume but us girls love choices and accessories. Sparkles is more of a teenager thing but the different colors are attractive.
3. People love change and out with the old and in with the new. Like you said, it used to just be this white tampon in the cardboard casing…which is seriously unattractive and i feel as though it would be awkward to give that to someone if they forgot to put one in their purse or something.

3 02 2013
bessmarvin

you make a lot of excellent points. and i’ll admit… i do exaggerate for effect. as long as a tampon works, i don’t care what color it is. i also personally prefer plastic to the old school cardboard- but i’ll use whatever is cheap and handy. i do still think that the decorative factor has gotten out of hand recently, but i’m sure 11 year old me would have loved a sparkly purple tampon :D

3 02 2013
dominikanita

hehehe lolz

8 02 2013
Roxanne

HAHA I LOVE IT. Screw the haters hating on your grammar. I like how you write (since I could give a shit about being totally proper when I write either). Anyhow, I also find the carnival ride aspect to be disturbing. It is all well and good that these companies are making products that *might* help young girls be less afraid of the whole process….but then one must think; why are they scared in the first place? Perhaps it is the way that society STILL insinuates that there is something “wrong” with a woman on her period. A tampon that a girl buys after the fact won’t solve that.

No amount of sparkle is going to make a 13 year old feel proud to go slap a box of these down on the conveyor at the supermarket.

I used OB super extra mega tampons. I have tried ALL the rest and they are the best ever. Small enough to fit nicely in your hand on the way to the bathroom and super effective. I have NEVER had an oops with them. It is hard to find the purple or yellow ones (super and super plus) anymore though. I also feel like OB, not having an applicator, promotes women feeling more familiar with and comfortable with touching parts of their own anatomy….But that is just my own weird theory.

13 02 2013
bessmarvin

thanks roxanne! and i actually love your theory about how OB promotes women being more familiar with their bodies. periods ARE gross, we need to learn to be honest and unashamed. it’s like pooping. we just have to embrace it.

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