Some products are so ubiquitous that they seem like they’ve always existed in the exact form they’re in today. They also seem to inhabit a world of their own. With tampons this is certainly the case. Over the last seventy years they’ve basically existed in the exact same form, cotton on a string, and while they’re certainly great at their intended purpose, there’s also a lot of other great things about them.
1. Tampons Used To Also Be Contraceptives
So you want to have sex but you don’t want to get pregnant? Well, just grab some tampon materials. In ancient Egypt, this would mean grabbing a handful of lint and placing it just so. Really, tampons did dual duty in the ancient world before condoms of any kind where widely available. But, it could have been worse. Early condoms made of sheep’s intestines were routinely reused and hung up to dry.
2. They Weren’t Just Made Of Lint
Soft papyrus and literal weeds were also used as tampons before the 20th century brought women the tampon we have today. Also, wool. Yes, wool. Yeah, sounds scratchy to me too…and weeds sound horribly ineffective.
3. They’re Awesome For First Aid
Many people forget that tampons are basically just highly compressed cylinders of cotton and so when they see one in use outside their prescribed intent they aren’t recognized.
Ever see a boxing match where the guy has cotton in his nose? Yeah, a lot of times those are actually tampons.
4. No, I Mean Really Awesome For First Aid
A tampon inserted into a gunshot or knife wound does two things, it begins absorbing the blood and it swells to fill the wound. Just like regular old cotton bandages, tampons and maxi-pads are fantastic for first aid kits.
5. No Survivalist Would Leave Home Without Them
Okay, so maybe you aren’t a survivalist but still, it’s good to know what other uses there are for something you may already own. Tampons can be used to filter dirty (not tainted) water, as kindling for starting a fire, as well as a half dozen other uses that you will probably never need to know about but are still cool to know about.
6. They’re Taxed Unfairly
Okay, this isn’t something to be thankful for. In Australia, tampons are discriminated against. There, condoms, lubricants, and other medical supplies face no tax. Tampons, on the other hand, have a 10% goods and services tax attached to them because…well, who knows why, really. Apparently condoms are considered an essential health product but tampons aren’t…
On the bright side, that may get overturned very soon.
7. Tampons Used To Be Considered A Way Dirty Topic
I’m not talking about 200 years ago here. I’m talking just a few decades ago. In fact, it was considered so dirty that tampon companies actually made illustrated books on what tampons did and why they were good. If you were a curious teen girl with a mother that wouldn’t answer any of your questions out of “modesty” then you could send away for these books and self educate on the topic.
8. A Menstruating Woman’s Touch Destroys Everything
Not about tampons per say but definitely shows how much societies have changed in how they view menstruation.
Hokey religions used to believe a lot of insane things about menstruation and while Jewish laws about menstruating are somewhat more notorious in Western culture it wasn’t just them. It was everybody.
Zoroastrian women couldn’t enter the temple because their period was considered a “wound” that made them unclean. Likewise, people with actual wounds were also considered unclean except they actually had wounds. Some ancient Roman thinkers literally believed that a menstruating woman had the power to make food go bad. Y’know, like magic.
“On the approach of a woman in this state [i.e., menses], wine will become sour, seeds which are touched by her will become sterile, grafts wither away, garden plants are parched up and the fruit will fall from the tree beneath which she sits.”
That’s the average number of tampons a woman uses in her lifetime and totals about $3,000 in total.