Why Are Tampons Still A Taboo In India?

Posted by Divya Ramnani in Menstruation, Sexual Health, Society
January 4, 2018

Designed to serve the purpose of hygiene for the feminine population on planet Earth, tampons came into existence centuries in the form of papyrus, wool, plants, paper and grass.

It wasn’t until 1929, that a genius physician named Earle Haas invented the modern-day tampon as an alternative to those bulky cotton sanitary pads cum diapers. Using a tampon for the first time can be confusing, but it’s quite convenient once the user gets the hang of it. Tampons have been proven to cause the least amount of leakage and thus, ensure comfort to the users.

Tampons are commonly utilized by women in western countries; where it’s quite normal to talk about such issues like the menstruation cycle. But as we move towards India, a lot about this alternative is yet to be discovered.

Starting from the root cause, it’s considered as a sin to openly talk about the menstruation days which are commonly referred to as “woh din” by the majority of the female population here. Then comes the ultimate resort aka the saviour for a majority of women here – the ‘Sanitary napkin’. To be honest, it is an extra baggage to those unbearable cramps and let’s not forget about the rashes that occur.

When it comes to tampons or sanitary napkins, the latter is the preferred by the majority mainly because of its availability and awareness. There are a lot of misconceptions that revolve around the usage of a tampon which is why their sales have, moved at a comatose pace. According to a Euro monitor survey, they are at a sluggish 2-3% rate, seven times lower than sanitary napkins. Roughly, only 5% of the Indian women population are aware of this facility.

The very first misconception being the fact that it is associated with a woman’s virginity; if a woman uses a tampon, it means that she isn’t a virgin anymore. However, it’s important to know that it isn’t true since hymen is an elastic tissue which is extremely flexible and is not necessarily harmed by a tampon. Secondly, it’s believed that the process of wearing a tampon is discomforting and hurts, which is false and has been rubbished by most of the limited tampon users in India.

Speaking to a few working women was both encouraging and enlightening, “Tampons are a lot more comfortable than pads in many ways, and I would really encourage women to try using tampons and other menstrual aids like menstrual cups. Trust me; they make your life so much easier,” said Sayantika Nath.

“For me, it’s a blessing which saves me from uneasiness, smell and it shortens your period by a day, I would like to encourage every girl to try tampon as it’s a wonderful thing for us,” said Sneha Singh.

“I have never used a tampon I recently came to know about it in spite of living in this city, the awareness is very low,” said Meghna Sharma.

Awareness is the most important concern when it comes to tampons. Until and unless the female population comes to know about the attributes of this alternative; all the misconceptions will emerge as the reality.

Advertisements also play a key role in spreading awareness. If a tampon is advertised as much as a sanitary napkin, people will be more aware. Though we all are still waiting for that day when a woman, without any hesitance, will buy a sanitary napkin and be handed one without it being wrapped in paper.