We’ve Stopped Saying “Feminine Hygiene Products” & “Sanitary Pads”. And Why You Should Too.
Here at &SISTERS, we’re passionate about breaking down the stigma around periods & menstrual health. And we’re also passionate about telling everyone there’s nothing “dirty” or “unsanitary” about periods or your vagina. Period. So, why are brands pedalling the term “feminine hygiene products'' and “sanitary pad” in this day and age? The discussions around periods & menstrual health have been taboo for too long and the idea that menstruation & your vagina is unhygienic or unsanitary has no place in today’s society. And we’re here to explain why.
You’ll never see us using the terms “feminine hygiene products” or “sanitary pad”. Why? We believe that words have power & the more we use the right ones, the less stigma they hold.
At &SISTERS we believe in inclusivity and we’re here for anyone who has a period. And we’re definitely not scared of saying “period”, “vagina”, or (heaven forbid) “tampon”. By using a term like “feminine hygiene” or “sanitary pad” we’d be complicit in pushing period shame and encourage the idea that we must feel ashamed whilst we’re on our period.
How many times in your life have you hid a tampon up your sleeve whilst skulking off to the bathroom to change? How many times have you felt embarrassed to ‘“admit” you’re on your period? Too many to count. Our periods and our bodies are nothing to be ashamed of and it’s time that society (and store branding) caught up.
What do “feminine hygiene products” or “sanitary pads” even mean?
These terms imply that there’s something “unhygienic” about your vagina and your period is something “dirty”. That it requires some kind of “cleaning” just because you’re menstruating. Your overall health & wellbeing goes hand-in-hand with hygiene and keeping yourself clean, however it’s important to note that period care products like pads & tampons are not hygiene products, they’re not designed to “clean” anything, they’re designed to absorb menstrual fluid.
The word “sanitary” pushes the agenda that your period is “unhealthy” or “dirty” - which as we all know, is absolutely not the case. In addition, there’s lots of “mainstream” period care brands out there who include a lot of nasties like plastic & bleach in their products, so they’re clearly not all that “sanitary”.
By sugarcoating this language to make others feel more comfortable, we’re also preventing those who do not have periods from understanding menstruation. How can we expect others to learn & understand if we do not teach them the right words to use? People should be educated and comfortable enough to know they can say “tampon” or “period” without the fear of ridicule.
So, here at &SISTERS you’ll only see the bloody truth. You’ll hear lots of “period”, “vagina”, “tampon” and many more. We believe it’s best to be clear about everything we talk about, from itchy vaginas & wonky tampons to postpartum bleeding & menopause, so there’s absolutely no room for confusion or ambiguity.