MUST WE TALK? A British campaign called JustATampon is urging men and women to post photos of themselves with a tampon. The goal is “to start a conversation about periods,” which may seem too ambitious–perhaps beyond the ability of even Starbucks’ socially enlightened baristas. But there is one early success: a column in the Spectator by Rob Liddle, who explains why he has joined the campaign and posted his own photo.
For my part, I put a liberated tampon up each of my nostrils with the strings hanging down over my top lip: a touch of whimsy which I think will appeal to the feminists who run this campaign. Feminists are notoriously good-humoured and ‘game for a laugh’, perhaps especially in those few days leading up to their monthly cycles.
As I say, the point of all this is to demystify menstruation and to ‘break the stigma and taboo’, as one of the feminists put it, which surrounds this entirely natural function. For too long now menstruation and female sanitary wear has been the subject of male sniggering, disgust and — frankly — cruelty. I have not been immune to this in the past, I have to admit. Until relatively recently I locked my wife in the garden shed during her monthly cycle and if a third party ventured near the shed, I would scream ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ and drag them away. I regret this behaviour in retrospect. These days Mrs Liddle is allowed in the main body of the house at all times (although obviously not in the kitchen) and permitted to see visitors, provided she is not in the same room as them.
Perhaps that wasn’t the conversation they had in mind.