The under-appreciated sanitary napkins

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

WHY are today's women better off than they were 20 years ago? One of the many reasons is sanitary napkins.

I'd like to talk about the many things that make the lives of some women easier because of their availability. It is a given that some women whine because it is hard to be a woman dealing with her biological and physical structure.

One of these biological features is the woman’s vagina – despite the modern times, there are still others who find it hard and consider it taboo to talk about this intimate part — even if one of the basic realities of having one is the monthly and unpleasant phenomenon of menstruation which restricts a woman's social engagements, sports, work and even sex.


There's a wide variety of products for women to choose from to help them ease their discomfort and they come big or small, with different colors and forms and both scented and unscented.

In fact, we have now sanitary napkins that are ultra-thin or pads “with wings” for those with “heavy days.” There were no ultra-thin pads or pads “with wings,” just the regular pads. I guess the products evolved through the years since all beauty and personal care products are always big business. Only a woman can understand her body. On a side note, do you know there are women who still have problems with their monthly menstruation despite the meds they use to calm down their nerves?

Usually, the pain and the mood swings come before the onset of menstruation - there are those that act cranky or depressed while others don’t experience any mood swings or pain - those are the lucky ones.

I think there was a study about the relationship between mood swings and the hormones. In fact, not a few people share the discriminatory view that women who make decisions before their period usually decide wrong and any wrong decisions they make are blamed on their monthly period.

There are also many women who can still go about their usual lives despite their menstruation.

Now back to sanitary napkins. In my youth, sanitary napkins weren't so popular. My Nanay (mother) would sew white cotton cloth in between the underwear for protection.

In fact, my sanitary “paddings” were made from bags of flour. I wore them when I was in high school at St. Mary’s High School now St. Mary’s Academy in Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental in northern Mindanao, Philippines.

The school is run by the RVM sisters and our school uniform is pink and white - like my classmates, I had to be careful about avoiding any blood stains in my uniform lest the boys would have a field day making fun of me or my female classmates.

Usually our technique is “apidapid” or wearing half-slip or petticoat. We also use newspapers so any blood discharged won't soak the skirts. It was tough in those days, I tell you. I remember feeling so uncomfortable back then. Imagine, when I have heavy days I would have to double what I wear. Washing is also a problem because I had to soak the skirts for many days to remove the blood spots.

Thank God, sanitary napkins were invented. Women are so lucky nowadays.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 29, 2014.


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