We’ve all been there — wandering around the store late at night looking for the elusive tampon aisle. You think you’re using logic to find them, heading toward bathroom products or cosmetics, but logic will not help you here.
If you’ve ever felt like a living, breathing version of The Clash song “Lost in the Supermarket,” all the while dealing with cramps and maybe a migraine, imagine how you felt at 13.
But one 13-year-old isn’t going to take it anymore. Her amazing text conversation with her mother reminded us just how frustrating it can be when tampons and pads are tucked away in some shadowy back corner of the pharmacy.
Let’s catalog the main locations where they can be found at CVS and Walgreens around the country:
- Sometimes by the condoms and the pregnancy tests (relevant, we guess).
- Sometimes in the baby aisle (yeah…no).
- Sometimes near the adult incontinence pads (ouch).
It makes no sense, but we’ve just come to accept that something half the population needs on a regular basis doesn’t deserve its own section or even aisle markers. In fact, most of us don’t even question the random placement of the tampons and pads.
Through a series of amusing text messages with her mom, Belinda Hankins of the Ninja Poodles blog, this young girl learned a lesson — and made us blindingly aware of the bizarre mystique regarding periods and vaginas.
Check out their epic text message exchange, which Hankins posted on her Facebook page.
It begins with a normal whine, followed by a reasonable response from mom:
“THEY’RE NOT HERRREEEEEE”
“Yes, I promise they are. Look near the condoms and the sex lube”
Hankins and her daughter proceed to have a learning moment about how there’s no separate, clearly marked aisle for menstruation products, and the pair go so far as to comment on a society too nervous to even say the words “vagina” or “menstruation.”
“OH WAIT. They’re here tucked away in a corner, unlabelled. They labelled a tiny shelf of joint braces but not the massive aisle of stuff for your vagina??????????”
“Because there is NEVER a sign for that section. Vaginas are SECRET.”
“VAGINAS ARE MYTHS, WHISPERED QUIETLY IN SECRET AMONG ONLY THE BRAVEST OF MEN, COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO EVEN MENTION THE NAME.”
And in case it couldn’t be clearer, Hankins’ daughter drew a map to the newly labeled “Vagina Zone” for her mom.
This teen was born at the right time to join a growing conversation: Periods are coming out of that secret place every day, with movements to eliminate taxes on women’s sanitary products gaining momentum around the country. Social-media hashtags like #tweetyourperiod and #freethetampons have helped moved the discussion to the forefront.
At the 2015 London Marathon, MIA drummer Kiran Gandhi ran the race while on her period without wearing a tampon or pad, thereby bleeding publicly and making headlines for challenging the stigma around menstruation.
Like Belinda’s mom taught her and Belinda has in turn taught her daughter, they are on their way to “SMASH THE PATRIARCHY” -- one “Vagina Zone” at a time.