Feminine Hygiene Products: a History lesson!
How much do you know about the history of PERIODS? Test your knowledge!
Today, in 2021, women have so much choice in dealing with their periods. Isles in the drugstores stock shelves with endless choices and variations of sanitary napkins, tampons, menstrual cups, and more. Boxes and packaging are so colorful & inciting, kind of makes us think of the junk food isle?! Do you know how all of this got started? Maybe understanding the history will help us make better choices in the future?
Have you ever wondered how women protected their clothing before the invention of the sanitary napkin? This is one of the most googled question when it comes to this subject, so we thought we would provide you with all the answers! You will see just how far we’ve come!
The very first acknowledged hygienic product dates back to 1500 BC among Egyptians. During the menstruations, women would make tampons from softened papyrus. (Brilliant, isn’t it?!) Greek women used fabric compresses wrapped around wood (ouch!). Religion would soon restrict women from inserting any objects vaginally, so this practice was banned.
The Middle Ages
Anything goes during this time! Women do not wear underwear, and therefore, so sanitary protection! Thanks to many layers of skirting and petticoats, no one is the wiser! It was believed that bleeding women were somewhat dangerous, and may have evil powers with the ability to cause harm! By 1800, the phenomenon of ovulation and its relation to menstruation would be understood. The first generation of "rags" would see the light as Louis Pasteur would raise awareness of the importance of hygiene health.
Beginning of the 20th century
The very first disposable maxi pad was born in 1900. You may have seen this belt concoction in movies where a woman uses a clothing pin to attach linen fabric to a belt tied around her waist. Yeah, that one. Having a period was very much a taboo subject at the time, so you can imagine no one was asking women their opinions! Linen would be eventually replaced by cotton in 1920. (Sigh of relief!). Women would wash and reuse the rags, just as cotton diapers.
Tampax is born
In 1934, The Tampax company invented the first disposable tampon! At the time, was reserved only for married women, thinking that a tampon would make a woman lose her virginity. (If only they had Google?!) After the war, the huge female workforce returned to the housewife’s status, and sales of tampons just ceased.
Mid to end of the 20th Century
The birth of the Flower Power hippie movement brought on the birth of the disposable sanitary pads. By 1970, the pads now have an adhesive side to secure to the underwear. As the demand for disposable hygiene products continue to grow, variations of the sanitary pad with flaps, and various thicknesses are introduced on the market in the 80s & 90S. In 2000, we see the first pad for G-Strings come to life!
Bet you will laugh!
We just love Courtney Cox in this 80s gym outfit doing a Tampax TV ad:
The new generations are more sensitive to sustainability movement and the impact that one woman will have on the environment, for the 30 years or so, having a period. It is estimated that each woman will dispose of over 15,000 disposable products in her lifetime. (Let’s stop and think about that for a minute…. This has opened the door for more eco-responsible solutions, such as the menstrual cup and Reusable Period panties. Both options do not cause the massive negative carbon footprint on the planet. With what we know today about tampons, it is also a healthier choice. We invite you to read more about this topic here
We have definitely come a long way when it comes to dealing with Periods! The best advantage we have today that our ancestors did not is access to knowledge! You have only one body, you need to feel great in it! Do your research and adopt an option that is JUST RIGHT for you!