Three Cheers for the Under-Appreciated Sanitary Napkin

Why are today's women better off than they were 20 years ago? One of the many reasons why is sanitary napkins.

Image: Melissa Ford

I'd like to talk about the many things that make the lives of some women easier because of their availability. It is a given that some women whine because it is hard to be a woman dealing with her biological and physical structure.

One of these biological features is the woman’s vagina.  Despite the modern times, there are still others who find it hard and consider it taboo to talk about this intimate part, even if one of the basic realities of having one is the monthly and unpleasant phenomenon of menstruation which sometimes restricts a woman's social engagements, sports, work and even sex.

There's a wide variety of products for women to choose from to help them ease their discomfort and they come big or small, with different colors and forms and both scented and unscented.  We have sanitary napkins that are ultra-thin or pads “with wings” for those with “heavy days.”

In my youth, sanitary napkins weren't so popular. My Nanay (mother) would sew white cotton cloth in between the underwear for protection.

In fact my sanitary “paddings” were made from bags of flour. I wore them when I was in high school at St. Mary’s High School now St. Mary’s Academy in Tagoloan town, Misamis Oriental in northern Mindanao, Philippines.

The school is run by the RVM sisters and our school uniform is pink and white.  Like my classmates, I had to be careful about avoiding any blood stains on my uniform lest the boys have a field day making fun of me or my female classmates.

Usually our technique was “apid apid” or wearing half-slip or petticoat. We also used newspapers so any blood discharged won't soak the skirts. It was tough in those days I tell you.

I remember feeling so uncomfortable back then. When I had heavy days, I would have to double what I wore. Washing was also a problem because I had to soak the skirts for many days to remove the blood spots.

Thank God sanitary napkins were invented. Women are so lucky nowadays.

(Susan Palmes-Dennis is a veteran journalist from Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental, Northern Mindanao in the Philippines who works as a nanny in North Carolina. This page will serve as a venue for news and discussion on Filipino communities in the Carolinas. Read her blogs on susanpalmesstraightfrom the Carolinas.com. These and other articles also appear at http://www.sunstar.com.ph/author/2582/susan-palmes-dennis).

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