Like many writers and journalists now, I feel compelled to write about the Tampax debate. It’s strange to see so much negativity around the now banned advertisement. Looking through the statistics of the 84 complaints – they were mostly women. I wanted to share an extract of a chapter from my memoir (not yet published) on my teenage years I wrote a few years ago. I thought, at the time, maybe I should take it out when editing. I am glad I didn’t as we are starting to become more open about topics like this and why shouldn’t we?
‘Taboo’ subjects like this were always deemed as shameful but Ireland was governed rigidly by the Catholic church when I was growing up and even more so in my mother’s lifetime. Unfortunately, we will always have a minority that will go along with the church’s values and beliefs but the majority are not. Times are a changing. Ireland will eventually step out of the draconian dogmas of our societies; I can see it over the last few years in our referendums.
PS If you cant read stories about women growing up-don’t read on, If your more open minded..Enjoy..
“Reflecting on my childhood, I don’t remember a lot of hugs while I was growing up and into my teenage years. There were no long chats about the birds and the bees. We were given a coming of age book to read and left to figure it out ourselves. I hadn’t a clue. Thank god, I had an older sister who was three years older than me.
I remember when I got my first period at 12 years old, I hadn’t a clue what to do or what to use. (There was no such thing as Tampax then) My mother had a hot press upstairs which comprised of a big water tank which had an immersion switch to heat the water. She also kept her bedding and towels nice and warm in there. Tucked in at the side of the water tank were these humongous sanitary towels called “Stay Free”- they were like pampers nappies. Stay Free was not the appropriate name for them; more like Stay Put.
The adhesive on them was like super, super glue. I put one on and will never forget the pain walking around afterwards. My sister informed me later I had it on upside down. When I tried to take it off, the region “down below” didn’t need to be waxed or shaved for quite a while after. I remember hating going to school when I had my period as I looked like John Wayne walking around, it was like I came to school on a horse, not a bike. All I can say now is thank god whoever invented tampons.”
Hopefully, our children will be able to talk openly about their sexuality, periods and whatever else is needed for them to talk about.
Let’s lift these taboo topics in Ireland please -Period.