I can stand these sanitary pad ads no longer! You know the ones. They show us images of various women, telling us that every one is different. Then, though, they tell us that this is why they sell five different types of sanitary pads. That’s right, FIVE. At what point are a mere five types of towel enough for the vast flange-range of womankind? Christ, my nethernooks need more than five type of pad per period which is why I make and sell the things.
All of which has made me think about what else the companies behind these ads ignore about women and periods. After all, instead of widening their ranges of sanitary pads they’re gaslighting us into believing that a fistful of choice is all we need. Well, I’m here to tell them that a pad that varies by an inch or two is the very least of what women need. Here’s why…
Sanitary pad ads assume that every woman’s flow is perfectly, well, flowy. Thing is, they’re not. Don’t know about you but I’ve seen period clots that could rival an infant’s head for size and shape. You know when you talk to your doctor about period problems and they ask you if your clots are the size of a 50p piece? That’s when I start describing the size of an inflatable dinghy. You’d never know from, say, an Always ad, though, right? At no point have I ever seen a test tube of fluid hit a pad followed by a lump of gore that resembles Boris Johnson.
Here’s another crime committed by sanitary pad ads: their refusal to acknowledge that their version of super-absorbent is another woman’s version of paper-bloody-thin. The boffins behind these products have never accompanied a fibroid-riddled woman to the toilet, have they? If they had they’d know that what they produce could never tame the nether-based tsunami of madness. I’ve had periods where I’ve layered super-absorbent pads, Princess and The Pea style, and even then the pea was found washed up on a distant shore.
It’s all very well for sanitary pad ads to tell us that our flows are even. What they don’t tell us is that one false sneeze results in five days of horror fleeing through our nethernooks at any one time. You know that feeling, right? When a sneeze is coming so you clench your lower parts only to feel a sudden warm ballooning in your gussetry. That’s when you stagger, knock-kneed, to the toilet. Only then do you find that the onslaught was such that your pad is now attached to your thigh while your pants, trousers and possibly socks need to be burned.
Something else that sanitary pad ads never mention: that bumbling about in a public toilet during a period isn’t just about reaching into your gussetry. It’s about managing a sheet of environmentally ruining plastic as it clings to your hand like a pervert in a bar. You know why I don’t believe in God? Because she didn’t give women three pairs of hands with which to hold flat a gusset, peel open a sanitary pad and remove the strip from the sticky bit all while clutching a wad of toilet paper and possibly a wriggling toddler. On the upside, if you rub one of these static-y wrappers against your hair you’ll infuse it with enough electricity to power a small town.
Too few hands
I refer the honourable reader to the answer I gave some moments ago.
It’s another never-mentioned issue from those sanitary pad ads. In fact they assume that childbirth doesn’t even exist which is quite a marvel when you think about why periods happen in the first place. Thing is, childbirth does terrible things to your lower portions. Even if you haven’t torn or been vaginally extended by a midwife’s scalpel, you’re left with a barely recognisable flange. Take me, for example. I used to put pads in my pants and now they have to be attached to my ankle. It’s why I’m happy to make mine three feet long if that’s what they need to be.
When did you last see sanitary pad ads address endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts or just the Menopause Torpedo? Zackly. No wonder women wait an average of 7 years for an endo diagnosis. It’s because Always have persuaded us that the condition is up there with unicorns and foodbank-hating Tories. Now, I’ve had endo for 30 years and I can state this as a fact: sanitary pads don’t even begin to cope with the chaos. In fact, during my last pre-coil disaster I spent a full hour on the loo because the gore wouldn’t cease long enough for me to get off. And yes, an Always Ultra did come in handy but only to wipe the sweat off my fevered brow.
Or rather, the arse crack. Now these are never mentioned by sanitary pad ads, are they? I don’t know why because if there is one thing I’ve learned it is that gore likes to migrate, especially if you’ve been asleep for eight hours on your heaviest day. So instead of your output pooling gently against your shop bought pad it wangles its way towards your lower back. In fact, one of the joys of waking mid-period is wondering how much of a hosing down in the garden you’ll need before you can dress for work.
Sanitary pad ads assume that only size 10 women have periods. Check out their marketing. It’s assumed that if pads fit the size of a 21 year old model they’ll fit a 45 year old who’s a size 18. They don’t though, right? There’s a reason why pants are bought in different sizes. It’s because our undercarriages are different dimensions. They same applies to sanitary pads. And yeah, I know that you don’t get size 10 or 20 vaginas but I do know that lots of women ask me to change the size of their pads according to their dress size. They fit their bodies better, are more effective in their pants and they don’t engage their mudflaps in body shaming once a month.
All of which is why I make my re-useable cotton sanitary pads. Apart from the massive environmental benefit, I know that the chances of another woman having exactly the same childbirth-ruined undercarriage as me, or anyone else, are slim. You want a pad as long as your arm? I’ll make it. Or do you want a pad so absorbent that it could drain a swimming pool? Leave it to me. I’ll even give it wings that’ll fly you all the way to Peru should you scamper fast enough along a runway. Buy one, but three, buy ten. Just buy a pad that doesn’t gaslight your own flange.