Why Do Scented Tampons Even Exist?


Design by Jena Salvatore PMSing is one of those aspects of womanhood that, unfortunately, is mostly impossible to escape from, menopause aside. While in an ideal world, women could prance around with blood flowing freely down their legs. Reality, though, is most women are using some type of sanitary napkin or other-such-device. Tampons have existed in some shape or form since ancient Roman times. “Deodorant” tampons (also called scented tampons) were first established by Playtex in 1971. This invention is, let’s just say, a little problematic. If periods have existed for as long as women have, why do we still try to conceal them with everything we can, namely, with scented tampons?

A plethora of valid complaints exist for women who experience menstrual cycles. The cramps, the bloating, and of course, the less than desirable smell. Periods are pretty gross. But do scented tampons, which are supposed to provide a light and fresh feeling, really make you feel any better? How great can the smell of your uterus lining mixed with flowers be?

It has been taught and heavily engrained in the minds of girls that menstruation is something to be embarrassed about. From an early age, young women have been coached to avoid the subject of periods. In fact, girls have been trained to hide any evidence of having one. Getting your period in class might even be your most humiliating high school experience. In recent years, dialogue and discussions around menstruation entered the public sphere, unabashedly. Tampons, themselves, were thought to be scandalous when they first came out, because the thought of women touching and inserting something into themselves was too much for people to handle. It is crazy to think of that considering tampons are one of the more convenient and comfortable sanitary napkins.

While no one enjoys being on her period, there is no reason to have to hide the fact that it exists. It’s one thing to feel dirty and in need of a shower. But you shouldn’t feel the need to conceal the smell of a vagina all-together. Don’t be ashamed of your natural body functions.

Plus, scented tampons can in some cases irritate the vagina, leading to infections such as UTIs. Also it upsets the pH balance, which no one wants.

Stick what you want into your body; it’s up to you. However, be sure to think about why it is that scented tampons exist and the underlying patriarchal values that may come with that.