Red Alert

“I would really just like to speak to whoever is in charge of advertising because they are lying to their customers,” reads the screenshot of the email a fellow Eve (a fantastic period app for those looking for equal feminine drama and education) user made to Kotex customer service. My eyes skim the rest of her emotionally fueled post before they roll back into my skull never to be seen again. More discreet? Less neon packaging? Quieter crinkle?

I was thirty minutes into a deep social media dive where I looked at everything I hated while cross-faded and actively dictated my own sitcom voiceover for my life for my roommates’ enjoyment, but this required more than a passing bad-joke, obnoxious gesturing that I wouldn’t do in front of my mother, and the inevitable quick scroll away.

There is actually a large community of women who want tampon and period packages to be more muted.

There are actual living and breathing adult women who were embarrassed when they had to pull out the teal, purple, yellow, blue, bright bright bright orange and pink tampons and pads out of their bags.

There are women who designated a special bag within their bag so they could carry something smaller, less noticeable to the bathroom with them.

Women, out there walking in the world right now, who will stuff tampons and pads into their back pockets, bras, socks, boots, shirt sleeves, etc, living in constant fear that someone might see them carrying Those Products That Must Not Be Named and know it’s that time of month for them.

Human beings with a vagina sit on a toilet in a public restroom and wait for everyone to leave, dreading opening their pad or tampon because they are convinced other people will think they are opening a bag of chips in the stall, or worse, a pad or tampon.

No.

Kotex Customer Service, I am here to tell you no.

No more discreet packaging.

No more silencing the crinkle.

Give me reflective neon coating.

Make the packaging out of a thin metal sheeting way too big for the product itself so that it will make that wibbley wobbley noise when I pull it out of my bag.

Actually, forget the bag. Every pad/tampon must come with a piece of stick on velcro so I can adhere it to the front of my shirt and/or forehead so I’m ready to go at all times.

I want my “feminine hygiene product” to come with an alarm, alerting all those in my passage between classroom and bathroom that I am a fucking woman, and hear my pad goddamn roar.

We need to rewrite the perception of pads and tampons.

They are anything but a sign of weakness.

They are not an explanation for my behavior.

They are not an excuse.

They are not a shameful commodity to hide away from the male gaze.

They are an object of pride; something I want to proclaim to the world, proving that I am superior (although they should totally be free because I never asked for this raw, incomparable inconvenience but demonstration of strength).

See me holding this pad? On the day our 12 page paper is due? Yes, I finished that, and mine is actually 13 pages, the 13th I concluded while waiting for my bloodied sheets to come out of the dryer at 5 AM this morning. I am stronger than you are, and I am accomplishing more things in this very moment than you have all day.

I am in pain, and I do not care.

Look at my pad and give me my due respect.