I overheard a conversation between a mother and her daughter recently. The mother was explaining to the daughter that when any boys came over to the house, they were not allowed in the daughter’s room because that’s where the “unmentionables” are.
Dictionary.com defines “unmentionables” as “a person or thing that is too shocking or embarrasing to be mentioned by name.” This mother was referring to the girl’s undergarments and tampons.
It makes me inconceivably sad that a mother, whose job should be to raise her children and teach them not to be afraid of the world, was making her own daughter feel ashamed of being female. If the things women wear and put inside their bodies are shocking and embarrassing, I hate to think what shame the female body and its human functions would bring.
In our society, tampons and periods are taboo. Women must discreetly slip their tampons in their pockets or up their sleeves. The sight of even an empty cardboard tampon box can cause men to freak out, and I speak from personal experience.
The notion that females have human bodily functions like pooping, farting, and burping is disgusting, while the bodily functions of males are viewed as humorous and acceptable.
Furthermore, women aren’t allowed to have sexual urges. Female masturbation is practically unheard of, whereas male masturbation is a norm. A woman who has lots of sex is impure, whorish, and easy. A man who sleeps around is praised for his womanizing abilities.
We hold females to superhuman standards and shame them when they fail to reach these impossibilities.
I refuse to be shamed for being female. I refuse to be shamed for being human. Does my tampon make you uncomfortable? Would you rather help me clean up the blood coming out of my body? Is the sight of my bra unbelievably distracting? At least I’m wearing one.
Women should not have to apologize for their bodies, their humanity, or their sexuality. We should take pride in our vaginas and scream to the skies, “I wear tampons. Deal with it.”