Menstruation is still considered taboo in many societies. However, women have been menstruating since the beginning of history. This is a normal monthly cycle; If this is not talked about, women also distance themselves from their bodies. A healthy period means healthy women, healthy children and, ultimately, a healthy society. In this article, we will talk about the hygiene products that women have used throughout history and try to break the taboos associated with menstruation.
Feminine hygiene products are first mentioned in ancient Egyptian medical records. At that time, these products were made from papyrus, which was also used in the manufacture of paper.
Another person talking about this issue is M.O. Hippocrates was a Greek physician of the 5th century and the father of Western medicine. Women in Greece wrapped pile around a piece of wood and used it as a buffer. In Japan, women often used paper to absorb blood. On the other hand, Native Americans used buffalo skin and moss during their menses.
Disposable products first appeared in the 1800s.
In the Victorian era, women preferred rags as pads. These “rags” could be washed and used over and over again. It was usually sewn at home from flannel or woven fabric. In the same period, studies were carried out on the harmfulness of rags and the reproduction of bacteria. This is how the first disposable products appeared.
Sanitary gowns were invented to keep the vaginal area clean and odor free. This item looked like an ordinary apron, but inside there was a piece of fabric between the legs. Women used it to protect their seats and clothing from blood stains. However, this was not the best option, as it smelled bad and caused sweating.
First commercial pads; It is produced by Johnson & Johnson, an umbrella brand for brands such as Listerine, Neutrogena, and Le Petit Marseillais. These pads were known as “female sanitary pads”. It was made of gauze and cotton and was also disposable. So it was much more useful than other alternatives. These napkins were held in place by a kind of rope attached to the waist. Hygiene products improved, but many of these products did not enter the market or were not successful because menstruation was still considered taboo. Many women did not want to be seen buying. That’s why they usually ordered their menstrual products by mail order, but they were also quite expensive.
Kotex, one of the most famous brands of pads, was founded in 1920. In just one year, Kotex sanitary napkins have achieved great success in the market.
Knowing this success, Johnson & Johnson changed the brand from Lister’s Towels to Nupak. Although pads were a huge hit in the market, menstruation was still taboo. Women wanted to hide their periods. In addition, the first modern bumper was invented in 1931. But the old bumpers were leaking, also difficult to install. With the help of his girlfriend Earl Haas, he was able to make a tampon with an applicator that allows the product to be inserted into the vagina without touching it. The popularity of these products also increased with the invention of Haas.
The first commercial menstrual cup was produced in 1937 by American actress Leona Chalmers. These containers were made from vulcanized rubber and were specially designed. Then her name was Tassetta. Despite numerous advertisements aimed at popularizing the product, women preferred to use tampons and pads more. Menstrual cups have become commonplace in the 21st century.
Disposable pads and tampons still dominate the market, but many are now turning to reusable products such as menstrual cups and menstrual underwear.
People have begun to realize the harm the products they buy to the environment and health. In addition, menstrual cups, menstrual panties, organic pads and tampons can be easily found in our country.
Culturally and socially, periods have been spoken of with shame for centuries. Thanks to the fast-growing social media platforms, the taboo on menstruation has now been lifted. We now talk about these normal cycles more comfortably. Initially, these products were produced to hide menstrual periods. Now health and comfort are the most important criteria.
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