Monday, October 12, 2015

History Lesson

"History of tampons?" Zoe's face screwed up as she looked at me with the question in her eyes. She'd just read the last words I'd typed into my search box.

"It's for a blog post," I said.

She didn't say so, but the look on Zoe's face at that point indicated that somehow, she wasn't surprised that I'd looked up the subject, nor that I had plans to blog about it.

My only reasoning in even wanting to blog about this particular subject is that I think I should thank the person who first invented these little plugs. As much as I find my period a necessary evil, I am so thankful that I have some option other than the sanitary pad.

As an aside, my mom never really mentioned a tampon as an option. I'm not sure if she was just embarrassed by the whole bloody parts deal, or if she really didn't want her teenager wearing a tampon for fear of toxic shock syndrome. It wasn't until college that I was able to live that one week a month in relative comfort: bloody pads are never any fun. Trust me.

As usual, I digress. What happened after I typed in "history of tampons"? Well lo and behold, The Atlantic published an article in June of this year on that very topic. I sat, mesmerized, and read what the author had to say about the evolution of the plug with which I'm so familiar.

Picture from

And because there is no need to invent the wheel, I'll ask you to go there if you're still interested in reading about how old the tampon is (tampon historians think the concept of the device goes back to Ancient Rome), how many tampons a woman might use in her lifetime (16,000!), or when the tampon became commercially available, as opposed to a device used strictly in the hospital (1933). The article is quite fascinating, actually. The best details I'll leave for you to unearth.

And I'll get back to simply saying thank you. Yes, the tampon has it's flaws, but for the most part, it does the job.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh... this is just the kind of thing I would look up. The other day I was trying to explain this very thing to my husband. Sanitary pads feel anything other than sanitary! And my mom hates tampons. To this day I have absolutely no clue why. She refused to buy them for any of her daughters (there are four of us). As teenagers she'd supply us with as many pads as necessary, but if we wanted a tampon she would never tell us no, just that we had to buy them ourselves.